FN Herstal will create new production lines for ammunition

The Belgian government has released an envelope of 1.8 billion euros by 2030 to allow Belgian companies to take the train of new technological and industrial developments in this field, Antoine Clevers reports in La Libre Belgique. This envelope is part of the DIRS (Defence, Industry and Research Strategy) presented on October 5 by the Ministers of Defense and the Economy, Ludivine Dedonder and Pierre-Yves Dermagne, in front of an audience of entrepreneurs.
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FN Herstal will create new production lines for smart ammunition, grounding this project sought by the Belgian MoD on a century-old experience  in state-of-the-art weapons ammunition (Picture source: FN Herstal)

Lieutenant-General Frédéric Goetynck, head of the General Directorate of Material Resources (DGMR) of Defense, took advantage of the event to unveil two projects that should see implementation by 2025, reports Antoine Clevers.

The first relates to the creation of new production lines for smart ammunition at FN Herstal. At the start of the project, reports Antoine Clevers, there was the will of Defense to conclude a partnership with three neighboring countries – France, the Netherlands and Luxembourg – to work with identical ammunition, then identical weapons in a second phase. This should make it possible to have common stocks of ammunition, thus reducing stock problems in Europe, a failure highlighted by the war in Ukraine, and facilitating exchanges of ammunition between nations. "At the international level, the compatibility between ammunition and weapons is a big problem at the moment", points out Lieutenant-General Frédéric Goetynck.

The Defense will guarantee orders with FN Herstal. Two or three production lines will see the light of day in the Zutendaal factory of FN Herstal located in Belgian Limburg, depending on the requests from the partner countries. This is ammunition for handguns and small-caliber (5.56mm) machine guns. "As soon as we have an agreement on the financing and on the number of ammunition that the nations can absorb, FN Herstal will launch the project. We are talking about a construction period of two years", according to General Goetynck. The initial agreement between the countries and the company is hoped for early 2023, Antoine Clevers writes.

The second project concerns the construction of a maintenance capacity for all Defense land vehicles on the Rocourt military site (near Liège). Once again, the start of the project is hoped for in 2023, with a concretization in 2025, that is to say at the time of the delivery of the first VBMR Griffons and EBRC Jaguars of the CaMo program (Capacité MOtorisée, Motorized capacity) concluded with France and the firm Nexter. The intention is to invite Belgian companies to form a consortium that will be able to offer a maintenance program that corresponds to the specifications issued by the Defence. "We want a Belgian anchorage for this capacity, as for ammunition, insists General Goetynck. It is crucial to have our vehicles and to be able to repair them, even in times of conflict", reports Antoine Clevers.