Military Wiki
Mitrailleuse-IMG 1728.jpg
AA-52 mounted on a Leclerc main battle tank
Type General-purpose machine gun
Place of origin  France
Service history
In service 1952-Present
Used by See Users
Wars First Indochina War
Algerian war
Suez Crisis
Gulf War
Bosnian War
War in Afghanistan
2011 Libyan uprising[1]
Production history
Designed 1952
Manufacturer Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne (MAS)
Variants NF-1
M.A.C. 58
Weight 9.75 kg
Length 1080 mm
Barrel length 600 mm

Cartridge 7.5x54mm French
7.62x51mm NATO
Calibre 7.5 mm
7.62 mm
Action Lever-delayed blowback
Rate of fire 900 round/min
Muzzle velocity 830 m/s
Effective range 600 metres
Maximum range 3,200 metres
Feed system Belt
Sights Iron
Removable APX(SOM) telescopic sights
IR scope

The AA-52 (full designation in French: Arme Automatique Transformable Modèle 1952, "Transformable automatic weapon model 1952"), also known as "La Nana" is one of the first French-produced guns of the post-World War II era. It was manufactured by the French government-owned MAS company. The AA-52 is still used today as a vehicle-mounted weapon due to large quantities in service, but has been replaced in the helicopter role by the Belgian FN MAG, starting with the EC 725 Caracal of the Special Operations units and the Air Force Search and Rescue teams. The AA-52 had been largely phased out for infantry use in favour of the lighter FN Minimi. The AA-52 is still in use in Afghanistan.


The AA-52 machine gun was conceived and developed following the French military's experiences in the First Indochina War during the early 1950s. At that time, the French army was equipped with an assortment of weapons from British and American sources, as well as some German weapons from the Second World War.

Effective supply of ammunition and replacement parts was an almost insoluble task and the army decided to adopt a standard machine gun. The result was the AA-52, conceived for ease of production. The construction is of simple welded stamped sheet steel.


The AA-52 is a peculiar weapon among modern machine guns because it uses lever-delayed blowback operation. When firing, the pressure pushing the case head rearward initiates an impulse on a cam that sends the bolt carrier rearward. After a certain distance, a link (in this case the firing pin) pulls the bolt head, hence extracting the spent case. Since there is no primary extraction, the chamber is fluted to allow powder gases to flow back, unsticking the case from the wall chamber like on H&K type roller-delayed blowback weapons.

The AA-52 can be used as a light machine gun with a bipod or as a heavy machine gun with a tripod. When used with a tripod for continuous fire, the gun is fitted with a heavier barrel. In the light machine gun configuration, the AA-52 is a relatively light weapon to carry. The AA-52 can be fired from the shoulder but this is slightly awkward because of the position of the handle, however the bipod can be used as a handguard when not in use. The barrel is changed by pressing a latch and rotating it a quarter of a turn. The APX(SOM) telescopic sight used on the MAS-49 and the FR-F1 sniper rifle can be mounted on the AA-52 as well as an infrared night sight.



The AA-52 originally used the standard 7.5×54mm French cartridge. The general adoption of the 7.62x51mm NATO cartridge reduced the opportunity for export sales, and the gun was adapted for this standard NATO calibre.


The MAC-58 was a version of the AA-52 chambered in .50 BMG. A few prototypes were tested and one retained for preserial production, but it never reached production due to the large quantity of US M2 Browning machine guns already in service with the French armed forces.

Mitrailleuse-IMG 1730.jpg


Machine gun p1040625.jpg

AA-52 machine gun on display.


  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 3.11 3.12 3.13 3.14 3.15 3.16 3.17 Jones, Richard D.; Ness, Leland S., eds (January 27, 2009). Jane's Infantry Weapons 2009/2010 (35th ed.). Coulsdon: Jane's Information Group. ISBN 978-0-7106-2869-5. 
  4. Martin, Karl (2002). Irish Army Vehicles, transport and armour since 1922. Karl Martin. ISBN 0-9543413-0-9.

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