Ukrainian Defense Industry Sign License Agreement with ČZ to Produce the Bren 2

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A CZ Bren 2 in Ukraine, c.2023 (via social media)

The CZ Bren 2, alongside a plethora of other Western rifles, has seen extensive use in Ukraine over the past two years. Rifle transferred from the Czech Republic as aid have equipped numerous elements of Ukraine’s armed forces including special operations units and regular infantry alike. Feedback on the rifles has been largely positive and the war in Ukraine represents a significant combat test for the platform.

Over the past six months, there have been discussions of establishing full-scale manufacture of the Bren 2 in Ukraine, with the signing of an agreement between the Ukrainian Defense Industry (Ukroboronprom) and the Colt CZ Group SE. This has moved a step closer with the assembly of 5.56x45mm variants of the rifle in Ukraine. The Ukrainian assembled rifles will reportedly be known as the ‘Sich’ (meaning castle or stronghold in Ukrainian).  The exact configuration of the rifles remains unclear, numerous different configurations have been seen in theatre, including 11 and 14 inch versions.

Here’s the Ukrainian Defense Industry’s announcement in full:

In a significant move to bolster Ukraine’s defense capabilities, Ukrainian Defense Industry has partnered with Česká zbrojovka a.s., a subsidiary of Colt CZ Group SE, signing an Agreement of Intent for the license transfer. This agreement will enable the Ukrainian company to assemble NATO standard rifles, specifically the CZ BREN 2 model, in Ukraine.

At the center of this initiative is the CZ BREN 2 rifle, renowned for its deployment by various military and law enforcement customers worldwide, including the Army of the Czech Republic, Ukrainian Armed Forces, French National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), Portuguese Army, Polish Border Guard, Romanian Gendarmerie and other professional customers. The project’s goal is to equip the Ukrainian Armed Forces with a proven, high-quality standard NATO firearm, enhancing their operational capabilities.

Herman Smetanin, CEO of Ukrainian Defense Industry, highlighted the importance of this agreement: “The technology transfer from NATO member states marks a pivotal moment for our company, driven by successful international cooperation and ongoing defense reforms. This initiative is a crucial step towards establishing an Arsenal of the Free World within Ukraine.”

“We are honored to support Ukraine’s efforts to adopt NATO standard equipment and increase the capability of its defense industry. This first step towards of full-scale transfer of technology project for the CZ BREN 2 rifle is a direct consequence of its successful deployment on the battlefield in Ukraine by the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” underlined Jan Zajíc, CEO of Česká zbrojovka.

This ambitious transfer of technology project of the CZ BREN 2 rifles in Ukraine was showcased as a key initiative at the First International Defense Industry Forum (DFNC1) in Kyiv. The forum, held at the end of September 2023, was a collaborative effort by the Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Industries, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, drawing participation from 252 companies across more than 30 countries.

Here’s Colt CZ Group’s statement in full:

Česká zbrojovka, a subsidiary of Colt CZ Group SE (“Colt CZ”, the “Group” or the “Company”), signed an Agreement of Intent with “Ukrainian Defense Industry” (“Ukroboronprom”) for the assembly of the CZ BREN 2 rifles in Ukraine. The project’s goal is to equip the Ukrainian armed forces with a proven, high-quality standard NATO firearm, enhancing their operational capabilities.

“We are honored to support Ukraine’s efforts to adopt NATO standard equipment and increase the capability of its defense industry. This first step towards a full-scale transfer of technology project for the CZ BREN 2 rifle is a direct consequence of its successful deployment on the battlefield in Ukraine by the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” underlined Jan Zajíc, CEO of Česká zbrojovka.

“The technology transfer from NATO member states marks a pivotal moment for our company, driven by successful international cooperation and ongoing defense reforms. This initiative is a crucial step towards establishing an Arsenal of the Free World within Ukraine,” commented Herman Smetanin, CEO of the Ukrainian Defense Industry, on the importance of this agreement.

CZ BREN 2 is a modular NATO standard rifle that provides high compatibility with other NATO member countries, as well as durability, accuracy and caliber modularity that makes this rifle a versatile weapon for military and law enforcement units. The CZ BREN 2 rifles are used by the Army of the Czech Republic, French National Gendarmerie Intervention Group (GIGN), Portuguese Army, Polish Border Guard, Romanian Gendarmerie, Ukrainian Armed Forces and other professional customers worldwide.

The transfer of technology project of the CZ BREN 2 rifles in Ukraine was showcased as a key initiative at the First International Defense Industry Forum (DFNC1) in Kyiv. The forum, held at the end of September 2023, was a collaborative effort by the Ukrainian Ministry of Strategic Industries, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, drawing participation from 252 companies across more than 30 countries.

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