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Sumitomo withdraws from Japanese machine gun tender

21st April 2021 - 20:00 GMT | by Koji Miyake in Tokyo

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The M249 is the mainstay light machine gun in the JGSDF. (Koji Miyake)

Japanese small-arms production could take a hit as one major domestic manufacturer relinquishes its lead role.

The Japan Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) is seeking a successor to its current M249 5.56mm light machine gun, but chief contender Sumitomo Heavy Industries (SHI) has decided to withdraw from the competition.

The Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) signed a contract with Sumitomo subsidiary Sumisho Aero-Systems to introduce four FN Minimi Mk3 weapons in February 2020. ATLA had also signed a contract with JALUX  in February to introduce four Heckler & Koch MG4s, with SHI contracted to produce five machine gun prototypes in March.

Since neither Sumisho Aero-Systems nor JALUX are manufacturers, they cannot produce these machine guns

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Koji Miyake

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Koji Miyake


Koji Miyake is a Tokyo-based writer.

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