The Finnish Defense Forces Logistics Command and Sako Ltd have signed a contract for the procurement of the new Rifle System M23. The procurement was preceded by collaboration on the development of the rifle system between Sako and the Finnish Defense Forces in 2020-2021 in accordance with the letter of intent between the two.
The total value of the procurement is approximately €10 million. The contract also includes an additional procurement option for possible subsequent procurements.
The new Rifle System M23 includes two separate rifle configurations: the Sniper Rifle 23 for sniper use and the Designated Marksman Rifle 23 for use as an infantry section support weapon by designated marksmen. The contract also includes accessories, spare parts, maintenance equipment, and user and maintenance training provided by Sako. The rifles, designed by Sako, are based on the widely used AR10 construction. They are semi-automatic and their caliber is 7.62 NATO.
“During the development of the rifle system, we have conducted multiple extensive tests in different conditions together with the Finnish Defence Forces. We believe that the Rifle System M23 provides a solution that caters extremely well for the operational needs of the Finnish Defence Forces,” said Arto Kaikkola, Business Unit Director at Sako’s Defense and Law Enforcement Business Unit. “The contract […] is the first supply contract in relation to Sako’s new product family of self-loading rifles, and the first rifles will be delivered to the Finnish Defense Forces later this year. As a whole, this new product family is a momentous business opportunity for Sako in Finland and the Nordic countries as well as globally. We are very happy that this contract also enables the implementation of joint rifle procurements between Finland and Sweden.”
One of the guiding principles in the development of the Rifle System M23 was the ability to produce the weapons in Finland. The rifles will be manufactured in Sako’s factory in Riihimäki. The project therefore improves Finland’s security of supply and promotes retaining skills and technology as well as the ability to manufacture and repair weapon systems in Finland.
“In recent years, we have made significant investments in our production and product development, and we will continue investing in the rifle and cartridge business in the coming years as well,” said Sako’s General Manager, Raimo Karjalainen. “We are committed to the continuous development of our expertise in Finland. The procurement contract deepens the collaboration between Sako and the Finnish Defense Forces, creates new jobs in Finland, and also improves Finland’s security of supply.”
“Sako Ltd’s roots are deeply set in the Finnish Defense Industry,” Karjalainen continued. “Last year Sako celebrated its hundredth anniversary, and we have collaborated closely with the Finnish Defense Forces for decades. We value greatly the trust that the Defense Forces has shown us, and this procurement contract deepens our collaboration, creates new jobs in Finland, and also improves Finland’s security of supply.”
The signing of the procurement contract took place at the Finnish Defense Forces Logistics Command Headquarters in Tampere.