The Australian Department of Defense has awarded Thales a $73.6 million contract for 30,000 F90 rifles and 2,500 SL40 grenade launchers.
Under the contract, spare parts and other miscellaneous ancillaries will also be provided to the Australian Defense Force (ADF).
Two versions of the F90 assault rifle will be delivered to the ADF:- the standard model with a twenty-inch barrel, and a carbine model with a narrower, sixteen-inch barrel. Officials at Thales Australia believe that not only is the F90 a great weapon, but it also comes at a great bargain.
"Our soldiers deserve the best possible military equipment and the F90 delivers on all counts,” stated Thales Australia Armaments vice president Kevin Wall. "Enhancing the Austeyr is the most cost-effective way to deliver a capability upgrade, and we've worked closely with defense and army units to design, test and manufacture this world-class weapon.”
The standard version of the F90 has an overall length of 700mm. It weighs 3.25 kg, and has a caliber of 5.56mm.
"The F90 is born from over 100 years of engineering and manufacturing expertise at Lithgow, and this is the latest chapter in Lithgow Arms' long contribution to Australian military operations,”Wall went on to add about the assault rifle.
When it is implemented into ADF service, it will be known as the Enhanced F88 (EF88). It will be perfectly compatible with the SL40 lightweight grenade launcher. The launcher can be easily attached by soldiers while out in the field, allowing them to noob tube whenever they please. It has a double action trigger, and a 180mm barrel. It is a derivative of the Steyr ML40AUS grenade launcher assembly and possesses the same attachment, firing mechanism, and control layout of the GL40 launcher.
Manufacturing will take place in the Thales facility in Lithgow, New South Wales. The guns will be delivered over the next six years, starting this month.
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