HC Deb 10 February 1960 vol 617 cc441-2
16. Mr. G. Brown

asked the Minister of Defence if he will ensure that the heavy machine gun under development for the Army is of a kind likely to be accepted by other North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries.

Mr. Watkinson

The British solution for a weapon to replace the Vickers medium machine gun has been discontinued in favour of the Belgian F.N. sustained-fire machine gun. The British Army intends, subject to the satisfactory completion of trials, to adopt the Belgian weapon. This will fire the standard N.A.T.O. 7.62 mm. round.

Mr. Brown

This, of course, is a reversal of the very bold announcement made by the Secretary of State last year. Even so, is the Minister sure that what he now says will happen, will, in fact, happen? He will remember what happened about the F.N. rifle, and about the failure to adopt a common round to fit the different rifles? Does he not think that, on the whole, it would have been better for him to have bothered more about this and less about hypothetical weapons that may never materialise?

Mr. Watkinson

As to attending to these things, I am happy to tell the right hon. Gentleman that the problem of getting a common round for N.A.T.O. is met by this weapon, as, indeed, it should be.

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