Despite an appearance akin to the German war-time MG42 general purpose machine gun, the CETME Ameli light-support machine gun was a decidedly Spanish end-product. After a design period spanning from 1974 to 1981, the weapon was formally issued to Spanish troops in 1982 and continues service (as well as production) even today.
The barrel was housed in a casing that was vented with various oblong and circular ports and could be changed by accessing a latch that also doubled as the carrying handle. A conical flash-suppressor was fitted to the muzzle and was differentiated horizontal vent slots along the top. The weapon utilized a delayed blowback roller-locking system, the same as found on the CETME assault rifle while sights were fitted with tritium dots for accurate low-light work. The trigger was set within an oblong trigger ring, this integrated as part of the angled pistol grip and the ergonomic buttstock was solid and served to position the weapon well against the shoulder. Standard optical and electro-optical sights could be fitted to the top of the receiver as required. Weight was listed at a manageable 6.71 kilograms with an overall length of 38 inches.
Additional accessories could include a collapsible bipod (complete with "feet" spikes) for the light support role, a lightweight tripod (a tripod mount was issued as a standard accessory to the base machine gun kit) for heavy sustained fire and a sling could be used for improved individual portability - this accessory utilizing the integrated ring loops - one found to the left side of the barrel forward and the other held to the top rear of the gun where the stock met the receiver.
The Ameli was chambered to fire the 5.56x45mm rimless round and utilized either a 100- or 200-round metal-link belt contained in a sealed ammunition box. Ammunition was fed from the left side of the receiver with the spent shell casings ejected along the right side. Rate-of-fire topped between 800 and 1,200 rounds per minute with a muzzle velocity of 2,871 feet per second. Effective range is listed at between 300 and 1,000 meters with a maximum range of 1,650 meters. The charging handle was set along the right side of the body as well and was of a "T-bar" style design.
The Ameli was further evolved into the "Ameli 5.56-L" variant. This production model sought to lighten the operational weight of the original Ameli light-support machine gun by introducing synthetic materials into her construction. The Ameli 5.56-L also made use of an M-16 rifle-type flash suppressor over the original's conical one and also featured a folding front sight. The revised weapon weighed in at 5.2 kilograms over the 6.71 kilograms of the original.
Production of the CETME Ameli family line was originally handled by Empresa Nacional Santa Barbara of Madrid, Spain though today the machine gun falls under the General Dynamics Santa Barbara Systemas brand. The weapon's formal designation is "Ametralladora CETME Modelo Ameli".
Mexico is the only other notable operator of the CETME Ameli.