On 11 April, Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, announced that Canada would provided Ukraine with “21,000 5.56mm assault rifles” and 2.4 million rounds of ammunition. This latest round of security assistance brings the value of Canada’s aid to Ukraine to CAD 8 billion ($6 billion). The official announcement stated:
The new military assistance package includes 21,000 5.56mm assault rifles, 38 7.62mm machine guns, and over 2.4 million rounds of ammunition to support these weapons as well as small arms already in use by the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
The statement, which the Canadian Department of National Defense confirmed, noted that the small arms would be “sourced from Colt Canada”, meaning that the weapons would not be coming from the Canadian Armed Forces’ own stocks. The announcement also noted that the: “donation comes from the remaining funds across the Government of Canada’s various funding envelopes for military assistance to Ukraine.”
In terms of previous small arms donations, Canada has provided a range of weapons. These include 100 Carl Gustaf M2 Recoilless Rifles, 7,500 hand grenades and up to 4,500 M72 LAW anti-tank weapons. Canada has also transferred C9 (FN Minimi) light machine guns, C6 (FN MAG) general purpose machine guns and an undisclosed number of Colt Canada C8 carbines.
When the new aid package was announced, there was considerable speculation about what models might be – C7 or C8s or perhaps the newer Colt Canada MRR?
I enquired about the types of ‘5.56mm assault rifles’ that Colt Canada would be providing. A Department of National Defense spokesperson stated that the donation would include: “M4 carbines; M4 Commandos; M16A4 rifles; M5 carbines; and C8A2 carbines.” This is a surprising list as the C8A2 is the only weapon on the list manufactured by Colt Canada. Of the other weapons, the M4 and M16A4 are US military weapons, and the M5 is a rifle aimed at the international law enforcement and military markets offered by US-based Colt only.
We asked the Department of National Defense about the unexpected models listed, and they responded that: “we expect that the majority of the rifles will be manufactured and assembled at the Kitchener plant [Colt Canada’s facility in Ontario], though it is likely that they will need to source certain parts from their subsidiaries.”
It appears that Colt Canada will act as the vendor but call upon Colt in the US to provide components and perhaps complete weapons – both companies are part of the Colt-CZ Group. We also reached out to Colt Canada, who responded to our request for comment, saying:
We are honored to be part of Canada’s military assistance to Ukraine. Colt Canada will play an important role in the deliveries of assault rifles, machine guns, and ammunition to the Government of Ukraine. We are proud to be a strong and reliable partner to the Canadian government, in helping Ukraine to defend its national sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Colt Canada declined to comment on the variety of weapons listed by the Department of National Defense and did not comment on the hypothesis that parts for the weapons would be drawn from across the Colt-CZ Group.
21,000 rifles is a considerable number of personal weapons. The average Ukrainian brigade size is around 4,000 personnel. We also have to factor in the considerable attrition rate experienced during heavy fighting but even so this supply of rifles could in theory perhaps arm three or four brigades. This is especially useful as Ukraine is currently raising new Army and National Guard brigades.
Another aspect to consider is spare parts for the weapons – as yet the Canadian government have not disclosed spares which might be provided. The Canadian Department of National Defense expects the delivery of the weapons “to be completed in the coming months”.
This article was based on an earlier article written by the author and published at TFB.
Support Us: If you enjoyed this video and article please consider supporting our work here. We have some great perks available for Patreon Supporters – including early access to custom stickers and early access to videos! Thank you for your support!