On 11 April, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that Canada would provided Ukraine with “21,000 5.56mm assault rifles” and 2.4 million round of ammunition. This latest round of security assistance brings the value of Canada’s aid to Ukraine to CAD 8 billion ($6 billion).
Prime Minister of Ukraine, Denys Shmyhal, visited Canada meeting Trudeau in Toronto. As well as announcing a CAD 2.4 billion loan to the Government of Ukraine to support essential services further military aid was announced:
The new military assistance package includes 21,000 5.56mm assault rifles, 38 7.62mm machine guns, and over 2.4 million rounds of ammunition to support these weapons as well as small arms already in use by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The statement, which the Canadian Department of Nation Defense confirmed, stated that the small arms would be “sourced from Colt Canada”, meaning that the weapons would not be coming from the Canadian Armed Forces’ stocks. The announcement also noted that the “donation comes from the remaining funds across the Government of Canada’s various funding envelopes for military assistance to Ukraine.”
In terms of previous small arms donations Canada has provided a range of weapons. These include 100 Carl Gustaf M2 Recoilless Rifles, 7,500 hand grenades and up to 4,500 M72 LAW anti-tank weapons. Canada has also transferred C9 (FN Minimi) light machine guns, C6 (FN MAG) general purpose machine guns and Colt Canada C8 carbines. When the new aid package was announced there was considerable speculation about what models might be – C7 or C8s or perhaps the newer Colt Canada MRR?
TFB enquired about the types of small arms that Colt Canada would be providing and what models of ‘5.56mm assault rifles’ would be provided. A Department of National Defense spokesperson stated that the donation would include: “M4 carbines; M4 Commandos; M16A4 rifles; M5 carbines; and C8A2 carbines.” This is surprising as the C8A2 is the only weapon in the list manufactured by Colt Canada. Of the other weapons the M4 and M16A4 are US military weapons, and the M5 is a rifle aimed at the international law enforcement and military markets offered by Colt USA only.
We asked the Department of National Defense about the unexpected models listed they responded that: “We expect that the majority of the rifles will be manufactured and assembled at the Kitchener plant [Colt Canada’s facility in Ontario], though it is likely that they will need to source certain parts from their subsidiaries.” It appears that Colt Canada will act as the vendor but call upon Colt in the US to provide components and perhaps complete weapons – both companies are part of the Colt-CZ Group. The Canadian Department of National Defense expects the delivery of the weapons “to be completed in the coming months”.
TheFirearmBlog.com – Managing Editor
OvertDefense.com – Managing Editor
Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. He also runs Historical Firearms, a blog that explores the history, development and use of firearms. Matt is also co-founder of The Armourer’s Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms.
Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news.
Reach Matt at: [email protected]
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