Georgian troops receive US-produced modern infantry armament

Defence minister Irakli Garibashvili inspects a heavy-calibre M2 Browning machine gun, part of the weapons provided to the GDF by its American partners. Photo via Ministry of Defence of Georgia., 11 Feb 2021 - 19:42, Tbilisi,Georgia

In a latest round of upgrading their equipment to NATO-standard arms, the Georgian Defence Forces have received American-made machine guns and grenade launchers, the Ministry of Defence of Georgia announced on Thursday.

At the Combat Training Centre of the Vaziani Training Area outside Tbilisi, instructors from the GDF and their US armed forces counterparts demonstrated capabilities of the new weapons, with the MoD saying the arms would increase interoperability of Georgian troops with their NATO partner forces.

M2HB Browning heavy machine guns of the 12.7 mm calibre, M249 light machine guns using 5.56 mm rounds and Mk 19 belt-fed grenade launchers comprise the latest round of arms provision to the GDF as part of minister Irakli Garibashvili's push to modernise both infantry equipment and heavy hardware of Georgian units.

The MoD said the new weapons increased fire capabilities and battlefield efficiency of infantry units, adding the process of re-equipment of forces with new arms was already underway. Major David Lambert from a group of instructors of the joint Georgian Defence Readiness Programme said the GDF now fielded "some of the most advanced weapons systems currently available in the world."

GDF troops received US-made weapons including Javelin anti-tank missile systems over the past few years, while under Garibashvili the MoD has also signed deals for repairing, upgrading or replacing vehicle fleets for the armed forces with companies from various countries.

The latter initiative has included a "complete rehabilitation and modernisation" of anti-air defences and upgrade of electronic systems of the aircraft fleet in deals with Israeli arms producers, purchase of German-made transportation trucks, and of drones from a Spanish company.