Feb 11 2013, 5:32am CST | by Luigi Lugmayr
Wellington, Feb 11 — New Zealand's military personnel have begun training with new Belgium-made light machine guns that will extend their operating capabilities, the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) announced Monday.
The new 7.62 mm Light Support Weapon (LSW), manufactured by FN Herstal, replaced the NZDF's old 5.56 mm C9 light machine gun, which had come to the end of its life, said Major Shane Ruane, programme manager for the weapons replacement programme.
"The increase in capability this weapon delivers will ensure our personnel are appropriately armed and equipped to meet the challenges and complexities of the contemporary and future operating environments," Ruane said in a statement.
The NZDF had bought 600 of the new weapons at a cost of about 15,000 NZ dollars ($15,445) each, reported Xinhua.
The total budget for the project was 16.04 million NZ dollars and included the purchase of all ancillaries, storage facilities and simulation training measures needed for its introduction.
The new weapons were expected to be completely phased in across all three services in the first quarter of this year.
"The programme considers the needs and requirements of the navy, army and air force and ensures all service personnel, regardless of service, have the weapons necessary to operate and succeed on operations," said Ruane.
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