Helsingin Sanomat reported last week that Army has bought 300-500 FN SCAR L assault rifles for the (Army) special forces in Utti. It was stressed a number of times that this was only to increase the inter operability of SF with foreign counterparts, and was not in any way an indication of what service rifle Finland will be adopting for army use in future. It may still be that army just decides to revamp the RK-62/76/95 family with new fore-ends with picatinny rails and telescoping stocks. A good measure, but does no adress the problem that rifles are beginning to show their ages and may need more thorough seeing to. Even though reservists and conscripts do not shoot thousands of rounds in their training the rounds still add up, and oldest RK-62s are over 50 years old.
Also this FN rifle will help with logistics in the field as STANAG magazines and common ammunition. Rifles are meant to be shot until they fall apart and then be discarded.
Concerning the “big army” it might be prudent to start look for replacement for RK family along the lines Beretta, Bushmaster, and FN to get modern polymer-aluminium constructed assault rifle with all the rail space you will ever need in the view of “close future NATO alliance” or maybe “NATO light Alliance” with Sweden. Of course one might even start producing AR-15 clones in Finland but this might not be smart.
In practice aforementioned assault rifles are the same, polymer lower receiver, aluminium upper receiver, quick change barrels, and with collapsible stocks and all the rails you could care to use. They all also sport quick change barrel, so future caliber swaps are much easier to do.
Problem is still the caliber, so it may still be wise to wait a few years to see where NATO turns in her new standard caliber. Both Brits and US army has been dissatisfied with 5,56X45mm performance in sandbox wars. 5,56 NATO has a lot of good qualities, but it is not end all silver bullet. It has commendable wound ballistic performance IF it has enough speed to cause bullet fragmentation, and if the speed is not there, wounding performance drops to sub par. It penetrates body armor well, and yet does not over penetrate in CQB situations, thanks to fragmentation effect. It is fast to shoot, has flat trajectory out to about 300 m, and light to carry. But if engagement ranges grow over 300 meters, 5,56 is over matched by “oldies but goldies”: 7,62 Soviet and 7,62 NATO, not to mention 7,62 Russian.
I mentioned already the unimpressive wounding characteristics past fragmenting range. Also it does not suppress enemy at those ranges, the flight path noise of 5,56 is too small to inspire awe in enemy combatants. Also the exact ranging in long distance engagements is a must, as the bullet starts to drop rapidly. This is why 7,62N designated marksman’s rifles came into every squad in Afghanistan.
The game on replacement caliber is is still open, and until it is resolved one might do wisely and wait until decisions are made, and then swap to new caliber to get all the benefits from it. Wether the new caliber is 6,5mm Grendel or 6,8mm SPC is about the same difference, but time will tell.