IMBEL MD-2/3

     Notes: These assault rifles were accepted into the Brazilian military when the LAPA's exotic looks and construction were not readily accepted by the Brazilian soldiers.  It was also easier and cheaper to simply produce a scaled-down version of the Light Automatic Rifle (the Brazilian name for the FN FAL) than a new, exotic rifle that required extensive retooling of the weapons factories and retraining or troops.  The MD-2 and MD-3 (originally collectively known as the FZ-961) are to some extent standard-pattern assault rifles that bear some resemblance to the FNC, but are in fact a local design. 

     The original idea for the MD-2 was to simply rebarrel the Brazilian version of the FAL for 5.56mm NATO, but this required more work than the designers thought, and they also wanted to incorporate some new ideas.  As stated above, they ended up with a rifle externally similar to the FNC, but internally quite different.  Internally, in fact, the MD-2 and MD-3 resemble a mix of the FAL and the M-16A3.  They use M-16 and M-16-compatible magazines, and 40% of the parts of the MD-2 and MD-3 are interchangeable with those of the LAR/FN FAL.  The MD-3 has a fixed stock, and the MD-2 has a side-folding metal stock.  Like many modern assault rifles, the lower receiver is of light alloy, the upper is stamped steel, and parts like the handguard, pistol grip, and suchlike are of high-impact plastic or composites.  This weapon is used by both military and police forces, and a civilian semiautomatic-only version is produced.  (In civilian guise, the weapons are known as the MD-2A1 and MD-3A1, respectively.)  Most LARs in Brazilian service had been replaced by the MD-2 and MD-3 by 2002.

     The Model L and LC are basically updated versions of the MD-2 or 3, differing from those weapons primarily in ergonomics and the use of lighter materials such as high-impact plastics.  The Models L and LC are also capable of mounting a variety of NATO-compatible 40mm grenade launchers, something the MD-2 and MD-3 aren’t designed for.  Though the Brazilians are planning to produce many of these rifles, the Brazilian Army made an early decision to equip its jungle and mountain units with the new rifle first, and since it was felt that they would get more use out of the lighter Model LC, perhaps only a third as many Model Ls are to be produced as Model LC’s.  In addition to normal US/NATO-style magazines, the L and LC can use special transparent plastic magazines that allow the user to readily see how much ammunition is left.  Model L and LC production has only started recently, and only a few units (for the most part, the units the Brazilian Army regards as their best) have thusfar received the Model L and LC.

     The MD-97 is a further development of the MD-2 and MD-3.  Two models of the MD-97 are produced – the Military model, the MD-97L, and the Police model, the MD-97LC.  Both would take more than a cursory examination to distinguish them from the MD-2 and MD-3; both have essentially the same features and construction as the MD-2 and 3, though some parts of the MD-97 are not compatible with the MD-2 and 3 and workmanship is in general better than that of the MD-2 and 3.  The MD-97 also uses a gas piston operation instead of direct gas impingement. The MD-97 thus looks very much as a version of the FAL reduced for use with 5.56mm NATO ammunition. 

     The MD-97L is slightly longer than a carbine, with automatic fire capability and a 17.2-inch barrel and the same flash suppressor as the MD-2 and MD-3 (which is itself a modified form of the flash suppressor of the M-16A2).  The stock folds to the right and has a padded buttplate, and the ejection port has an integral deflector for left-handed shooters. The pistol grip is simple hollow polymer which has an unusually-sharp angle to the rear.  The rest of the controls are a bit more ergonomic than those of the MD-2 and 3. The handguards are ventilated and of polymer, and the lower receiver is of light alloy.  The sights are better calibrated to 5.56mm NATO ammunition and more finely adjustable.  Magazine use is the same as for earlier rifles.  The MD-97L is also available in a semiautomatic-only form for export to civilians and interested law-enforcement agencies.

     The MD-97LC is the same except for the barrel which is just a smidge under 13 inches.  The selector lever allows only for semiautomatic fire in its police form, but the military uses the same weapon with automatic fire components, calling it the MD-97LM. The MD-97LC also cannot be fitted with an underbarrel grenade launcher, while the MD-97L can do so.  The MD-97LC may be fitted with a folding stock or a fixed, polymer stock.

     It should be noted that all of these rifles have a serious defect – their barrels are poorly made, and wear out quickly, needing replacement in about 6000 rounds.  While the Brazilians say this is a reflection of local conditions that would make barrels wear out quickly anyway (due to corrosion), this fact would seriously limit export sales.

     Twilight 2000 Notes: Though these weapons were first issued in 1983 to Brazilian forces, only about half of the LARs had been replaced with them by the time of the Twilight War due to budget constraints.  The Model L and LC were virtually unknown in Twilight War Brazil; the few examples of the L and LC were distributed not to elite, mountain, and jungle units, but to the bodyguards of the president and his advisors and family.  The MD-97 does not exist in the Twilight 2000 timeline.

     Merc 2000 Notes: Due to budget constraints, the L and LC were not produced in nearly the numbers that the Brazilian Army hoped for; however, the Brazilians jumped to the MD-97 series.

Weapon

Ammunition

Weight

Magazines

Price

MD-2

5.56mm NATO

4.4 kg

20, 30

$603

MD-3

5.56mm NATO

4.57 kg

20, 30

$583

Model L

5.56mm NATO

3.7 kg

20, 30

$602

Model LC

5.56mm NATO

2.9 kg

20, 30

$522

MD-97L

5.56mm NATO

3.71 kg

20, 30

$672

MD-97LC (Fixed Stock)

5.56mm NATO

3.33 kg

20, 30

$604

MD-97LC (Folding Stock)

5.56mm NATO

3.33 kg

20, 30

$624

MD-97LM

5.56mm NATO

3.33 kg

20, 30

$629

Weapon

ROF

Damage

Pen

Bulk

SS

Burst

Range

MD-2

5

3

1-Nil

4/6

2

5

47

MD-3

5

3

1-Nil

6

2

5

47

Model L

5

3

1-Nil

5/6

2

6

47

Model LC

5

2

1-Nil

4/5

2

6

19

MD-97L

5

3

1-Nil

4/6

2

5

44

MD-97LC (Fixed)

SA

3

1-Nil

5

2

Nil

29

MD-97LC (Folding)

SA

3

1-Nil

4/5

2

Nil

29

MD-97LM

5

3

1-Nil

4/5

2

5

29