The Armament Inspectorate has begun a negotiation procedure involving the Łucznik-Radom firearms factory, regarding the issue of procuring 53.4 thousand wz. 96C Beryl rifles and 3.8 thousand wz. 96C Mini-Beryl sub-carbines, within the period between 2017 and 2019. This is yet another record-breaking procurement made at the Radom-based factory, the estimated value of which may be as high as PLN 350 million. The previous purchase of the Beryl carbines, within the scope of a long term programme, included around 26 thousand carbines, and had been, at the time, considered to be the most significant firearms acquisition in history.
The Armament Inspectorate also made an announcement pertaining to voluntary ex ante transparency, which means that talks concerning the conditions of the prospective agreement with a single contractor are already in progress. Here we are referring to the Fabryka Broni Łucznik Radom company.
The procurement is going to be implemented as a single-source procurement procedure, with exclusion of the Public Procurement Law, as the Radom-based factory remains the sole manufacturer and legal successor of the ZM Łucznik S.A. company, which, within the framework of an R&D initiative financed by the Polish Ministry of Defence, has carried out introduction of the 5.56 mm wz. 96 Beryl rifles, and also acts as the sole manufacturer of the said firearm, as the justification reads.
Wz. 96 Beryl carbines utilize the 5.56 mm NATO ammunition, and have been replacing, successively, the weapons which used the 7.62×39 mm round of soviet origin, in the Polish Army. Change of the contractor, as the Armament Inspectorate stresses, would lead to introduction of weaponry of a different specification into the inventory. This would create disproportionally significant difficulties in maintenance and use of any new system. In the light of the above conditions, regulations have been put in place, making it possible to finalize the order outside the scope of regulations of the Public Procurement Law.
The contract which is being negotiated at the moment concerns the potential procurement of 53,492 wz. 96C carbines and 3,842 wz. 96C subcarbines. This is the largest order that has been placed at the Radom facility yet, since more than 25 years. The total value of the contract has been estimated as more than PLN 350 million. Up until now, the largest Beryl-related order placed by the Polish Ministry of Defence was the May 2016 contract, covering the acquisition of more than 26 thousand carbines and subcarbines, covered by an amount of PLN 156 million. In September last year, the order was quantitatively expanded, another 3 thousand rifles were to be delivered before the new year began.
Together with the new agreement which is being currently negotiated, within the period between 2016 and 2019, Łucznik Radom Arms Factory is going to deliver 86.5 thousand Beryls for the Polish Army. Most of the weapons above may be received by the Territorial Defence branch of the Polish Army, however the MoD plans to introduce the MSBS Carbine in the new component, the state test programme of which began in July last year. Regardless of the final composition of the inventory utilized by the Territorial Defence, the currently negotiated agreement would make it possible to completely eliminate the AK/AKM rifles using the 7.62x39 mm round in the Army, and replace them with rifles compliant with the NATO standards, shooting the 5.56x45 mm ammunition (including the Beryl rifles that are already being used by the Army).