LWI - Land Warfare

Estonia contracts LMT Defense for new rifles

4th July 2019 - 13:30 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI) has signed a contract with LMT Defense for the supply of a new customised standard rifle for the Estonian defence forces.

The contract was signed by Priit Soosar, head of the procurement department at the ECDI, and Karl Lewis, founder and CEO of the weapons company, while the signing was also attended by Estonia’s ambassador to the US, Jonatan Vseviov.

The rifle selected is the LMT MARS family of rifles, including the AR 15 type and AR 10 type rifles in addition to 40mm Grenade Launchers.

Estonia will initially be acquiring 16,000 customised automatic firearms as well as accessories, and the first weapons will arrive in Estonia at the beginning of 2020 to be used by the active service scouts battalion. 

After that, conscripts and reservists of the 1st and 2nd infantry brigades and members of the voluntary defence league will also receive the weapons. 

Within the framework of the procurement, Estonia’s police and border guard and its ministry of justice will also be receiving the new rifles.

‘For our troops, as well as to our reservists, the rifle is the most important weapon, and with the contract signed today the defence forces will receive a new generation of rifles, which are accurate, ergonomic, reliable and modern,' Kusti Salm, director of the ministry’s defence investments planning department, and the soon-to-be director of the ECDI, said. 

According to Salm, the US weapons manufacturer has invested heavily in the product development over the past few years and its firearms are among the most modern in the world.

The ECDI falls under the remit of the MoD, and it announced its intention to buy new rifles in June 2017. 

Requirements for the firearms were prepared by the Estonian defence forces, and 14 bidders participated in the procurement, with LMT Defense announced as the winner of the competition on 3 December 2018.

Small firearms manufactured by the LMT are used by several US military and paramilitary departments, as well as by the UK and New Zealand, plus the armed forces of several NATO member states.

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