Spanish NH90 helicopters receive 7.62 mm MAG 58 machine guns

MADRID ($1=1.00 Euro) — 3 million euros [$2.999 million] will be spent on arming Spain’s NH90 helicopters with 7.62mm MAG 58 machine guns, the Spanish portal InfoDefensa reports, citing information from the Ministry of Defense. The weapon will be purchased through an open auction, the announcement also states.

Spanish NH90 helicopters receive 7.62 mm MAG 58 machine guns
Photo credit: Leonardo

A total of 20 machine guns must be acquired. A part of them will be in the MK3+ version. The contract includes not only delivery but also integration, maintenance, and spare parts. According to the requirements of the Spanish Ministry of Defense, each delivered machine gun must have two MAG 58M. In such a configuration, the Spanish Air Force will expect two mounts, two tactical sets, and three additional boxes of 250 cartridges for each set. Weapon system covers, tools, and spares should also be in sets of two.

Last but not least, the planned budget must be sufficient for additional activities under the order. Such activities are working on integration, certification, classification, the connection of components, prototypes, and training courses. The budget may be increased to 3.5 million euros [$3.49 million] for modifications.

What do we know about MAG 58?

It should be noted that some military units of the Spanish Air Force have experience with this type of machine gun. The helicopters of the Spanish Air Force that participated in training missions in Mali were equipped with the MAG 58. The training missions in Mali were under the control of the European Union.

Spanish NH90 helicopters receive 7.62 mm MAG 58 machine guns
Photo credit: Military Images

Otherwise, the Belgian MAG 58 machine gun is a design and product of FN Herstal. The weapon has extremely good characteristics and performance, such as a maximum range of 1.8 km and up to 1,000 rounds per minute depending on the version. The MAG 58 weighs an average of 40 kg when fully loaded. The ammo bar holds 250 ammo. The weapon is well suited for protection and providing fire cover while the helicopter is landing or exiting a heavily conflicted area. MAG 58 rounds can penetrate light armored vehicles or fortifications.

Spain expects to receive the ordered machine guns by the end of 2023 or the beginning of 2024. Future suppliers who wish to participate in the auction must declare their desire by the beginning of the next month – October 3rd.

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