The Luxembourg Army has entered into a contract with Heckler & Koch for the legendary firm to supply the nation’s troops with HK416 A7 rifles. Two versions of the 5.56 NATO-chambered rifles are being purchased one with a 14.5-inch barrel and the other wearing an 11-inch version.
The order also includes HK269 40 mm grenade launchers and HK417 A2 rifles chambered in 7.62 NATO. Total value of the agreement came in at nearly 8.4 million euros (roughly $9.2 million in U.S. dollars). Delivery of the new firearms is expected to be completed sometime next year. At that time the nation’s aging fleet of Steyr Augs will effectively enter retirement.
Neighboring nation Germany will begin fielding a different variant of the HK416 next year. The vast majority of that country’s troops, however will be issued rifles with 16.5- or 14-inch barrels. A 14.5-barreled version will go to special operations troops. Heckler & Koch’s popularity isn’t exclusively European, either. The United State Marine Corps, for example, ordered HK416s for duty as its Infantry Automatic Rifle more than a decade ago.
Luxembourg, officially the Grand Dutchy of Luxembourg, has roughly 1,000 soldiers in its army. That number, however, has doubled in some years, most recently 2017 and 2018. The country covers only 998 square miles and has less than 700,000 residents. Sandwiched between Belgium, France and Germany, it’s one of the smallest nations in Europe.
Despite its diminutive size and precarious landlocked location, Luxembourg was also a founding member of the United Nations in 1945. Then, in 1949 it was also one of the dozen countries that established the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) that ultimately stalled communist agression in the region. Luxembourg’s troops were deployed during combat in Afghanistan from 2003 to 2014, serving at posts in Kabul and Kandahar.