New era for New Zealand Defence Force

Defence Minister Ron Mark has welcomed in a new era for the Defence Force with the introduction of a new modular assault rifle system.

In one of the major projects being delivered by Defence, over 9000 MARS-L assault rifles have been tested individually and accepted for introduction into service. The new weapons system replaces the Steyr rifles that have been used by New Zealand’s military for nearly 30 years.

“The safety of our military personnel is a priority for me as Minister of Defence, along with ensuring our military is well-equipped and provisioned. Making it happen is part of an ongoing programme to improve and replace our nation’s security and defence capability,” Mr Mark said at a ceremony to mark the introduction of the new weapon at Trentham Military Camp today.

“The situations into which our personnel can be deployed mean they need to know they have modern, accurate and reliable equipment. I’m pleased to see this project has delivered the military an increased ability to effectively detect, recognise, identify and engage targets.”

The Minister acknowledged the benefits for the project in having the direct involvement of those who would be using the rifle.

“The quality of the new weapons that are being put into service now reflects the experience and commitment of those who designed and implemented the testing process.

“Our service men and women can stand tall with equipment that is fit-for-purpose and be confident that the systems supplied to them suit the individual needs of those using them,” he said.