This one happened about a week and a half back, but I relocated the Reuters story and well… just look.
HELSINKI, Aug 8 (Reuters) – German gun maker Heckler & Koch has filed a complaint with the Finnish Market Court over Finland’s direct arms purchase from a local manufacturer, bypassing competition rules, court documents seen by Reuters showed on Tuesday.
The German company accuses the Finnish defence forces of breaching Finnish and EU competition rules with a ten-year agreement, made in March jointly with Sweden, to buy assault rifles and other handguns from the Finnish arms maker Sako Ltd, owned by Italy’s Beretta.
Now, H&K may actually have a leg to stand on in the rules. They probably do in fact, their lawyers are good at what they do. It would also make sense within the larger EU, like with certain NATO agreements, that competition for things like service rifles be managed well under normal conditions.
I will also say that these are not normal conditions with Russia and Ukraine actively at war.
I will additionally comment that H&K lawyered their way back to the German service rifle after loosing that bid, although I don’t think that one holds more than tangential relevance to this current case.
What I do know is that Sako is a well regarded Manufacturer under the Beretta flag and they already make service rifles. Given the active ground war next door simply picking a complete and on the shelf rifle configuration and buying those direct is the easy thing logistically and not soliciting the expensive and drawn out bid process.
Sako is local, has spun up models to meet the needs, and can support the repair and support logistics of the weapons on likely the shortest turn around under real threat of an expanded European ground war.
So, this feels like H&K trying to make everyone possible use the 416, 417, and VP9 or P30. Those are really nice firearms. They aren’t the only really nice firearms or serviceable ones for the nations’ needs.
We shall see where this one ends up.