Finland Gives Up New Rifle Program, Will Modernize Rk. 62 to Serve Until 2035

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

The Finnish Commander of the Army has announced that the Nordic country will not be purchasing 5.56mm replacements for their existing 7.62x39mm caliber Rk. 62 rifles, but instead will seek to upgrade the venerable Kalashnikov-based Valmet. Altair.com reports (machine translation below):

Finland gives up the purchase of a new automatic rifle cal. 5.56 mm. Old RK 62 for the cartridge 7.62 mm x 39 will be upgraded and will be used until 2035.

Source: www.altair.com.pl
The prototype of the modernized 7.62-mm automatic rifle RK 62M presented at the beginning of August. Until this standard is to be adapted most of the models used by the Finnish army / Photo: MO Finland

Commander of the Finnish Army, Lieutenant General Seppo Toivonen said that Finland plans to resign from purchasing until the end of the decade a new, individual arms. Until now, the search for a successor was assumed previously used design, powered cartridge 7.62 mm x 39, through new models of firing ammunition 5.56 mm x 45 NATO standard in countries belonging to NATO and the widespread of the world ( Finnish ARX 160? , 2014 -11-29). Such rifles, in a small number will get only special forces soldiers for which you purchased the Belgian FN SCAR-L ( Weapons for Finnish commandos , 2014-03-13).

The army decided that our old rifle, it is still an effective weapon that meets the requirements of the battlefield, so it will be used for a long time in the future , said gen. Toivonen. Thus confirmed previous reports that the Ministry of Defense in April that is widely used in Finnish armed forces RK 62 automatic rifles remain in service even until 2035.

The army will have to cope with financial constraints and their implications for defense. Over the next few years we will have analyzed how many of the older kinds of weapons will be able to continue to be used and then selected to be the priorities of modernization , said the commander of land forces.

Nevertheless, introduced in 1965. RK 62 automatic rifle with milled castle chamber (and its variants: RK 62 TP with a folding stock; RK 62 VV with a lateral assembly to night vision devices, RK 62 TP VV assembly and folding stock), developed on the basis of the Soviet AK (some sources state that as a reference constructions were used models of contemporary Polish PMK, produced under license in Radom), will be slightly modified. Changes may also include RK 62-76 / TP with the pumped chamber of the castle, produced in 1977-1982.

By the end of the year created 200 prototypes of modernized rifles, which are to receive the name of the RK 62M. Weapons testing, made by the first soldiers from the new collection, to be launched in 2016.

The weapons are equipped with a stock of adjustable length, and also obtain a new, more convenient sling in place of previously used simple strip of leather. In addition, RK 62M will be provided with a supplementary universal mounting rail STANAG 4694 standard (compatible with older STANAG 2324, the US MIL-STD-1913, popularly referred to as Picatinny ) located above the chamber castle.Before bed, on the basis of midges or directly on the barrel, it is to be located optional aluminum mounting with three short pieces of rail, located throughout the sides and bottom. The top rail is used for mounting the optical and optoelectronic sights and thermal imaging equipment and nokto-, side – for mounting flashlights, laser indicators and backlights purpose.

Finnish special forces recently adopted the FN SCAR-L, and it was expected that the Finnish Army would follow suit. The Rk. 62 was adopted by the Finnish Army in 1962 and production began in 1965, replacing both the SVT-40 semi-automatic and aging Mosin-Nagant bolt-action rifles. Production ceased in 1998.

TFBTV included the Rk. 76, a stamped-receiver variant of the Rk. 62, in its list of five great overlooked rifles. As long as the rifles themselves remain serviceable, it’s likely that the Rk. 62 will only be usurped if another technological shift occurs, as the design is extremely sound.

H/T Broń i Amunicja

Nathaniel F
Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.

More by Nathaniel F

Comments
Join the conversation
2 of 165 comments
  • Fegelein Fegelein on Aug 11, 2015

    Now if only Lilwolfy would come by to tell us how the AK is the
    worst thing ever and how the Finns made a decision dumber than laying
    down in freeway traffic...

  • Finnish end user Finnish end user on Aug 25, 2015

    1. FDF is broke and could not buy new rifles even if they wanted to.
    2. The regular Rk62 and Rg95 suck big time if you are using modern armour so the telescoping butt is a necessity.
    3. Swedes, Norwegians and everybody else is using 5.56 in the woods without problems. In the woods the contact distances are 20-100m so even M4 carbines would be within their lethal range. Trying to get supplies of 7.62X39 in war time from Nato friends would be impossible. So in time of war we would need to introduce both new weapons and ammunition to the supply lines cut of by the Red Bear (nobody else will ever attack us anyway).

    So yes, the stock modification is a good one and needed. No, sticking with 7.62X39 is a bad idea. Heavy ammo, rainbow trajectory, less than stellar penetration against any hard cover and no supply from friendly forces.
    The optic base costs probably more than the rifle it is fitted to. Besides it is heavy and unergonomic. -> If optics are needed then Rk62 or Rk95 are not the best platforms at all.

    As long as FDF sticks to 7.62X39 they must continue to use Valmets and Sakos. When the caliber is changed to something else (5.56, 7.62 Nato, 5.8mm or 4.7mm caseless) then the rifles will be changed unless they have already been replaced by AK-74Ms used by our friendly neighbours.

Next