WELLINGTON, New Zealand, Aug. 17 (Richard Tomkins) — An American gun manufacturer has been named the preferred tenderer to supply the New Zealand Defense Force with a new combat rifle.
The selection of Illinois-based Lewis Machine & Tool as the preferred tenderer was announced by the New Zealand Ministry of Defense last week following a trials program phase of the contract evaluation process.
The New Zealand Defense Force currently uses Steyr AUG rifles, a 5.56×45mm assault rifle designed in the 1960s. The replacement of about 8,800 rifles is part of a larger firearms replacement program.
In competition against Lewis Machine & Tool were: Beretta New Zealand Limited, Ceska zbrojovka a.s., Colt Canada Corporation, FN Herstal, Steyr Mannlicher GmbH, XTEK Limited and Heckler & Kock GmbH.
Additional details were not disclosed by the Ministry of Defense.