Rifles worth $1.4m donated to Regiment
The Bermuda Regiment has taken delivery of new rifles worth $1.4 million courtesy of the UK Ministry of Defence.
Four hundred state-of-the-art rifles have been handed over for free, and are the same SA80 L85A2 weapons that are standard issue to British armed forces.
The rifles — equipped with high-tech advanced combat optical gunsights (ACOG) made by Trijcon and used in combat in Afghanistan — will replace the Regiment’s ageing Ruger Mini 14s, which date back 30 years.
The Regiment’s commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel Michael Foster-Brown, said: “I am thrilled. We have been working on this project for more than 18 months.
“These rifles represent a step change in capability for the Regiment and is another sign of the close working relationship we have with the British Army.
“We have obtained these rifles, which have been proved in combat around the world, at no cost to the Bermuda taxpayer and we’re very grateful to the Ministry of Defence for their generosity.”
The rifles and associated equipment arrived on the Island on Tuesday on a Royal Air Force C-130 Hercules transport aircraft.
Col Foster-Brown said serving soldiers would begin conversion training to the new rifles next month, while the next crop of soldiers, due to begin Recruit Camp next January, will be the first to train exclusively with the weapons.
Regiment drill manoeuvres will be changed because the bullpup configuration — where the action and magazine are mounted behind the trigger — makes the rifle shorter and easier to move.
The rifles, capable of firing up to 775 rounds a minute, use the same 5.56mm cartridge as the Ruger Mini 14, but are more accurate and have a longer range of up to 600 metres.
SA80 L85A2s are also used by elements of the Jamaican Defence Force, with whom the Regiment regularly trains.
Col Foster-Brown said the donation included magazines, bayonets, spares, tools and other ancillary equipment.
“Our soldiers, who have undergone training in the UK, including instructors who have attended the British Army drill course, are already familiar with the new rifles and we expect the transition to be a smooth one,” he said.
The Regiment will retain its small stock of modern Heckler & Koch G36s, which are issued to members of the Boat Troop and the Operational Support Unit.