Finland's Defence Ministry Buys Sako M23 Sniper Rifles and Designated Marksman Rifle
Finland's Defence Ministry Buys Sako M23 Sniper Rifles and Designated Marksman Rifle

Finland’s Defence Ministry Buys Sako M23 Sniper Rifles and Designated Marksman Rifle

Finland’s Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen authorized the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command for the procurement of new rifle systems manufactured by Sako Ltd. last month. The procurement contract for the rifle system includes the procurement of a semi-automatic sniper rifle for sniper use and a designated marksman rifle for use as an infantry section support weapon by designated marksmen. Semi-automatic Sniper Rifle 23 is equipped with an optical sight that together with precision ammunition enables snipers to achieve effects in different targets up to a distance of 800 meters. In addition, the contract includes accessories, spare parts, maintenance equipment, and training provided by the manufacturer. The new rifle system was planned as a complete replacement for the existing Dragunov sniper rifle.

The Sako M23 is a Finnish battle rifle designed by Sako in cooperation with the Finnish Defence Forces and manufactured by Sako. The Sako M23 is based on the American AR-10 and AR-15 design by Eugene Stoner. As displayed in the announcement of the adoption of the rifle system by the Finnish Defence Forces, at least one of the FDF variants of the rifle has a green coating, telescopic stock, M-LOK front handguard, a Steiner Optics telescopic sight, and a sound suppressor. The Swedish Armed Forces also participated in the development program for the M23. The Finnish Defence Forces have adopted the rifle in two configurations, as the 7.62 KIV 23 (Kivääri 2023, ‘rifle 2023’), designated marksman rifle variant and 7.62 TKIV 23 (Tarkkuuskivääri 2023, ‘sniper rifle 2023’) sniper rifle variant, which is to enter service in 2023. The M23 is based on the AR-10 and AR-15 designs by Eugene Stoner.

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Semi-automatic Sniper Rifle 23 is equipped with a high-quality optical sight that together with precision ammunition enables snipers to achieve effects in different targets up to a distance of 800 metres. Designated Marksman Rifle 23 is more simplified in its weapon-mounted equipment, and designed for use by jaeger and infantry sections designated marksmen. This weapon increases the sections range up to 600 metres. The rifle system has been developed together with Sako, and the weapons will be produced in Finland. Furthermore, the Minister of Defence has authorized the FDFLOGCOM to sign an implementation arrangement with Sweden that authorizes carrying out a joint procurement effort by Finland and Sweden.

The procurement of this rifle system is a significant step, which enables concrete and combined small arms procurement between Finland and Sweden also in the future. The goal of both countries is to achieve costs benefits, as well as to improve our security of supply and interoperability with each other. The first lot of deliveries will be received by the Finland Army by the end of 2022, and the rifle system training is due to begin in 2023. The total value of the procurement including VAT is €10 million. The contract includes an additional procurement option for Finland, the total value of which is €525 million excluding the VAT. Sweden’s additional procurement option is to be specified later.

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