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£9m MoD contract for firearms firm
BRITISH forces in Afghanistan will soon be carrying pistols supplied by a firm from the region after it secured a £9m contract.
Firearms distributor Viking Arms Limited, of Harrogate, has been asked by the Ministry of Defence to supply more than 25,000 Glock pistols and holsters.
Personnel across all three services will receive the Glock 17s in the coming weeks and troops in Afghanistan will be among the first to use the new weapon.
Viking Arms has three divisions supplying arms for sport, the police, military and security sectors and a recently-established outdoor lifestyle division. It does not sell to the public.
The company declined to comment on the deal.
Its website says that it was founded in 1961 and, in 1982, the company moved to purpose- built premises on the New York Industrial Estate, Harrogate.
The MoD has ordered the Austrian-made Glock 17 Gen 4 to replace the Browning pistol used by the UK military. The new weapons are much lighter and more accurate than the Browning and its magazines can carry more bullets.
Warrant Officer 1 Mark Anderson, of the Royal Marines, who tested the weapon before the contract was awarded, said: “Pistols are vital in close combat and are a key part of a soldier’s armoury. Reliable, light and easy to carry, the Glock inspires confidence and performs exceptionally well.”
Philip Dunne, the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, said: “We are determined to provide our troops with the best possible personal kit available and these Glock 17s will give them greater firepower and accuracy on operations.
“Now that we have balanced the budget we can invest with confidence in the equipment our Armed Forces need for the future. I have seen this pistol demonstrated in target ranges and am impressed that this new lighter, safer generation of pistol provides both better value for money for the MoD and will complement the wide range of weapons already available to front line troops.”
The Glock pistols will replace the Browning, which after being used by the Armed Forces for more than 40 years has become increasingly expensive to maintain.
The contract for a replacement pistol was put out to tender two years ago and is not in response to any specific or increased threat, the MoD said.