In 2021, new batch of 18,340 R20 Rahe assault rifles will be delivered to the Estonian Defence Forces. The new assault rifles will aim to replace the current Galil and AK-4 rifles by 2022. The value of this contract is around €75 million. The R20 Rahe entered in service with Estonian armed Forces in 2020, a total of 6,050 assault rifles in 5.56 mm and 500 rifles in 7.62mm caliber have been already handed over to the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF). The initial deliveries of rifles is projected to be completed by 2021 with options for future modernization over the next 20 years.
In May of 2019, the Estonian Defence Forces selected the MARS-L, under the designation R-20 Rahe which means ‘hail’ in Estonian. The assault rifles made by LMT Defense (formerly known as Lewis Machine & Tool) to specification for the Estonian Defense Forces. The LMT R-20 Rahe automatic rifle is now the default Estonian Defence Forces weapon. Stocks started to arrive in Estonia in early summer after a lengthy procurement process, and were introduced first to regular troops during the summer. The weapons will be used by conscripts and members of the Estonian Defense Forces.
The new assault rifles can be adapted to the user’s height and are suitable for right-handed and left-handed users alike. The weapons consist of modules and can be easily fitted with barrels of different length, auxiliary equipment, grenade launchers and stocks in accordance with combat needs. These weapons utilize the LMT Defense monolithic upper on the MARS rifle system. The MARS was developed in 2014 and was initially delivered under contract to New Zealand Defence Force.
LMT Defense (formerly known as Lewis Machine & Tool) is a manufacturer of gas piston AR 15 type, .308 RIFLE, M203 GRENADE LAUNCHERS, SUPPRESSORS and firearms accessories used throughout the United States and in over 45 countries around the world. The company was founded in 1980 in Milan, Illinois with the mission of designing and producing the highest quality products for the military and government agencies. LMT Defense is known for its Monolithic Rail Platform and provides customers with the highest standards in engineering and quality assurance across its product lines.