Italian firearm manufacturer Beretta to invest millions in Romanian plant

Romanian military, police officers, and Gendarmerie could switch to Beretta small arms partly manufactured in the country, indicates a memorandum signed by Italian firearms company Beretta and Uzina Mecanica Plopeni SA, the Ministry of Economy has announced, as reported by ziare.com.

According to the deal, the next step would be the establishment of a joint venture controlled by the Plopeni-based factory (80% share) and the Italian Beretta, which would own a 20% share. The Italians are ready to invest millions of euros in the Romanian business, with the aim of becoming the main gun supplier for the Romanian army, police, and Gendarmerie. The police officers who tested the Beretta guns (Beretta ARX 160 assault rifles and Beretta APX pistols) are satisfied with their performance and say they are much better and the old Carpati pistol and AKM submachine guns (a Romanian version of the Soviet AK-47) currently used.

But the could equally fail, as neither the Ministry of Defense nor the Internal Affairs Ministry have expressed their willingness to buy firearms from the Plopeni-based factory making Beretta weapons. Also, the Beretta assault rifles aren’t the only ones in the market to serve as replacements. There is another project under development in the Cugir-based factory for weapons complying with NATO caliber standards, just as the previously mentioned Beretta guns do.

The potential is high, because the Romanian government would need to buy several hundred thousand guns, which means it’s not just Beretta who’s eyeing such a contract, due to the monetary benefits a contract with the government would bring.

After testing the Beretta guns, although they refrained from commenting on which option is better, Romanian soldiers have agreed on one important matter: they want better service weapons, regardless of the brand.

Title image: Romanian police officer testing a Beretta ARX 160 assault rifle (Ziare.com/Alexandru Nistor)

Author: István Fekete