53,000 GROT (MSBS) 5.56mm assault rifles for Polish Army
At MSPO 2017, the Polish Ministry of National Defence officially ordered more than 53,000 MSBS 5.56mm assault rifles for its forces, mainly the newly formed Territorial Army. This is the largest single contract for individual weapons in Polish history after 1989, when Poland regained its independence. Rifles will be delivered by the Fabryka Broni “Łucznik” (Radom), which is a subsidiary of Polish defence giant Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ). This contract for a variant known as B 16 FB-M1 worth approximately €118 million.
During the official ceremony with Defence Minister Antoni Macierewicz held at MSPO it was also announced that the rifle, previously known as MSBS – which stands for Modułowy System Broni Strzeleckiej (Modular Firearm System) – is from now on named GROT (ARROWHEAD), to honour the Polish national hero General Stefan Rowecki, known by his military pseudonym GROT, who formed the Polish underground during WW2.
The GROT/MSBS is the first indigenous Polish assault rifle designed and produced after 1939, when Poland lost its independence. The rifle has been developed since 2007. The most important feature of the rifle is that it has a modular construction – many parts can be interchanged among all variants. During MSPO 2017 the variants presented were:
- GROT B 20PS FB-M1 (marksman rifle in bullpup configuration)
- GROT B 20M FB-M1 (light machine gun in bullpup configuration)
- GROT B 16G FB-M1 (rifle with under-barrel 40 mm grenade launcher in bullpup configuration)
- GROT B 16 FB-M1 (standard variant in bullpup configuration)
The first batch of rifles (roughly 1,000) is scheduled to be delivered to the Territorial Army this year. The contract is expected to be accomplished by 2020. It was also reported that rifles from this order will be also delivered to other branches of the Polish Armed Forces. It is planned that in the future the GROT rifle will become a service weapon of the Polish military.
Earlier, in late August 2017, the Ministry of National Defence ordered 490 MSBS-R rifles for honour guards.