The war in Ukraine has been dragging on for about four months now, and coverage has seemingly focused on the heavier weapons that have been sent into Ukraine, whether that be Western-supplied tanks and armored fighting vehicles, artillery, or even the contested proposals of sending MiG-29s to Ukraine. Today, we focus on a unique and rare small firearm that has been spotted in use by the Ukrainian forces against the Russians – the Belgian FN F2000 bullpup rifle.

Various photos of the small arm being used in Ukraine have surfaced online, notably from the Ukraine Weapons Tracker Twitter account and the TPYXA English Twitter accounts. The first photo shows a Ukrainian soldier with his back up against a slope on grassy and woody terrain. Other than that, the photo does not really provide any context regarding their location or what they’re doing, apart from the fact that they are in use. Other photographs of the weapon are seen with the Ukrainian forces posing for a photo behind an ordinary pickup truck.

Furthermore, there is also no information regarding how and when it got into Ukrainian hands from Belgium. There are reports that Ukraine had received some 10,000 rifles from the Belgians, including the SCAR-L and FNC, but made no mention of F2000 assault rifles. Looks like they were included in that package as well.

Last February, it was reported that some 3,000 automatic rifles, 2,000 machine guns, and 200 anti-tank grenade launchers from Belgium were due to arrive for the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Another report also stated that Belgium was to supply Ukraine with 5,000 FNC assault rifles and 3,800 tons of fuel.

This did not mention any word on any specific model, and reports remained vague. Thus, we do not really know who or which country donated these F2000 assault rifles, but we bet you that the Ukrainians are very much thankful for them.

Many have argued that it may be the Slovenians who donated these F2000 rifles. However, military analysts were quick to point out that the Slovenian version of the rifles had a Picatinny rail on the top and was called FN F2000s. The photos also indicate that the F2000 was in its original configuration. It did not include an M303 under-barrel module that enables the weapon to fire tear gas or a 40mm FN EGLM grenade launcher. However, their hunches were not unfounded as Slovenia has been one of the countries that have donated tanks to Ukraine.

SOFREP last April 23rd reported that Slovenia was going to donate Yugoslav-made M-84 tanks (an upgraded version of the T-72) to Ukraine. This deal was made possible with the participation of Germany, which was reportedly going to send Slovenia an undisclosed number of German tanks and a couple of Marder and Fuchs APCs. Some 30 to 40 units of the M-84s would be sent to Ukraine.

Many have also said that it was the Belgians themselves who donated the rifles as the F2000 is manufactured by FN Herstal, which provided Ukraine with the aforementioned 5,000 FN Herstal submachine guns. Note that the Belgians are replacing the FN SCAR-L with the F2000s, so sending the FN SCAR-L and the FNC would make sense for them. Perhaps they threw in a couple of F2000s as well!

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Get to Know the FN F2000

The FN F2000 might be familiar for many of you as they have a familiar shape. The F2000 is a Bullpup-type rifle first unveiled in 2001 at the IDEX defense exhibition in Abu Dhabi. It uses a standard 5.56x44mm NATO round, is gas-operated, and is perfect for left or right-handed people as it is an ambidextrous bullpup rifle.
A Slovenian soldier with an FN F2000 S during a room clearance exercise (7th Army Joint Multinational Training Command from Grafenwoehr, GermanyCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

The trigger mechanism was reported to be adopted from the P90 and has three settings: “S” for safe, “1” for semi-automatic, and “A” for fully automatic fire. It is fed from a STANAG 4179, utilizing a 30-round magazine. The magazine has to be pulled out manually as it does not have a drop-free magazine system because of its removable dust gaskets. The F2000 utilizes a telescopic sight with a 1.6x magnification in plastic housing located above the receiver, with a second sight being a non-adjustable fixed notch and front blade.

The F2000 can have an M303 under-barrel module and a 40mm FN EGLM grenade launcher, much like an M203 grenade launcher. Furthermore, it can also be equipped with a computerized fire control system developed in cooperation with the Finnish company, Noptel.

We’re pretty sure that the Ukrainian Forces can use a lot more small arms because of the number of volunteer fighters they have. We don’t have the exact number of operational troops from their international legion, but it is reported that they have grown to be so large that small arms are in short supply. The F2000s will be of great use to them and their fight against the Russian forces, which are still hanging on in Ukraine despite continuing to take grievous losses in men, equipment, and material.