By Goksel Yildirim
Turkey's first locally designed and produced assault rifle MPT-76 has begun serving the country's allies, security sources said Tuesday.
The Turkish defense industry sources, who asked not be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media, told Anadolu Agency that the state-run Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation (MKEK) and other defense industry companies Kalekalip and Sarsilmaz have been given orders for mass production of the rifle.
The rifle is currently in the inventory of the Turkish Armed Forces.
The MKEK, Kalekalip and Sarsilmaz will produce 20,000, 15,000 and 10,000 rifles respectively.
MKEK has delivered 3,200 rifles so far and 500 of them were given to the Turkish Presidency. MKEK plans to deliver the rest in 2018.
The MPT-76 is produced to replace the German G-3 rifles used by the Turkish Armed Forces, reduce dependence on foreign manufacturers, and develop further weapons.
A total number of 450 rifles were delivered to Somalia, which is dealing with an insurgency. In addition to Somalia, Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC) added the rifle to its inventory. TRNC has ordered 2,500 rifles.
After success in 47 NATO tests, the MPT-76 rifle -- named after the Turkish acronym of National Infantry Rifle and the caliber of its 7.62 millimeter NATO round -- is billed as being as “effective as the G-3, as reliable as the AK-47 and as practical as M-16”.
It has an effective range of up to 600 meters and is capable of firing 700 rounds per minute at a muzzle velocity of 800 meters per second.
The rifle can be fired semi-automatic and automatically and its magazine capacity is 20 bullets. The MPT-76 can be customized through its rail system, it means compatible accessories - including night vision rifle scope - can be added or removed.