The large-scale procurement of new firearms in Estonia was hit with a setback on Thursday after the Ministry of Finance's extrajudicial Public Procurement Review Committee annulled the decision awarding the contract to a US arms manufacturer because the state was unable to refute claims by a competing bidder that the state turned a blind eye to some issues that came up during weapons testing. According to daily Postimees, a non-commissioned officer (NCO) of the Estonian Defence Forces (EDF) who was part of a nine-member team of Estonians to participate in verification testing at the Illinois factory of the Lewis Machine & Tool Company (LMT) last August wrote in a letter to the Commander of the EDF afterward that some issues that came up during testing were not recorded in the protocol. For example, among other issues, it was not noted that the firearm's stock and optical sight broke when dropped from a height of 1.5m.
Last Thursday, the Review Committee sided with the state regarding all but two claims — the committee found that, based on its own rules, the Estonian Centre for Defence Investments (ECDI) should have taken into consideration the breaking of the firearm's stock and red dot sight during drop tests, and that it was erroneous to interpret the stock as not part of the body of the weapon.
It is likely that LMT will have to repeat at least some testing of its automatic weapons, and while it is likely that LMT will be declared the winning bidder again, it is now questionable whether the first new automatic weapons will reach the EDF by 2021 as initially planned.
if this is correct, HK seems to be quite expensive
According to Postimees, the LMT offer was the cheapest from three manufacturers at €22.7 million, with Sig Sauer Inc.'s at €27.6 million and Heckler & Koch coming in at €45.5 million.
The offer of LMT achieved 99.3 points in the appraisal and was the most favorable in terms of price, life cycle support and guaranteed number of shots. A test shooting of the weapons organized by the EDF demonstrated that the accuracy and precision of all the weapons met the requirements set out in the terms of the tender, and there were no significant differences between them.
A firing test in March made up 10% of the overall appraisal score, with the guaranteed number of shots throughout the weapon's life cycle accounting for 20%, useful lifecycle of a weapon 30%, and the price, 40%.
The ECDI tender to buy new 5.56mm and 7.62mm automatic firearms for the 1st and 2nd Infantry Brigades, and eventually for the entire operations structure of the EDF in 2019-2021, was announced in June 2017. A total of 16,000 arms are to be procured to an estimated value of €22 million, it is reported.
Edited by bd1, 22 January 2019 - 0556 AM.