French Small Arms manufacturer Verney-Carron Defense are in search of industry partners to ensure their entry into the French Army’s upcoming precision semi automatic rifle trials. Back in July, we reported that Verney-Carron, one of France’s premier sporting gun makers was hoping to bid for the rumoured contract, submitting their 7.62x51mm VCD-10.
Just a month later on the 18th August, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), France’s government defence procurement agency, released a tender for 2,600 7.62×51mm chambered semi-automatic sharpshooter’s rifle with daylight optics to replace the FR-F2. French government policy, however, stands in the way of Verney-Carron’s entering the competition – only companies with turnover exceeding 50 million Euros can submit.
Verney-Carron, who have a reported annual turn over of 13 million Euros, have encountered this problem before. When France launched the tender to replace the FAMAS, the same clause blocked Verney Carron from submitting – subsequently, a German company, Heckler & Koch won the contract.
France Bleu, a French radio network, reported on the 29th August that Verney-Carron are in search of partners to enable them to launch their VCD-10 bid. Guillaume Verney-Carron, the company’s managing director, riled against the impact lobbyists have on the armaments industry.
Verney-Carron said in the interview (machine translated):
There is probably work that has been done, there is certainly information that has been raised at the level of the staff of the armed forces about lobbying, but above all it is companies that have solid bases, I do not say that I approve but I try to put myself in their shoes.
Verney-Carron complains that “big European manufacturers are probably using lobbyists” and muses that his company too could employ “former retired generals who have kept a network and who can pass information.” But he asserts that: “this is not the case of Verney-Carron because we have a problem of means. We have the means of an industrial SME of 90 employees that makes 13 million euros.,” noting that his company’s turnover is far from that of his “European competitors who are rather on the basis of 200, 450 million euros in turnover.”