Celebrating its 80th year in business in 2016, Czech arms manufacturer Ceska zbrojovka a.s. (CZ) has been shortlisted as a contender for a requirement for one million assault rifles from the Pakistani Armed Forces.
Talking to international media at the company’s headquarters in Uhersky Brod on 8 September, Head of Sports and Display Team Jakub Sondel revealed that the newly developed CZ 805 BREN2 assault rifle, in 5.56 x45 NATO calibre, has been under evaluation in Pakistan since the beginning of 2016. A batch of 30 rifles have been provided for the test and user trials, firing ammunition provided by Pakistan. “The test conditions have been very comprehensive: the BREN2 has performed in the Himalayas, in a desert environment at up to 54°C, in marine conditions near Karachi and in a wide variety of specific test scenarios,” he said.
Surely one of the largest small arms contracts to be awarded in the foreseeable future, the Pakistani competition includes a requirement for technology transfer and licence manufacture – a scenario Sondel asserts lies at the heart of CZ’s continuing development strategy. “The results to date have been very encouraging and we have every reason to believe we are a very strong contender for this order,” he said, adding that other manufacturers remaining in the competition include Beretta, FN Herstal and Heckler & Koch.
The BREN2 is the standard rifle of the Czech Army and a new generation of the weapon has been developed over the last three years, featuring advanced ergonomics and a significantly lower weight. Approval of the new generation by the Czech military came within the last two months, according to Sondel.