We’ve talked in the past about how the Nordic NATO countries– Denmark and Norway– have been getting really close militarily to the two Baltic neutrals– Finland and Sweden in recent years via the Nordic Defence Cooperation group, or NORDEDCO. For instance, all four countries last year announced a common service/combat uniform with each keeping their own respective national ceremonial uniforms, headgear, and patches/insignia.
Well, with the likelihood that Finland and Sweden are getting NATO membership, it also looks like all four countries will opt to use small arms of the same caliber that take the same magazines.
Announced this week, Sweden and Finland, teamed up with Finnish-based Sako, will opt for a common family of rifles. The new family of common rifles includes an M4-style 5.56 NATO carbine, an AR-10/SR-25 style 7.62 NATO caliber rifle, and a bolt-action precision rifle in .338 Lapua Magnum.
Sako will be the rifle maker for all of the Finnish and Swedish military needs in an agreement that could last to 2053
Scandinavian neighbors Norway and Denmark both already field AR variants, with the Norwegians using HK 416s and the Danes running C7s and C8s– which are fundamentally just M16A2s and M4s but made by Colt Canada. Elsewhere in the Baltic, the German Army is set to adopt the HK416A8 as the G95A1 starting in 2024.
All five also share several other common systems, such as the Leopard 2 main battle tank.
While the Swedes have been using German HK G3 designs in 7.62 NATO and FN FNC models in 5.56, the Finns will have the biggest culture shock, as they have been using the 7.62x39mm AK-47-based Valmet rifle since the 1960s.
Finland has, since the 1960s, used a variety of locally-made updated Kalash models made by Valmet. Valmet’s gun manufacturing unit merged with Sako in the 1980s. (Photo: Finnish Defense Forces)
More in my column at Guns.com.