NATO member and ally the Republic of Estonia has released a tender with up to €75 million (roughly $86 million USD) for nearly 20,000 new rifles in both the 5.56mm and 7.62mm calibers, according to reports from IHS Janes’ and other outlets. The new contract is intended to supply both brigades of the Estonian Land Forces with new weapons, replacing their aging Ak4 (license-built Swedish G3s) and Galil rifles.
The rifle tender is scheduled to be filled between 2018 and 2021, with additional orders extending out until 2024. According to the Estonian Public Broadcasting website, the tender is one of the largest Estonian military contracts of the past decade, along with an order for advanced Korean K9 Thunder autoloading self propelled howitzers, and another for general ammunition supply.
Estonia is a Baltic nation with population density and land area roughly equivalent to the US state of West Virginia, making it one of the smallest NATO member states. Still, the country’s armed forces number some 6,400 active duty military personnel, as well as an additional 15,800 Defence League personnel, roughly equivalent to the National Guard in the US. Like many small nations, the Estonian government also maintains a sizeable reserve force drawn from the general population, numbering above 270,000 persons.
Any companies interested in bidding on the contract have until August 8th to submit their bids.