Estonia will procure more than 16,000 service rifles from U.S. firearm manufacturer Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) for the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF), Estonian Ministry of Defence announced.
According to the MoD, both 5.56x45mm and 7.62x51mm rifles will be procured during the 2019-2021 period in the deal which is worth up to €22 million (approx $25 million).
The announcement of the most successful tenderer will be followed by a 14-day period during which the participants in the procurement can contest the results of the public procurement, Estonian Public Broadcaster Eesti Rahvusringhääling (ERR) reported.
Initially, 14 bidders participated in the tender conducted by the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI), of which nine companies qualified. By the January deadline, four manufacturers submitted offers: Heckler & Koch GmbH (Germany), Sig Sauer Inc. (US), Lewis Machine & Tool Company (US) and Patriot Ordnance Factory Inc. (US), but three companies – LMT, Sig Sauer and Heckler & Koch – were recognized as complying with the minimum requirements.
The contract for the procurement is expected to be signed in the coming months. The framework agreement to be concluded will also allow the purchase of additional weapons through 2026, if necessary.
New automatic weapons will first be available to the Estonian Army’s 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades, and then to the entire operational structure of the Defense Forces.
Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) is an American armaments company founded in 1980. LMT manufactures complete weapon systems such as the M4/AR-15 and the M203 grenade launcher.
The militaries of the United Kingdom, New Zealand and the United States use LMT products.