Among the samples of Western weapons planned for production in Ukraine, a sample of small arms appeared, which is extremely important in the need to transition from Kalashnikovs to modern Western assault rifles.
The Ministry of Defense of the Czech Republic has officially informed about the initial stage of negotiations regarding the production of the CZ BREN 2 assault rifle in Ukraine. Moreover, there is already a localized name for it – “Sich”. But in general, the intended cooperation is much more global and involves the creation of a production line for cartridges of the caliber Sellier & Bellot. And in parallel – the possibility of producing armored vehicles, Tatra trucks, projectiles from polymer materials, etc.
And, of course, now the question of localization of production for Ukraine is not only of strategic importance; objectively, it is a question of survival and the ability to arm its army, particularly to maximize the power of the Armed Forces of Ukraine. And in this situation, new small arms cannot be dispensed with.
That is why the Czech proposal regarding the localization of CZ BREN 2 is more than interesting—especially considering that Ukraine is unlikely to find its own alternative to Western small arms. Because there was neither an appropriate design school nor mass production of small arms in Ukraine. Only domestic variations of the AR-15, the forgotten license production Tavor, and conversions of Kalashnikov assault rifles are active.
And when it comes to CZ BREN 2 (aka CZ BREN 806), then as one of the candidates for the armament of the Armed Forces, it looks at the appropriate level. In general, the history of the Czech army’s BREN project began with the desire of the country’s Ministry of Defense to abandon the vz. 58, a machine gun that, although visually similar to the AK, was a Czech development of its own with more than significant differences.
After several attempts related to funding problems, in 2009, the first version of the CZ BREN appeared, which in 2010 bypassed the FN SCAR-L in the tender. The first deliveries of these weapons came in 2011. However, the operational experience led to the appearance of the CZ BREN 2, which was significantly modified according to the obtained relations.
As a result, the weight of the assault rifle was reduced by 0.5 kg, the cocking mechanism was modernized with a fixed handle, the store shaft was replaced, disassembly was simplified, and other less significant changes were made. The updated version immediately went into production and the army.
A certain feature of all versions of the CZ BREN was that it was designed as a modular weapon, which, by changing the barrel and magazine shaft tab, allowed it to go from 5.56×45 mm to 7.62×39 mm or vice versa. Visually, the CZ BREN 2 itself is quite similar to the already mentioned FN SCAR-L. It uses automatics on the gas removal scheme with a short piston stroke.
This scheme is similar to all assault rifles that are actively purchased as a uniform model for the entire army (not for special forces) now. For example, the HK416, which, after the scandal, was purchased by the Bundeswehr to replace the G36, and without any scandal – France or the Polish own development of Grot.
We are talking about a modern and classic solution for assault rifles. As well as about such basic requirements for modern small-arms weapons as the convenience of working with shunga weapons, the variability of barrel lengths with the standard 16-inch barrel, etc.
In addition to the Czech Republic, in 2018, the transition to CZ BREN 2 began in Hungary, while it outbid Grot in the tender. At the same time, under the conditions of licensed production at the facilities of HM Arzenal. The value of the 2018 contract was, as the media reported, 100 million euros, and plans covered the production of 200,000 units by 2028.
That is, the fact that two armies have chosen this weapon as a combined-arms model can already be considered a rather important factor in the assessment, which includes the tactical and technical capabilities of weapons and the financial and economic aspects.
At the same time, the Armed Forces now have a huge base for choosing the assault rifle that will prove its maximum effectiveness in real war conditions. The fact is that the CZ BREN 2 was transferred or sold by the Czech Republic (Prague does not disclose its actual more than powerful support) and is actively used by the Defense Forces of Ukraine.
That is, the choice can be made at the expense of collecting relevant relations. What is interesting is that Ukrainian fighters, even from the same unit, can completely form their ratings based on completely different models of assault rifles they use simultaneously.