At the end of a long press release about the news that Sweden is buying 200 tracked vehicles (BAE Systems/Hagglunds 410) someone hid this little gem about Sweden and Finland collaborating on a service rifle (machine-translated and edited):
In September (2021), a procurement will start that affects many people in the Swedish Armed Forces. It will then be determined which firearm will replace the AK5. The new firearm will be purchased together with Finland – which means that the countries will use the same automatic carbine in the future.
That’s quite interesting news for the readers of The Firearm Blog and it raises a lot of questions. Today Sweden uses the Ak5 (Modified FN FNC in 5.56x56mm NATO) and Finland uses a variety of RK 62 and RK 95 (7.62x39mm) rifles. I’m not saying these choices were wrong at the time, but you could say that they look quite odd today and they are definitely not mainstream. The question is what’s next and which caliber(s) is or are going to be used?
Below: The Swedish Ak5 (Automatkarbin 5) introduced in 1986 is reaching retirement. The French FAMAS met the same destiny and is now being replaced by the HK416.
Will Finland abandon the 7.62×39 or will Sweden abandon the 5.56×45? Or will both countries adopt a new caliber like the 7.62×51 or even something else? Someone made a joke and suggested that the only new caliber, that both countries could agree on, should be calculated according to this formula: (5,56 + 7,62) / 2 = 6,59 mm. It’s funny how close to 6.5 Creedmoor or 6.8 that gets you. It’s no secret how much the World is looking at the next magic thing called 6.8×51mm hybrid, so it should definitely not be ruled out.
Do you remember that the original press release from Heckler & Koch mentioned that the HK433 will come in 7.62×39 as well? It could perhaps be the best of two worlds, and let the countries keep their choice of ammunition? Same rifle but different ammunition. So far we haven’t seen much of the HK433 and nothing about the “Russian” version, but you can read more in our “Heckler & Koch Product Overview and New Nomenclature” article.
Without more knowledge about which caliber they are going to chose there are quite a few rifles that could be of interest: Heckler & Koch HK416 and HK417 or the HK433? The FN Herstal FN SCAR 16 or 17? Some of these rifles are already in use by certain Special Forces or units in both Sweden and Finland. The next-door neighbour Norway also uses the HK416 widely, as well as many other allies.
As you may remember, Sako are developing a new family of Semi-Automatic Sniper Rifles probably based on the AR10, and the step to also make a carbine should be rather small. Sako are also part of the Beretta group, with rifles like the ARX-160.
Replacing both the Swedish Ak4 and Ak5?
From another perspective we have to remember that Sweden still has a lot of the older Ak4 (HK G3) in 7.62x51mm around, a few in the regular Army and more in the National Guard. A new rifle, or rifle family, could certainly be used to upgrade both of these oldtimers.
From Finland’s perspective it’s probably harder to change the type of ammunition. But let’s remember that the Finnish Reservists very recently ordered a semi-automatic AK-clone made by Dasan Machineries of South Korea, so the caliber is for sure going to say one way or another. The design of the MPK rifle is made to resemble the Rk series (rynnäkkökivääri or “assault rifle”) of rifles.
Sweden is also looking for a new multi-caliber bolt-action sniper weapon system, and it’s no secret that the Sako TRG M10 is on the list. In return, Sweden has the possibility to sell the Saab JAS 39 Gripen multirole-fighter jet to Finland, something you can read more about here: Best And Final Offers For Finland’s HX Program Received.
TFB will continue to follow this topic closely. Until then, we look forward to your predictions in the comments below.