MILMAG - The Military Magazine

Estonia seek for rifles

On 4 July Estonian Centre for Defence Investment has announced a tender for delivery new 5.56mm assault rifles and 7.62mm battle rifles and additional accessories. The contract worth approximately EUR75 million (USD85 million) will replace existing standard issue firearms in Estonian Defence Forces 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades, also Estonian Police, Border Guard and Ministry of Justice. This is one of a biggest tenders in Estonia in the last decade.

Estonia Defence Forces standard issue rifle is 5.56mm IMI Galil SAR and AR rifles in 1st Infantry Brigade and 7.62mm FFV-Carl Gusfaf AK4 in 2nd Infantry Brigade. Some of Galil rifles were modernized in 2008 / Photo: Estonia Ministry of Defense

In 2018-2021 Estonia is planned to buy 11,000 rifles chambered in 5.56x45 mm and 7.62x51 mm, with an option to purchase 18,000 until 2024. The approximate quantities are: 1,300 in 2018, 400 in 2019, 6,300 in 2020 and 3,200 in 2021. The current Estonian standard issue rifle is Israeli 5.56mm IWI Galil AR/SAR assault rifle purchased in 1995 and 7.62mm FFV-Carl Gusfaf AK4 battle rifle donated by Sweden in early 2000s.

The average size of the regular Estonian Defence Forces (Eesti Kaitsev├Ągi) in peacetime is 6,400 soldiers, of whom about half are conscripts. High readiness reserve is 21,000 persons. Voluntary Defence League has 15,800 members. The planned size of the wartime structure is 60,000 personnel.

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