Sa, 25.03.2023

Estonian defense forces, Kaitseliit to get new machine guns this year

Estonian defense forces, Kaitseliit to get new machine guns this year
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Estonian defense forces, Kaitseliit to get new machine guns Negev NG7.
Estonian defense forces, Kaitseliit to get new machine guns Negev NG7. Photo: Riigi Kaitseinvesteeringute Keskus

Director general of the Estonian Center for Defense Investment (RKIK) Magnus-Valdemar Saar signed a contract on Thursday with the Israeli company Israel Weapon Industries (IWI) for the procurement of around a thousand new Negev NG7 machine guns for the Estonian defense forces and the Kaitseliit (Defense League) volunteer corps.

The new weapons will replace the MG3 and KSP-58 machine guns currently in use.

«In the first phase of the procurement, there were six bidders, of which one other bidder made the final bid in addition to IWI,» Ramil Lipp, category manager for armaments at the Center for Defense Investment, said.

«The procurement was favored by the timing in the market situation. Both of the major manufacturers that made it to the final round had production lines running, which in turn influenced the price in our favor. Thanks to good timing and preparation, we managed to get the machine guns at very good prices and with a very fast delivery time, which is one of the important aspects in current armament projects,» Lipp added.

Regarding the procurement of machine guns, the wish was that the machine guns meet Estonia's conditions.

«For example, the design of the stock was adjusted, a heat cover was added on top of the barrel and the adjustment scope of the bipod was increased according to our needs,» Lipp added.

«The new Negev NG7 machine gun is a very good and ergonomic weapon, it is stable and accurate in various shooting positions. The weapon can be equipped with modern accessories, such as various sights and lamps. Additionally, an important aspect regarding this machine gun is that the selector switch can also be set to shoot with single shots,» Maj. Risto Partel, chief weapons officer of the Estonian defense forces, said.

The new weapons are 7.62x51 mm caliber machine guns intended for the division's armament. The approximate weight of the weapon is 8.8 kilograms and the effective firing range is more than 500 meters. Target shooting distance with iron sights is up to 800 meters.

The weapon is semi-automatic, which is accurate in various combat situations, including difficult conditions. The weapon is exceptionally light and can be fired from a variety of vehicles, including helicopters, land vehicles and naval vessels.

«The new Negev NG7 machine gun is designed based on modern needs, offering better ergonomics and increasing the reliability of various components. These advantages combined with unique features make it the most effective and lightest weapon for infantry,» IWI marketing and sales chief Ronen Hamudot said.

«We are proud that the Estonian defense forces have chosen us as their partner,» he added.

The new weapons are expected by the end of this year and will then be handed over to the defense forces and Kaitseliit. This weapon is used by several countries around the world, including the Israeli defense forces.