So, not so much a high tech based announcement today, but an intriguing one none the less. The Brazilian ministry of defense has announced that it has selected the FN Minimi to replace all of the Brazilian military's standard machine guns. Brazil has the largest armed forces in South America, and while it doesn't face many external threats, it has had 4 governmental coups spread over the late 19th and 20th centuries. On its own, the announcement isn't very notable. The Minimi is a solid weapon, used by numerous militaries, etc.... Although it is interesting that Brazil is replacing larger 7.62mm weapons with the Minimi, which means that Brazil will field almost exclusively the 5.56mm caliber (except for special uses). However, what is notable about this announcement is that Brazil selected an outside manufacturer to supply this replacement. Ever since WWII ended/the Cold War began, Brazil has always tried to represent a third choice for military industries, kind of like an independent movie studio vs the mega movie studios. Brazilian companies probably reached their height the 80's, when Brazil actually supplied Iraq with around 40% of its equipment used in the Iraq/Iran war as well as Desert Storm. Since that time, not very many end users have selected Brazilian armaments. I think pre-Desert Storm, Brazil had some 8, 9 or more armament companies...Currently, I think it's down to 2. Brazil still has Imbel Co, which is its largest company. Imbel produces Brazil's infantry rifle-the IA2, but I'm pretty sure that only the Brazilian military uses it. Apparently Imbel either couldn't handle the additional production of a machine gun, or couldn't do it in a cost effective manner. So the fact that Brazil turned to FN to produce its latest light machine gun represents another move toward total consolidation among defense companies. There are only a handful of defense companies left, and these companies are controlling a increasingly larger share of what weapons are used by the world's armies. I suppose having fewer companies that produce weapons results in more control and stability, as well as fewer weapons themselves, but having fewer companies also means that the influence is concentrated among a few key companies in the military-industrial realm.