Finnish army to get new Sako sniper and precision rifles and intensify cooperation with Sweden


According to a press release from the Finnish Ministry of Defense, Finnish Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen has authorized the Armed Forces to enter into a procurement contract with Sako Ltd for the procurement of new rifles. The procurement contract covers the procurement of a sniper rifle intended for the use of snipers, and a rifle intended for the use of infantry group support snipers. In addition, the agreement covers equipment, spare parts, maintenance tools and training provided by the manufacturer.
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Based on the AR10/15 models of a semi-automatic rifle in 7.62 NATO caliber, Rifle System M23 features additional benefits compared to the currently fielded one (Picture source: Twitter account of Finnish MoD)


The procurement was preceded by Sako Ltd's and the Armed Forces' joint development work on a rifle system in the years 2020–2021. The first weapons will be delivered to the army before the end of 2022, and the intention is that training in the rifle system will begin in 2023.

Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen has also authorized the Armed Forces to sign an enforcement document with Sweden that enables joint procurement for Finland and Sweden. The Enforcement Document, signed on 21 December 2021, is a continuation of the cooperation agreed earlier in September, where Finland and Sweden signed a regulatory document on joint procurement of firearms systems and related technology. On 21 December, a regulatory document was also signed which in the future will make it possible to jointly procure ammunition. The total value of the procurement contract with VAT is approximately 10 million euros. The contract contains a provision for additional procurement for Finland, whose total value without VAT is a maximum of EUR 525 million. Sweden's provision for additional procurement will be specified later.

The new weapons are also related to the ongoing build-up of the infantry's night combat capability.

Semi-automatic Sniper Rifle 23 is equipped with a high-quality optical sight, which together with a high-performance sniper cartridge makes it possible for the sniper to fight various objects at a distance of up to 800 meters.

Marksman Rifle 23 is more simplified in its weapon-mounted equipment and is designed for use by Jaeger (Hunter) and infantry sections. This weapon increases the section's combat range up to 600 meters.

Based on the AR10/15 models of a semi-automatic rifle in 7.62 NATO caliber, Rifle System M23 features additional benefits compared to the currently fielded one, such as integrated weapon-mounting available for versatile accessories, including tactical night sights, and suppressors, increased accuracy, as well as a design that is both lightweight and ergonomic.

“This project builds a completely new capability, and replaces most of the old 7.62 Sniper Rifle 85s currently in service, as well as completely replaces the 7.62mm Sniper Rifle Dragunov,” sums up the Inspector of the Infantry, Colonel Rainer Peltoniemi. “The rifle system has been developed together with Sako, and the weapons will be produced in Finland. This project improves our security of supply and promotes retaining skills and technology in Finland, as well as the ability to manufacture and repair weapon systems here”.


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The new weapons are also related to the ongoing build-up of the infantry's night combat capability. (Picture source: Finnish MoD)


 

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