The Secretariat of National Defense (Sedena) is planning to manufacture high-powered, .50-caliber rifles to increase the firepower of the armed forces in their fight against violent crime, and save money.
Barrett rifles such as the M82, a powerful military-grade weapon capable of penetrating bulletproof vests and most construction materials, are commonly seized from drug cartel members by the Mexican military.
Now, Sedena wants a Mexican replica of the weapons made by Barrett Firearms Manufacturing in the United States in order to match the narcos’ fire power.
The first step in the process is to design a prototype and to that end, Sedena has presented a request to the Secretariat of Finance for just under 24.2 million pesos (US $1.3 million) so it can carry out research and development and purchase equipment needed for the weapon’s manufacture.
The newspaper El Sol de México, which has seen the funding application, said that Sedena intends to use the money this year and next.
Universities and other public institutions are expected to collaborate with the military on research and development.
Sedena asserted that the manufacture of the .50-caliber rifles would be particularly beneficial to members of the military deployed to the northern states of Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Tamaulipas, where there are high levels of cartel violence.
It also said it will be able to cut costs and achieve “technological independence” by making its own .50-caliber weapons.
According to the document seen by El Sol de México, the army is currently short of such rifles, and needs another 324. As a result, 81 military units are unable to adequately carry out their patrols, Sedena said.
If the military were to purchase the 324 rifles it needs from Barrett, the total cost would be just under 138.5 million pesos (US $7.3 million), or 427,376 pesos (US $22,600) each.
Sedena says it already has most of the machinery needed to produce a .50-caliber rifle at its arms factory and that once it has a prototype, it will be able to make a single firearm for 70,000 pesos (US $3,700).
Each telescopic sight, or scope, will cost an additional 45,000 pesos (US $2,400), Sedena said, bringing the total cost of each rifle to 115,000 pesos (US $6,100).
Making 324 M82 replicas would cost 37.26 million pesos (just under US $2 million), a 73% savings on the purchase price.
Source: El Sol de México (sp)