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Finland to buy new sniper rifles

4th January 2022 - 13:00 GMT | by The Shephard News Team

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The 7.62mm Dragunov will be one of the weapons phased out by the introduction of new sniper rifles for the Finnish Army. (Photo: Finnish Defence Forces)

New rifles for Finland will replace 7.62mm Tkiv and Dragunov weapons.

Finnish Defence Forces Logistics Command has received the green light from defence minister Antti Kaikkonen to acquire new rifles.

‘The new rifle system to be procured for the infantry increases the usability of snipers as well as the precision and range of infantry sections,’ Logistics Command stated on its website.

Finnish company Sako will provide the semi-automatic Sniper Rifle 23 and the Designated Marksman Rifle 23 for as a section support weapon. The former has a range of 800m and the latter 600m, Logistics Command noted.

Both weapons are based on the AR-10/AR-15 semi-automatic rifle in 7.62mm calibre.

‘The rifle procurement is included in the Land Defence Development Programme, and it is part of the capability development of the Army’s operational forces and local units,’ said Col Rainer Peltoniemi, Inspector of Infantry in the Finnish Defence Forces.

He added: ‘This project builds a completely new capability, and replaces most of the old 7.62 Sniper Rifle [Tkiv] 85s currently in service.’

The new rifles will also replace the 7.62mm Dragunov, Peltoniemi said.

The value of the deal was not disclosed. The first batch of new rifles will arrive with the Finnish Army by the end of 2022, and rifle system training is due to begin in 2023.

Sako will also provide accessories, spare parts, maintenance equipment and training.

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