KUALA LUMPUR: After almost two years of waiting, the first batch of the last generation M16/M4s from Colt Defense, some 20,000 rifles are finally being shipped to Malaysia before year end.
For those asking what contract?, MINDEF signed the deal with SME Ordnance in DSA 2006. With DSA 2008 coming in April, the arrival of the rifles is a welcome relief.
Some including Malaysian Defence had wondered what had happened to the contract after the signing ceremony.
Apparently, the answer was more academic. With a backlog of orders for US forces (due to the Iraq and Afghanistan operations) Colt which had not been so lucky in terms of orders (for the last decade) could not ramp up their manufacturing quickly enough to fulfill our order ASAP. Uncle Sam is and always the main priority, I’d say
Plus the fact that our M16A4/M4 are actually not the USGI M16/M4s , it would certainly have slowed down the manufacturing process.
Technically speaking, our M16/M4s are actually AR15s (commercial) with select fire capability. Only rifles bought by the US Govt are technically could be described as M16/M4s. If the guns are sold by the US Govt (from the batch meant for US forces) to another country, technically, only then the rifles are actually M16/M4s. The new batch of rifles are sold to us via direct commercial sales as notified to the US Congress onSept 25, 2007.
Just like our original M16A1s are called M16A1s as it was made for the US Govt which sold it to us. Moreover at that time Colt Manufacturing (the original company) did not differentiate its export version apart from its own internal company designation. Moreover, it is not a very good idea to sell the same rifle to another country and called it with its commercial name as sold in the US!
After the first batch and another 14,000 rifles, SME Ordnance will start manufacturing these rifles locally, I am told some 120,000 rifles, for the next 10 years. I hope these time we will not be looking for another AR within the next 10 years.
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