The first batch of the Polish MSBS Grot [Arrowhead] rifles was symbolically received by the Territorial Defence Forces on Thursday, 30th November. Antoni Macierewicz, Polish Minister of Defence, stated that the whole effort made by the Polish Ministry of Defence, Polish industry and by the Polish government is directed towards equipping the Polish Armed Forces with the equipment made in Poland.
Macierewicz stressed the fact that the ceremony, despite its official name, shall not be viewed as a symbolic event. Its meaning was real. – The first lot of the Grot rifles is being transferred into the hands of the [front]line units, into the hands of the Territorial Defence units, then into the hands of the Special Operations Forces, and finally, the rifles would be received by the operational forces – stated the Minister, recalling the fact that the agreement signed by and between the Polish MoD and the Łucznik-Radom facility envisages procurement of around 53 thousand rifles. The whole acquisition is expected to be covered with an amount of around 500 million zlotys.
The official noted that “whole effort made by the Polish Ministry of Defence, Polish industry and by the Polish government is directed towards equipping the Polish Armed Forces with the equipment made in Poland”. He continued: “Through this effort we would overcome any difficulties or obstacles emerging along the way”.
President of the PGZ Group, Błażej Wojnicz said that the ceremony aimed at completing the symbolic transfer of the first rifles marks the beginning of implementation of one of the most significant firearms contracts concluded by the Polish Armed Forces.
Wojnicz also emphasized the fact that Grot is a result of collaboration established between the PGZ’s “Łucznik”-Radom facility and the Military University of Technology. Both Macierewicz, as well as Wojnicz, were expressing their gratitude, which was addressed to the persons involved in the design process concerning the weapon.
Brig. Gen. Wiesław Kukuła who is the acting commander of the Territorial Defence component, told the journalists that, in his humble opinion, Grot’s design may be compared to the best firearms used around the world. - The thing missing for GROT now is the operational use of the series manufactured weapons. The series production lots may be expected within a year.The process of implementation regarding this weapon has been planned in a way which would ensure definition of assumptions for further development, should such need arise– said Kukuła.
The General ensured that Grot overheats slower than its counterpart, the HK416, does. However, he admitted that the command of the Territorial Defence Forces is focusing its efforts on further enhancement of the gun’s ergonomics.
Spokesman for the Command of the Territorial Defence Forces, Lt. Col. Marek Pietrzak, announced that the initial batch of the Grot rifles received this year would be delivered to the 4th “Warmińsko-Mazurska” Brigade of the Territorial Defence component. The said unit is still in its infancy, organization-wise. Pietrzak added that 10 thousand Grot rifles in several batches are planned to be delivered throughout the year 2018. The new weapons would be gradually replacing the Beryl rifles.
The Ceremony during which the guns were symbolically received by the soldiers was organized in front of the monument of General Stefan Rowecki, a.k.a. Grot. Rowecki’s nickname was used as the trade name of the Rifle. Symbolically, the first Grot rifle was received by the future users from the Veterans of the Polish Home Army, Lt. Col. Professor Jerzy Majkowski, a.k.a. Czarny, and Major Zbigniew Matysiak, a.k.a. Kowboj.
The agreement concerning the delivery of more than 53 thousand Grot C 16 FB-M1 rifles, belonging to the MSBS-5,56 modular firearms system family, was signed on 5th September, during the 25th Edition of the MSPO Kielce defence industry exhibition. The contract value is as high as PLN 500 million. Nil military unit and Radom-based “Łucznik” firearms factory are the parties to the aforesaid agreement. As mentioned, the weaponry would be received both by the Territorial Defence units, as well as by the operational forces.
The Agreement signed back in September foresees the deliveries being completed before 2020. The delivery of the first batch of a thousand rifles for the Territorial Defence units has been planned to happen in November and December 2017. The price includes, alongside the Grot rifles, the training infrastructure and accessories for the weapons (bayonet, magazines, carrying straps, cleaning kit). All of the elements above would be complemented with an e-learning package used to conduct the preliminary training activities.
In mid-November the state qualification test programme concerning the Grot rifles came to an end. Territorial Defence, Special Forces and Gendarmery have been involved in a programme during which the troops were getting acquainted with the new weapon.
“C” letter in the name stands for conventional configuration (with a buttstock), while “16” refers to the barrel length in inches. The Agreement assumes that the weapon may also be further modified, from the current standard, “M1”, with upgrades going up to the “M3” version. Not only was modernization planned on the basis of the operational experience, as later upgrade of the older models to the latest version has also been foreseen. This is quite frequent procedure, that has already been utilized in Poland e.g. in case of the wz. 96 Beryl rifle. Beryl, during the overhauls, was modernized e.g. through addition of the Picatinny rails.
The Agreement signed in September is the first contract concerning the combat variant of the MSBS rifle. Starting from the year 2016, the Armed Forces have only been acquiring the ceremonial variant of the weapon (MSBS-R) that, if not modified, remains unable of firing live ammunition.
MSBS modular firearms family utilizing the 5.56×45 mm NATO round consists of five conventional layout variants and five bull-pup varieties (designated, respectively: MSBS-5,56K and MSBS-5,56B). The family includes a subcarbine, a basic rifle, rifle with a grenade launcher, sniper rifle and a machine gun. Moreover, the aforesaid MSBS-R variety has been created. This rifle has already been procured by the Armed Forces and by the Prison Guards Service.
The solutions implemented in the MSBS’s design are legally protected by six patents, six Community industrial designs and one industrial design.
MSBS is the first Polish gun fully compliant with the NATO standards. Not only does it feature Picatinny rails that may be freely reconfigured, it may also be fed from standard STANAG magazines.