Estonia to acquire new weapons for EDF, Defense League

The R20 Rahe used by the Estonian Defense Forces (photo is illustrative).
The R20 Rahe used by the Estonian Defense Forces (photo is illustrative). Source: Oliver Turp

The Estonian Center for Defense Investment (RKIK) is set to procure new weapons for the Estonian Defense Forces (EDF) and the Defense League volunteer corps, including small arms, automatic weapons, sniper rifles and machine guns.

"We have worked closely with the defense forces in the procurement of small arms and identified the best possible solution between the needs of the defense forces and the products offered on the market. The aim is to achieve, as a result of the procurement, the introduction of armaments with the best price-quality ratio in accordance with the requirements of the defense forces and to ensure a further life cycle in order to maintain efficiency," Ramil Lipp, head of weaponry at the RKIK, said in a press release.

The procurement of machine guns is currently underway, according to which approximately 500 machine guns will be procured for the EDF and the Defense League. The MG-3 machine guns previously in service will be partially replaced in the framework of the tender.

The new machine guns are lighter and more ergonomic than before, and they can also be fitted with various accessories and sights. The procurement will result in a seven-year framework contract totaling €24 million. The expected delivery time is in 2023.

In addition, the procurement of sniper rifles will be announced in the near future, with the aim of fully switching to the 8.6 mm caliber, which will ensure a wider range. The total volume of the seven-year framework agreement is €12 million.

"It is not just a matter of replacing old weapons with new ones, but the introduction of modern targeting equipment will lead to a significant increase in efficiency. Soldiers can shoot faster and more accurately with new weapons, be it day or night," Maj. Risto Partel, chief weapons officer of the EDF, said.

The Defense League's small arms equipment will be supplemented with the Austrian-made Glock-17 pistols and R20 automatic weapons, which will replace the AK-4 rifles used in territorial defense units. In addition to small arms and automatic weapons, it is also planned to increase the volunteer corps' anti-tank capabilities. The expected delivery time is in 2023.

According to RKIK, the new automatic weapons are more efficient, lighter, easier for the user to handle and more ergonomic. For example, each weapon comes standard with a red dot sight and the ability to adjust the length of the stock, in addition, the user can install accessories such as a 40 millimeter under-barrel grenade launcher, a laser sight, night light, and silencer. The first small arms will be delivered to the Defense League in the first half of 2022.


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Editor: Kristjan Kallaste

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