Was just thinking that as long as the "new" rifles are rebuilds of the existing ones, at about £600 a pop plus new/ changed accessories, then changing supplier is not really an option, as per this "intent" released a couple of years back:
"the UK Ministry of Defence, intends to place a contract for the Equipped to Fight Improvement (EFI) programme for the modification of 5 000 SA80 weapons with Heckler & Koch GMBH & Co for work to be completed by March 2017. The estimated contract value is 2 700 000 GBP. The contract will require the supplier to modify the existing SA80 A2 weapon by fitting a combination of new and modified components. Specific tolerances of materials are needed along with exact dimensions and surface finishes on the components to allow for interoperability with the existing system, particularly when managing the variable interface caused by differing rates of wear of existing components which are recycled as part of the programme. There are very high risks involved in managing the variable tolerances and manufacturing processes when combining new and existing weapon components."
The Ministry must have looked at old contracts as they have SA, instead of the "L" in the name?
It beats me what is sensitive about the roll-out? If the above contract was let, there would have been a year for QA & testing at the armouries, before fielding.