Swedish Defense Materiel Agency Buys Finnish Assault and Sniper Rifles from Sako
Swedish Defense Materiel Agency Buys Finnish Assault and Sniper Rifles from Sako

Swedish Defense Materiel Agency Buys Finnish Assault and Sniper Rifles from Sako

Swedish Defense Materiel Agency (Forsvarets materielverk, FMV) has signed a framework agreement with the Finnish supplier Sako for firearms for the Armed Forces. The agreement is signed jointly with Finland and includes assault rifles in caliber 5.56×45, assault rifles in caliber 7.62×51, sniper rifles in caliber 7.62×51 and sniper rifles in caliber 8.6 Lapua Magnum. The new firearms will replace today’s Automatkarbin 4, AK4, Automatkarbin 5, AK5, and Sniper rifle 90, Psg 90. There has long been a need for the Swedish Armed Forces to modernize their firearms. Current AK4 systems have been in use since the 1960s and the AK5 was developed in the early 1980s and has been upgraded in various rounds since then. With the new systems, the Armed Forces get a family of more modern and lighter weapons with better ergonomics and better adjustment possibilities according to body size.

Prickskyttegevar sniper rifle
Prickskyttegevar sniper rifle. (Photo by Sako)

“The fact that Sweden and Finland sign an agreement with the same supplier for the same weapon system increases the possibilities for cooperation regarding use, training, development and ammunition procurement. The choice of a Finnish supplier provides security when it comes to the long-term supply of firearms. Today’s agreement affects pretty much all personnel in the Armed Forces and the Home Guard, who will eventually receive new, more modern weapons. We are now taking a big step forward in the work of replacing pretty much all firearms in the Armed Forces, and that is very gratifying,” says Jonas Lotsne, head of army equipment at FMV.

Automatkarbin Lang-pipa long barrel assault rifle. (Photo by Sako)

The framework agreement, which runs over ten years, is part of a joint Swedish-Finnish procurement of small arms systems with associated technology. The intention is to create security of supply for both Finland and Sweden and to improve interoperability by having the countries use the same types of weapons with the same types of ammunition. A first call-off contract includes weapons to a value of approximately SEK 875 million. Introduction in the Swedish Armed Forces is estimated for 2024 for the sniper system. The introduction of the new automatic carbine in caliber 5.56 will begin in 2025. After that, other weapon types will follow. The introduction will take place gradually as the new weapons are delivered. The introduction includes training of instructors, technical staff and other personnel in the Armed Forces, as well as training materials and maintenance. The tests are carried out both by qualified test personnel at FMV and through team trials.

Automatkarbin Kort-pipa short barrel assault rifle. (Photo by Sako)

SAKO, Limited (Finnish: Suojeluskuntain Ase- ja Konepaja Oy, lit “Civil Guard Gun and Machining Works Ltd”) is a Finnish firearm and ammunition manufacturer located in Riihimäki, Tavastia Proper in southern Finland. In 1919, two years after Finland declared independence from the Russian Empire, the Suojeluskuntain Yliesikunnan Asepaja (Civil Guard Supreme Staff Gun Works) opened in a former Helsinki brewery to repair private arms and recondition Russian military rifles for Finnish service. The rifle repair shop became financially independent of the civil guard in 1921. Sako started exporting pistol cartridges to Sweden in the 1930s and continued manufacturing submachine gun cartridges through World War II. Another Finnish firearms manufacturer Tikkakoski, which owned the Tikka brand, was merged into SAKO in 1983. It also has owned the Tikka brand of bolt-action rifles since 1983, and is now owned by the Italian firearm holding company Beretta Holding.