Belgian Shopping Spree

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On 6 July, the council of ministers of the Belgian government authorized Defense Minister Pieter De Crem to issue calls for tender under the 2012 defense investment plan. These include calls for tender for 70 remote weapons stations for the Light Multipurpose Vehicle (LMV), 4,500 modular carbines with day sights to replace FNC rifles currently in service, and two ready duty ships for coast guard duties.

LMV at past 21 July independence day parade (Belgian Defense photo)

This is part of the 242 million euros in defense investments approved by the council of ministers on 11 May. The 2012 defense investment plan also includes acquisition of short- and medium-range anti-fortification and anti-armor weapons to replace the Milan anti-tank guided missile, the Personal Defence Weapon to replace the GP 9mm pistol, and 90 mm practice ammunition for the Piranha III Armoured Infantry Vehicle (AIV) for the Belgian army.

For the air force, the F-16 Commonality and Interoperability Consolidation Program will be continued, four advanced targeting pods will be acquired, as will equipment for forward air controllers, ground-to-air radios for local air traffic control, and new airfield firefighting vehicles.

Finally, Multinational Space-based Imaging System (MUSIS) satellite communication terminals will replace the existing obsolete terminals.

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