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Belgian Defence and FN Herstal Forge Long-Term Partnership

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Belgian Defence and FN Herstal Forge Long-Term Partnership

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Belgian Defence and FN Herstal Forge Long-Term Partnership
Belgian Defence and FN Herstal Forge Long-Term Partnership

On 10 November 2023, the Belgian government approved the implementation of a long-term strategic partnership between Belgian Defence and FN Herstal (“Partnership”). The Partnership is part of the DIRS and the policies carried out since 2020 by the Belgian federal government and Ludivine Dedonder, Minister of Defence. The Partnership contributes to the objectives of strategic autonomy and security of supply of the European Union and NATO. In particular, it aims to secure the supply of small-calibre ammunition and maintain the Belgian army’s fleet of small arms in operational condition for 20 years. In line with Belgium’s commitment to contribute to the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, the partnership is also a multinational framework open to other European states, to meet their long-term ammunition requirements.

FN SCAR®-SC Subcompact Carbine in 5.56x45mm NATO or 7.62x35mm/.300 BLK calibre.
FN SCAR®-SC Subcompact Carbine in 5.56x45mm NATO or 7.62x35mm/.300 BLK calibre. (Photo by FN Herstal)

Julien Compère, CEO of FN Herstal: “I am particularly pleased that our company FN Herstal will make a long-term industrial contribution to the defence strategy of Belgium, Europe, NATO, and their allies. Our partnership agreement paves the way for major investments, including the installation of new ammunition production capacity at our industrial sites in Zutendaal and Herstal. We will be able to expand this capacity to meet the needs of other countries. This partnership illustrates the quality of our relations with our European and NATO customers and partners, in particular Belgian Defence. FN Herstal was created in 1889 to equip the Belgian army: today we are writing a new page in this history with Defence and the federal government, whom I would like to thank warmly for their trust.”

The FN P90 submachine gun with a magazine capacity of 50 cartridges in 5.7x28mm NATO calibre
The FN P90 submachine gun with a magazine capacity of 50 cartridges in 5.7x28mm NATO calibre. (Photo by FN Herstal)

Investments are already underway at Zutendaal and Herstal and will be stepped up over the coming months. They will contribute to a significant increase in ammunition production, the reintroduction of 5.56 and 7.62 calibre ammunition and the creation of more than 60 jobs at both sites. The partnership relates exclusively to the defence small arms fleet, i.e. FN Herstal’s product groups (ammunition, portable weapons, integrated weapon systems), and covers the supply, management, maintenance and digitisation of the small arms fleet, the supply of ammunition, as well as cutting-edge Research & Development aspects. In addition to improving security of supply and the strategic autonomy of Belgian Defence, it will improve and simplify the administrative and financial management of the small arms fleet.

FN Five-seveN Mk3 MRD pistol with a high-capacity magazine.
FN Five-seveN Mk3 MRD pistol with a high-capacity magazine. (Photo by FN Herstal)

FN Herstal is a world leader in the field of small arms, particularly in the design, development, and manufacture of small arms, associated ammunition and integrated weapon systems for land, air and sea applications. Fabrique Nationale Herstal (French for ‘National Factory Herstal’), trading as FN Herstal and often referred to as Fabrique Nationale, Factory National, or simply FN, is a firearms manufacturer based in Herstal, Belgium, and former vehicle manufacturer. Dedicating 10-15% of its annual turnover to R&D, FN Herstal is renowned throughout the world for the high reliability of its products and its innovation capacity. FN Herstal is also a reference in the field of ammunition. Over the last 50 years, the company has played a leading role in the creation and/or standardisation of several NATO calibres, including the 5.56x45mm, the 5.7x28mm, the 7.62x51mm and the 12.7x99mm.

 FN MINIMI® 7.62 Light Machine Gun with a 422mm long barrel
FN MINIMI 7.62 Light Machine Gun with a 422mm long barrel. (Photo by FN Herstal)

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