New automatic rifles for Estonia's defense forces to arrive at end of May ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Lewis Machine and Tool Company automatic weapon.
Lewis Machine and Tool Company automatic weapon. Source: Center for Defense Investment

The first of 1,500 new automatic firearms purchased for the defense forces from the U.S. armaments company Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) will be delivered to Estonia at the end of May.

Ramil Lipp, head of armaments at the Estonian Center for Defense Investment (ECDI), told BNS that pursuant to an agreement with the weapons manufacturer, the first batch of 1,500 firearms for the defense forces will be delivered to Estonia around May 30.

The sixth and last batch will arrive in Estonia in late 2021. 

The speed of the deliveries depends on the production facility's capacity, Lipp said.

The first new LMT-manufactured firearms will be delivered to the all-professional Scouts Battalion. Later on the new weapons will replace the current main weapons of conscripts and professional personnel of the 1st and 2nd infantry brigades as well as Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteers.

The ECDI and LMT signed a framework agreement on the procurement of automatic firearms for the armed structures of Estonia on July 2, 2019. The contract enables Estonia to buy automatic firearms and auxiliary equipment for 75 million euros over a seven-year period. 

The size of the first purchase is 16,000 units of firearms with auxiliary equipment. The new automatic rifles can be adapted to the user's height and are suitable for right-handed and left-handed users alike. The weapons consist of modules and can be easily fitted with barrels of different length, auxiliary equipment, grenade launchers and stocks in accordance with combat needs.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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