Finland Replaces Soviet-Era Snipers with Sako M23 Rifles
The Finnish Defence Forces have signed a contract for procuring two configurations of the Sako M23 rifle system in a bid to increase the precision and range of its infantry.
The new rifle will replace its Soviet-designed Dragunov and Tkiv 85 sniper rifles.
Finland’s rifle system is based on the American AR-10 and AR-15 models of a semi-automatic rifle designed by Eugene Stoner. However, the M23 features additional benefits compared to the American rifle like improved accuracy, integrated weapon-mounting, tactical night sights, suppressors, and lightweight design.
The Defence Post reported "the Finish Defence Forces will receive the rifle in two configurations: a Rifle variant and a designated Marksman Rifle variant, which will enter into service from 2023".
"The semi-automatic Sniper Rifle 23 is equipped with a high-quality optical sight and precision ammunition, which is suitable for distant targets. It enables the snipers to have precision against targets at a distance of up to 800 meters (2,625 feet)".
"The designated Marksman Rifle 23 is more simplified weapon equipment, which is designed for use by jaeger and infantry
sections. The rifle can aim at targets up to a range of 600 meters (1,970 feet)".
“The procurement contract for the rifle system includes the procurement of a semi-automatic sniper rifle for sniper use and a designated marksman rifle for use as an infantry section support weapon by designated marksmen,” a statement of the Finnish Defence Forces said.
The procurement is estimated to cost over 10 million euros ($15.85 million AUD) and includes an option of additional procurement at a cost of over €525 million ($831.97 million AUD)
The rifle system was developed by the Finnish Defence Forces along with Sako Ltd, which will produce the rifles in Finland.
“This project improves our security of supply and promotes retaining skills and technology in Finland, as well as the ability to manufacture and repair weapon systems here,” the statement quoted Colonel Rainer Peltoniemi as saying.