The Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command has signed a contract for the procurement of the new M23 rifle system with firearm and ammunition manufacturer Sako.

The contract was signed on 12 January at the Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command headquarters in Tampere, Finland.

The procurement follows the collaboration of the two parties on the development of the rifle system in 2020-2021, in line with the letter of intent (LoI) signed between the Finnish Defence Forces and Sako.

This procurement contract is valued at approximately €10m, including value added tax.

The contract includes an option for potential procurements in the future.

Sako general manager Raimo Karjalainen said: “Sako’s roots are deeply set in the Finnish Defence Industry.

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“Last year, Sako celebrated its hundredth anniversary, and we have collaborated closely with the Finnish Defence Forces for decades.

“We value greatly the trust that the Defence 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 new M23 rifle system consists of two separate rifle configurations.

One of these configurations is the ‘sniper rifle 23’, and the other is the ‘designated marksman rifle 23’ which serves as an infantry section support weapon to be used by designated marksmen.

Spare parts and maintenance equipment, as well as user and maintenance training by Sako, are also included in the contract.

Sako has designed the rifles based on the AR10 construction. These rifles are semi-automatic and have a calibre of 7.62 NATO.

Sako Defence and Law Enforcement Business Unit director Arto Kaikkola said: “The contract represents an initiative of the utmost commercial and strategic significance for Sako’s defence and law enforcement business.

“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.”

In December 2021, Sweden announced that it would be joining the Finnish-led common armoured vehicle system programme.