Australian troops are getting new assault rifles through a contract with Thales worth nearly $72.9 million.
The rifle is the F90, an enhanced version of the Austeyr F88 in use since the late 1980s and produced by Thales under license from Steyr of Austria. Two versions will be delivered, a standard rifle with a 20-inch barrel and a carbine with a 16-inch barrel.
Thales said deliveries of 30,000 rifles will begin in the next few weeks and will continue over a period of six years.
The new 5.56mm rifle, which will be designated the Enhanced F88 by the Australian Defense Force, will be produced the company’s facility in Lithgow, New South Wales.
“Our soldiers deserve the best possible equipment, and the F90 delivers on all counts,” said Kevin Wall, Thales Armaments vice president in Australia. “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.”