The Estonian Army is continuing to modernize its small arms, the Soldat & Technik website reports. The country's Special Forces Command has announced that it will be re-arming its commandos in 2021. New assault rifles and pistols were procured. In addition, a new standard assault rifle was selected for the regular troops, and a selection process for a new universal machine gun is about to begin, the report said.
The future standard long rifle of the Estonian Special Operations Forces will be a 5.56x45mm caliber version of the Heckler & Koch HK416. The weapon is equipped with a long, weight-optimized hand guard with MIL-STD 1913 rails and HKey interfaces. Similar to the German Special Forces light G95K assault rifle (an HK416A7), it has a safety lever with a 45-degree switch that can be operated from both sides. An Aimpoint Micro-T1 sight is installed as standard. The Special Forces are also to be equipped with a new type of handgun, the 9x19 mm caliber Glock 19. The compact handgun with firing pin lock is used by many Special Forces around the world, according to the website.
Until now, the Estonian Special Forces have used the G36 rifle and the universal self-loading pistol (USP), both from Heckler & Koch, including on missions in Afghanistan.
The Estonian Army announced last year that it would be introducing the R-20 Rahe assault rifle, a 5.56mm x 45mm caliber AR-15 type weapon from LMT Defense. The weapons are currently running out, and the retrofitting should be completed in 2022, the report said.
The selection process for a new universal 7.62x51 mm machine gun is due to begin in March of this year. From 2022, the new weapon is to be procured with a seven-year framework contract. The Estonian Armed Forces are currently using two universal machine guns: the MG3, which they received from the German Army, and was previously produced by Rheinmetall, and the MAG, made by FN Herstal as model Kulspruta Ksp58, which the Armed Forces received from Sweden as military aid.