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Australia army new assault rifle EF88 first full operational deployment

The Enhanced F88 (EF88), the Australian Armed Forces new service rifle has just completed its first full operational deployment, winning the confidence and praise of deployed personnel. Taken by Task Group Taji 5 troops to Iraq as part of Operation Okra, the EF88 has proven itself in the extreme heat and the harsh dusty conditions of Iraq without issue.

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Australian Army soldier Private Anthony Brown conducts a range shoot with the EF88 Austeyr rifle at the Taji Military Complex, Iraq. (Source picture Australian MoD)

Major Timothy Soper, the Officer Commanding Task Group Taji Logistics Company, said the EF88’s superior accuracy, robustness and weight identified during testing and trials has been confirmed in its first full operational deployment.

“The tiered design approach applied to the EF88 has resulted in a common system capable of being tailored to land combatant role and task,” Major Soper said.

“Pre-deployment and deployed combat shooting training has seen enhanced accuracy and increased lethality through improved effective ranges across the variety of Task Group Taji services, Corps and trades.”

The EF88 was brought into service mid-2016 for selected units with Task Group Taji 5 having the opportunity to first deploy with the new service rifle.

The extremely harsh conditions of Iraq have been ideal to prove the weapons resilience and reliability for operational service.

Commander of Task Group Taji 5 Colonel Steve D’arcy said the EF88 was very popular with Task Group personnel and had proven itself as an extremely versatile weapons system.

“Our personnel carry the EF88 as their primary weapon system on a day to day basis,” he said.

“The EF88 has proven itself as an extremely reliable, accurate and versatile weapon which has gained the praise of not only Australian personnel but also our New Zealand counterparts and coalition partners.”

The EF88 is part of an evolution of the Austeyr bull-pup assault rifles introduced into Australian service in 1988 as the Army retired the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle. In August 2015, Thales has received a contract from the Australian Department of Defence to supply F90 assault rifles to the Australian Defence Force (ADF). Under the terms of A$100m ($73.6m) contract, the company will supply 30,000 F90 rifles and 2,500 SL40 grenade launchers, as well as spare parts and various ancillaries.

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