Sako will provide new individual firearms to Finnish and Swedish Defence Forces

Last March 27, 2023, the Finnish and Swedish Defense Forces signed a framework agreement with Sako Ltd to purchase a joint range of individual firearms. The agreement was signed by Major General Jari Mikkonen, Director of the Finnish Defense Forces Logistics Command on behalf of the Finnish Minister of Defense, Brigadier Gen. Jonas Lotsne, Director of Land Systems at the Swedish Defense Materiel Administration (FMV) and, on behalf of Sako Ltd, by Raimo Karjalainen CEOfficer and Member of the Board, and Dr. Franco Gussalli Beretta, Chairman of the Board. The agreement will run for ten years, followed by three seven-year option periods. In the first phase, Finland will acquire assault rifles and individual protection weapons for field testing. The acquisition price will be about 0.7 million euros.

The 5.56 NATO assault rifle manufactured by Sako does not yet have an official designation in the Swedish and Finnish army. By logic, it should be called the AK6.

"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 Defence Forces' current assault rifles, self-loading sniper rifles and heavy sniper rifles. The Defence 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.

At the same time, and under the same agreement, Sweden made its first serial procurement of assault rifles and personal protection weapons. The first agreement will cover firearms worth about SEK 875 million (78 million euros).

“The signed agreement will have a significant impact on the growth of Sako's business and on the defence and security of supply of both countries. Sako Ltd's products ensure that both the Finnish and Swedish Defence Forces will have state-of-the-art products to ensure the security of their countries. The agreement will have a major impact in the long term, and will have a significant impact on employment at Sako. Already at this stage, the project involves several dozen professionals who have shown excellent commitment and dedication to the project. In addition to new jobs, the project will also have a significant impact on new investments and Sako's subcontractors. We are very grateful to Beretta Holding, the owner of the company, which has placed its trust in our company and created the conditions for Sako to participate in the realisation of this contract,” continues Raimo Karjalainen, CEO and Member of the Board of Sako Ltd.  

The semi-automatic precision rifle in 7.62x51 caliber will be the Swedish Army's new service firearm. 

Sako assault and sniper rifles for the Swedish and Finnish Armies

The Swedish administration's procurement of defense materiel at this stage includes 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm assault rifles, 7.62x51mm sniper rifles, and .338 Lapua Magnum (8.6 mm) rifles.

“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. The new firearms will replace the AK4 and AK5 assault rifles and the PSG90 sniper rifle currently in use. The Swedish forces will thus have a more modern, lighter range of weapons with improved ergonomics, with the assault rifle and sniper rifle both based on an AR10/AR15 platform. The long-range rifle, on the other hand, is a TRG M10, a multi-caliber sniper weapon that has been adopted by numerous armies and police forces around the World, including the NYPD in very recent times.

This framework agreement is part of a broader agreement between Sweden and Finland on the joint procurement of combat weapon systems and related technologies. The intention is to increase the security of supply for both countries and improve interoperability by using the same types of weapons and ammunition.

The Sako TRG M10 rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum caliber adopted jointly by the Swedish and Finnish armies. 

“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 precision rifle is scheduled to be deployed in 2024. On the other hand, the new 5.56x45 assault rifle will be introduced in 2025, followed later by other types of weapons. The roll-out will be in stages as new weapons are delivered. This also includes the training of instructors, technical staff and other Defense Forces personnel, as well as the production of training materials. Before the start of deliveries, the following will be done for each type of weapon: large-scale tests where quality, handling, and ergonomics will be tested under varying conditions. Testing will be carried out by both FMV test personnel and troops.

The new Sako assault rifle in 5.56 NATO will replace the old AK5 used by the Swedish army.

Beyond the economic value of the contract, which is certainly not insignificant, there is an important technological claim on the part of the Finnish manufacturer, whose name has hitherto been very much associated – at least among the general public – with bolt-action rifles rather than with automatic or semi-automatic weapons. 

This supply undoubtedly also represents an important step in the integration within the Beretta Holding Company of weapon systems and ammunition. We await further developments of which, as always, we will provide you all details. 

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