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Defence Forces to turn 'tomb raiders'

THE Defence Forces are to be equipped with a hi-tech German pistol made famous by the Lara Croft movies.

The state-of-the-art Heckler and Koch USP (universal self-loading pistol) has been chosen as the Army's new pistol after a dozen of the world's top gun makers shot it out in a competition over 15 months. Some 1,400 of the 9mm pistols are to be bought in a ?800,000 order to replace the existing FN Browning pistol, which has been in service for more then 40 years.

The gun, carried by Angelina Jolie in the movies, can hold 15 rounds of ammunition and is used by a number of forces, including the German army and police.

The USP won the competition against other top guns which included the Italian Beretta 92F which has been adopted by the US Army, and the Swiss Sig P226 which is used by the Irish Army Rangers. The new pistols will be delivered by the end of the year.

In another large order, the Defence Forces have bought 400 GPMG machineguns at a cost of ?4.4m from FN of Belgium to replace similar weapons which have been in service since the 1960s and used extensively at home and on UN missions abroad.

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