Empresa Nacional Santa Bárbara, formerly known as CETME (Centro de Estudios Tecnicos de Materiales Especiales), is a Spanish state-owned small arms factory.

History[edit | edit source]

CETME was founded in 1949 to develop small arms for the Spanish military. Shortly after its establishment, the company hired the ex-Mauser engineer Ludwig Vorgrimmer, who fled Germany after World War II. Vorgrimmler applied his knowledge of the roller-delayed blowback mechanism to a series of prototype rifles, which were further developed by CETME after Vorgrimmler's return to Mauser in the 1950s. The culmination of this project was the CETME 58 rifle, which was adopted as the standard rifle of the Spanish Army in 1958.

The newly-formed West German military, the Bundeswehr, became interested in adopting the CETME 58 rifle and wanted to establish domestic production for the weapon. This was undertaken by Heckler & Koch, who produced a licensed clone of the CETME rifle known as the G3 in German military service. The G3 quickly commercially eclipsed the CETME 58, with Heckler & Koch widely exporting their version of the gun around the world.

In the 1960s and 70s, CETME produced a series of submachine guns that achieved limited domestic success but saw few international sales. In the early 1980s, the company produced a scaled-down version of the Rheinmetall MG3 known as the Ameli, which was adopted by the Spanish Army in 1982.

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