Denel to produce new small arms range


State owned defence company Denel has partnered with Swiss firm B&T to offer a new range of small arms, from submachineguns to grenade launchers.

B&T and Denel have signed a technology transfer agreement that will see Denel produce several B&T weapons in South Africa. Initially production will use some Swiss made parts while Denel gets its production line up and running, according to Patric Staudt, Technical Support Manager, Africa, at B&T.

One of the new weapons on offer is the GL-06 40 mm single shot grenade launcher, designed to only use less lethal ammunition, as it is aimed primarily at the police. It was procured by the South African Police Service for use during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.

B&T’s MP9 9 mm submachinegun will be manufactured by Denel as the GMP9. This closed bolt weapon comes standard with a number of different attachments, including a suppressor, shell catcher (mainly for use on aircraft), red dot sight and holster. It can accept 15 to 30 round magazines and has been designed to be lightweight and modular.

B&T’s carbine, the 9 mm Advanced Police Carbine 9 (APC9 – called GPC9 by Denel) was designed in 2011 as a firearm bridging the gap between a personnel defence weapon and a 5.56 mm rifle. It features a number of innovations like a hydraulic recoil reduction system to reduce muzzle lift. It is ambidextrous, modular and comes with a suppressor and different barrel length options. A 5.56 mm version is also available – Denel may offer this as a replacement for the South African National Defence Force’s R4/R5 series of assault rifles.

B&T approached Denel several years ago, and after receiving permission from the Swiss government, signed a technology transfer agreement with Denel a year ago. The Swiss company exhibited with Denel at the Africa Aerospace and Defence (AAD) exhibition outside Pretoria last year.

Denel exhibited at the Land Forces Africa conference outside Pretoria earlier this week, with the grenade launcher, submachinegun and assault rifle on display.

B&T has further collaborations with Denel and is working on an upgrade kit for Denel’s SS77 7.62 mm machinegun, which will cover things like a redesigned rail, top cover, magazine belt attachment etc. B&T may in the future sell the SS77.