SIG Sauer issues no further challenge on court tender decision

Sig Sauer automatic weaponry on display in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Sig Sauer automatic weaponry on display in Las Vegas, Nevada. Source: AP/SCANPIX

Arms manufacturer SIG Sauer has not challenged a decision by the Tallinn Administrative Court which overruled the company's complaint on firearms procurement for the Estonian military, the Estonian Center for Defense Investment told BNS on Wednesday.

The Tallinn Administrative Court rejected SIG Sauer's complaint, an application for the annulment of a competitor offer in the procurement earlier in the month; the deadline for appeal was May 13.

Three offers from arms manufacturers, including SIG Sauer, were made after the defense investment center put the procurement out to tender. US manufacturer Lewis Machine & Tool (LMT) won the tender; Heckler & Koch was the third.

SIG Sauer contested the decision with a review committee, but this committee ruled against it. That decision entered into force on Jan. 17 this year.

A first court challenge by SIG Sauer was rejected on the grounds that the decisions was in force and binding. SIG Sauer then went to the administrative court, saying the LMT the tender should be annulled on the grounds that the verification took place in breach of the terms and conditions of the procurement documents.

The principle issue revolved around a "drop test", a rough handling inspection on any potential damage ensuing to the weapons, 5.56mm and 7.62mm automatic firearms, the LMT stocks and red dot sights reportedly broke under such conditions, according to daily Postimees. However, doubts arose over the conduct of the drop test, namely that it was not clear whether a butt and a red dot sight were even attached to the weapon during the test, and what damage or impairment these components sustained during the testing of the weapon.

The court found that the procurement documents prescribed an inspection utilizing solely visual observation and a few simpler procedures, which did not check the physical resilience of the firearm's butt, including various measuring procedures, adjustment and shooting tests. Moreover, a rough handling test was not even mandatory, regarding the red dot sight, the court found.

The court also found that any requirements for a respective part of the weapon being put to the test were clearly stated in the procurement document, and since tests on the butt and red dot sights were not so mandated, any damage was of no legal significance.

Thus, regardless of any damage which might have been incurred in the drop test, the LMT contract remained valid, the court found.

LMT's original offer in December 2018 came in at €22.7 million, compared with €27.6 from Sig Sauer and H&K's €45.5 million).

The tender was for approximately 11,000 automatic firearms for the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF), over the period 2019-2021, with an option for additional purchases of up to 18,000 automatic rifles down to 2024, it is reported.

Formed in 1976 as a partnership of SIG (Schweizerische Inustrie Gesellschaft) of Switzerland and JP Sauer & Sohn (Germany), SIG Sauer Gmbh sold its firearms subsidiary to L&O Holdings of Germany in 2000, when it was renamed Swiss Arms (a SIG Sauer Gmbh still remains).

A separate company was founded in the US in 1985 and renamed SIG Sauer Inc. in 2007. The Swiss and US SIG Sauer companies have been organizationally separate since 2000.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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