Acting through its British subsidiary, NSAF Limited, Heckler & Koch has agreed contractual arrangements with the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for the upgrade of a significant quantity of SA80 assault rifles for the UK armed forces, the company announced during a visit of the MoD Project Team to DSEI 2019 at ExCeL.

The SA80 family of 5.56x45mm NATO standard calibre firearms have been standard fare for the British Army since 1987, when the L85 rifle variant replaced the FN 7.62x51mm FAL. The A1 variant was manufactured from 1985-1994 and was subsequently replaced by the A2 variant, upgraded by Heckler & Koch, in the early 2000s. The SA80A3 has been in service since 2018.

The new contract, for an initial period of three years and at an estimated value of £15 million (€16.8 million lays the foundations for weapons enhancements through the Army’s ‘Equip to Fight’ programme and will upgrade the weapon system to the SA80A3 variant. The contract contains costed options for enhancements to additional quantities of the SA80, and a two-year contract extension at an estimated value of a further £50 million pounds. Work on the initial buy and any follow-on options will be undertaken at both the UK facility and in Germany. The upgrades will incorporate a new foregrip, an improved upper receiver and additional safety features.


The SA80A2 in use in Afghanistan. A “significant quantity” of the weapons are to be upgraded in the new Heckler & Koch contract. (Photo: UK MoD)

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