Every two years, the London DSEi - Defense & Security Event brings the most important representants of the industry, of the professional world and of the specialized press at the ExCeL in London to get up to date with the newest products concerning military armaments and technologies, Police and homeland security solutions, innovations and techniques. This year, light appears to brightly shining on the BDT - Beretta Defense Technologies stand.
The Military/LE/Tactical/Professional products branch of the Italian-based Beretta Holding launched the newest incarnation of the ARX-160 modular assault weapon system, first conceived for the Italian Army as a part of the Soldato Futuro (Future Soldier) program, NATO-codified in 2010 and sold by Beretta to professional operators worldwide. This new version of the platform, dubbed ARX-160 A3, is the latest step in the evolution of a weapon that is currently phasing out the issued Beretta 70/90 weapon system within the Italian Armed Forces and has been sold to frontline units and Special Forces in Albania, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Mexico and Turkmenistan − Countries that have been fighting internal wars against armed insurgency, organized crime, terrorists and drug cartels for years now.
The Italian assault rifle that's gaining increasing worldwide praise and acceptance within professionals tasked with upholding global peace, public order and national security is built upon a full synthetic chassis, made out of high-impact polymer blended with a number of strenghtening materials, all classified so far. The upper receiver hosts most of the moving parts and the telescopic-sidefolding stock, while the lower receiver hosts the pistol grip, the trigger pack, the magazine well and all ambidextrous fire controls. The ARX-160 platform is a short-stroke piston-driven weapon, featuring a gas impingment system installed directly over the barrel − which can be quickly changed by the operator in a matter of seconds, right on the field, with the gun being unloaded, with the magazine out and the bolt open. Barrels are lightweight and manufactured out of special steel by Beretta itself; this means that operators can carry spare barrels in their kits and be ready to convert their ARX-160 rifles from standard assault weapons to CQB/PDW-type carbines for close combat and forced entry operations in a matter of moments. The new ARX-160 A3 now comes available with three different barrel lenghts rather than just two, making it even more versatile.
The cocking handle and spent cases ejection on the Beretta ARX-160 assault rifle can be converted from left-hand to right-hand operation, once again on the field by the user, without tools and in seconds; furthermore, the ARX-160 A3 features a bolt head that will remain compatible with all assault rifle calibers whose case doesn't exceed 45mm in lenght; this means that magazine and barrel change is all it takes to shift the ARX-160 A3 from the native 5.56x45mm NATO caliber to the Remington 6.8x43mm Special Purposes Cartridge; by changing both the barrel and the lower receiver, the ARX-160 A3 can also be converted to chamber and fire 7.62x39mm M43 caliber rounds, and to feed through AK-47/AKM-style magazines. The ARX-160 A3 features MagPul foldable iron sights, a top MIL-STD-1913 "Picatinny" rail for optics, two side rails for tactical accessories, and a fourth, shorter rail protected by a polymer shell under the handguard that acts as a fast attach-detach point for the single-shot, reloadable, multipurpose GLX-160 A1 40x46mm SR grenade launcher, which may also be used as a stand-alone weapon via a proprietary stock system.
The Beretta ARX-160 A3 assault rifle is yet another step forward in the evolution of the ARX-160 weapon system: more variants are planned for the near future, including high-caliber and pistol-caliber versions, as well as two semi-automatic variants in .223 Remington and .22 Long Rifle for civilian sporting purposes, basic marksmanship training and Police purposes. It's also a living evidence of how the Italian arms industry can still provide the cutting edge, state-of-the-art alternatives when it comes to professional, military or Police armaments, accessories and equipments for international peacekeeping operations, counter-terrorism, public safety and homeland security.
The DSEi 2013 will be open for visit by qualified individuals and registered press members − NOT for the general public! − up until September 13th; more interesting new products are on stand at the Beretta Defense Technologies booth, including a new line of SAKO ammunition for long-range tactical rifles and the latest laser products from Burris Optics − yet another Beretta Holding company.