Sweden and Finland have signed a framework agreement for the joint procurement of a range of assault rifles and firearms from Finnish weapon maker Sako.
The agreement was signed on March 27 and will enable Finland and Sweden to procure new firearms in a cost-effective manner. It will initially run for 10 years, followed by three seven-year option periods until December 2053.
In the first phase, Finland will acquire assault rifles and personal protective weapons for field tests. The price of the acquisition, including VAT, will be approximately 0.7 million euros.
At the same occasion, Sweden made its first serial procurement of assault rifles and personal protective weapons through the framework agreement. The number of weapons being purchased by Sweden is considerable. The first agreement will cover firearms worth approximately SEK 875 million (78 million euros).
The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration ‘s procurement at this stage covers 5.56×45 and 7.62×51 caliber assault rifles, 7.62×51 caliber sniper rifles and the .338 Lapua Magnum (8.6mm).
The new weapons to be purchased will replace the AK4 and AK5 assault rifles and the Psg90 sniper rifle currently in use.
The Swedish defense forces have been in need of modernizing their weapons for some time. The current AK4 systems have been in use since the 1960s and the AK5 was developed in the early 1980s and has been updated several times since its introduction.
“The agreement signed today will affect virtually all Swedish Defence Forces personnel, who will in the long term have access to new modern weapons. We are now taking a big step towards replacing virtually all the weapons in our armed forces and that is very gratifying,” says Jonas Lotsne, director of Land Systems at the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration FMV.
“We very much appreciate the agreement and thank the Swedish and Finnish Defence Forces for the good cooperation with Sako Ltd. and the trust they have placed in us. With this agreement, Sako Ltd. will return to being a manufacturer of semi-automatic and automatic weapons,” says Raimo Karjalainen, CEO and Member of the Board of Sako Ltd.
“The framework agreement between the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration and Sako Ltd for the procurement of firearms is a continuation of decades of cooperation between the Defence Forces and Sako Ltd. The future range of firearms is being prepared to gradually replace the defense forces’ current assault rifles, self-loading sniper rifles and heavy sniper rifles. The defense forces are preparing to phase out the current weapon systems in stages, which will ensure a controlled and cost-effective phase-out of the current system,” says Major General Jari Mikkonen, Director of the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command.
“The fact that Sweden and Finland will acquire a single weapon system from the same manufacturer will increase the possibilities for cooperation in terms of weapon use, training, development and ammunition procurement. Choosing a Finnish arms manufacturer brings security to long-term arms procurement,” continues Jonas Lotsne.
The deployment of the sniper rifle system is planned for 2024. The new 5.56-calibre assault rifle will be introduced in 2025, followed by other types of weapons. According to Sako, the roll-out will be in stages as the new weapons are delivered. The deployment includes the training of trainers, technical staff and other personnel of the Defence Forces, and the production of training materials.