The Army of the Republic of North Macedonia – ARM, received 1,269 M4 assault rifles from the US as a donation worth US$1.2 million, aimed to assist the equipping of the Light Infantry Battalion Battle Group, the primary NATO-declared unit. These new items will be followed by procurement of equipment and weaponry consisting of handguns, 7.62 mm sniper rifles, machine guns, howitzers, but also the previously announced light armored vehicles.
At the same time, this donation makes up one of the stages of the conversion i.e. the “caliber switch” – from the standard infantry weaponry which used used 7.62 mm caliber into 5.56 mm NATO caliber, that started a while ago.
“This is part of a larger project that is financed by the US government, assisting the modernization and the equipping of our army. Apart from the special forces which have already used these types of weapons, this equipment will ensure our light infantry to be fully equipped with weapons with this caliber, as it is not only a Macedonian unit but is also a NATO unit and it is being prepared for the first NATO assessment in 2022”, the Defense Minister Radmila Shekerinska – Jankovska at ТХЕ handover of the donation in the Gjorche Petrov Army Base on Monday.
The minister stressed that for the first time this year, the defense budget has 25% allocated for equipping and modernization.
She stressed that in a period of one week, the USA and Macedonia have promoted together investments at the Krivolak Military Range range, have signed a new memorandum for defense cooperation and are equipping the ARM.
Even the US Ambassador Kate Byrnes stressed the cooperation between Macedonia and the USA.
“This is another example of how we are working together so that we may be certain that our forces, when they fight together and they train together, are interoperational. We shall continue to be a strategic partner in the activities for modernization of your army,” Byrnes stressed.
These rifles will strengthen the interoperability of North Macedonia’s forces with U.S. and NATO forces, as we serve alongside each other during training, exercises, and international operations.
The Macedonian and US armies have a history of joint training, military exercises, including military operations among which are the deployment of special forces in the “Iraqi Freedom” operation and the “Fenix” operation in Afghanistan.