Turkey's state-owned Machines and Chemical Industries Board (MKEK) has delivered first 500 locally produced assault rifle MPT-76 to the Turkish Land Forces Command (TLFC) Wednesday.
The rifles delivered on 11 January are the first batch from a 2015 deal which will see the production of around 35,000 MPT-76s for the TLFC, Naval Forces Command, and the Gendarmerie General Command.
20,000 of these are being manufactured by MKEK, with the remaining 15,000 being produced by privately owned KaleKalip, which co-designed the weapon, IHS Jane' 360 reported Thursday.
MKEK will complete delivery of the remaining 19,500 MPT-76s from the country's first serial order for the rifle by the end of 2017, Isik said on 30 December 2016.
The MPT-76, which is being introduced to replace the German-origin G-3 rifle, will be distributed to 500 soldiers following development by MKEK, an official said on condition of anonymity.
The MPT-76 was designed to meet the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) requirement for a new infantry rifle chambered in the NATO 7.62x51 mm cartridge.
The TSK has a potential requirement for as many as 500,000 MPT-76s, principally for the Turkish Army but also to equip personnel across its other service arms.
The company began production in Kirikkale, central Turkey, in 2015. The MPT-76, named for the Turkish acronym of National Infantry Rifle and the caliber of its 7.62 millimeter NATO round, is billed as being as “effective as the G-3, reliable as the AK-47 and practical as M-16.”
It has an effective range of up to 600 meters and is capable of firing 600 rounds per minute at a muzzle velocity of 800 m per second.
Apart from G-3, the Turkish military also uses the Russian-made AK-47. The introduction of the MPT-76 is part of a program of introducing domestically manufactured arms to strengthen the Turkish defense industry and reduce dependence on foreign manufacturers.
It is expected to save large sums of money and become a stepping stone for further development of other weapons, the MKEK official said.