FN Herstal: an undisputable military firearms and ammunition designer and manufacturer
Belgium-based company FN Herstal is best known for its small arms, but it also has a long history going back to its early days as a manufacturer of quality ammunition. It has also been one of the world’s most prolific designers of widely adopted military calibres.
FN Herstal designed and wrote the specifications for two NATO standard calibres for small arms (5.56x45mm and 5.7x28mm), was a major participant in the design of a third (7.62x51mm) and made the NATO reference batch for quality control in a fourth calibre (12.7x99mm).
NATO ammunition standardization has one main objective: interoperability. That is, to provide logistic flexibility within the alliance by ensuring that ammunition used by one member nation will be reliable, safe, and effective when fired in weapons used by other member nations.
FN Herstal’s long-proven know-know of firearms design and production is unquestionable. This highly unusual, combined expertise gives FN Herstal a uniquely wide breadth and depth of knowledge of these two types of technology. This is obviously a clear advantage since weapons and ammunition are destined to function together. A gun manufacturer sees user requirements in terms of “a gun”. Ammunition manufacturers see ammunition requirements as “something to be fired by a gun”. The user sees his needs as a complete weapon system composed of a gun and its ammunition, which is how FN Herstal sees things.
FN Herstal: a fully autonomous ammunition supplier throughout the entire cycle of the product
FN Herstal’s strategic objective is to control the entire product process, i.e., design and development, qualification, production, quality control testing, packing and delivery. And the Company gives itself the means and resources to achieve this.
As a manufacturer, FN Herstal has chosen to retain the ability to produce most of its own components. FN Herstal manufactures the metallic components; the pyrotechnic components such as primers, tracer, incendiary or explosive; loads, assembles and packs ammunition at its premises in Belgium. Quality control testing is done on shooting ranges next to the factory.
This makes FN Herstal a fully autonomous supplier with complete control over the availability and quality of components, able to guarantee constant production of a full range of ball, tracer, AP, API and APEI cartridges to the highest quality standards.
Premium quality ammunition is of utmost importance, as it plays an essential role in weapon reliability, and user survivability.
FN Herstal: a future-oriented ammunition supplier at the cutting-edge of technology
Alongside the design and manufacture of both its premium weapons and ammunition, FN Herstal is also preparing for the future of military small calibre ammunition, such as green cartridges.
A recent clearly stated market requirement is to replace certain materials used for ammunition production with more environmentally friendly substances. This is not as simple as it may seem, it affects both metallic components (lead-free bullets) and pyrotechnic components (e.g., primers and powder). And the ammunition still needs to be fully reliable and effective. The development work in this field has led FN Herstal to implement the FN AZURON® plan, which consists in progressively removing hazardous substances from its cartridges.
Looking further into the future FN Herstal remains alert to emerging market’s statements of needs, such as optimized performance on target and reduced weight, whilst always keeping in mind the weapon and the ammunition as a system working together.
FN Herstal: a trustworthy and reliable ammunition supplier
With over 120 years of experience in ammunition design and manufacture, unequalled in-depth knowledge of weapons and ammunition as a system, and a proven track record for meeting the highest quality specifications, FN Herstal is the place to go.
FN Herstal’s strategy to maintain and develop further its product offering and full capability into the future and remain a truly reliable partner is shown by a considerable investment program in both R&D and production equipment. This program was started some time ago, and current events have shown it to have been a wise decision.