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Australian army buys more Thales EF88 assault rifles.

| 2020

The Australian Government will buy 8,500 Enhanced F88 (EF88) assault rifles. The Australian-made weapon will add to the 30,000 units that will be delivered by Thales Australia to the Australian Defence Force. Australia is procuring these systems under the Soldier Modernisation Program’s lethality element.
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Thales Australia EF88 Austeyr assault rifle (Picture source: Australian MoD)

Australian Minister for Defence Linda Reynolds said: “The rifles will be manufactured at the Thales Australia site in Lithgow, New South Wales, which employs around 130 people, Army Technology reports. “This acquisition is just another example of the nationwide benefits of the Morrison Government’s unprecedented investment in defence capability, particularly in rural and regional Australia.”

The new rifles will not only improve the soldier’s capability but also lower training, sustainment cost and maintenance. The new EF88 Austeyr rifle is set to improve close combat and general combat capability due to its superior accuracy and lethality, improved ergonomics, balance and increased mounting options for ancillary devices. The EF88 began entering service in mid-2016 and is replacing the F88 Austeyr.

Ancillary attachments for the EF88 rifle include enhanced day sights, image intensifiers, thermal imaging sights, forward grips (with bipod), forward grips (basic), weapon stabilisers, visual illumination devices, one o'clock offset rails, and laser-aiming illumination and ranging devices. The EF88 rifle can be quickly reconfigured to meet specific mission roles by utilising these weapon ancillaries.

The key differences between the EF88 and the F88 rifle it is replacing are: Fixed, lighter Barrel, Improved Gas Plug adjustment, Double-action, side-opening Grenade Launcher, NATO-STD Accessory Rail for laser aimers, Improved trigger guard grip access, Improved access to GLA trigger, Extended Ejection Port and recessed covers, Non-slip Butt Plate, Modified Hammer Pack to improve reliability and facilitate silent cocking, Improved Cheek Weld, Improved Red Dot Grenade Launcher Sight, Extended NATO-STD Top Rail-in-line accessories, Reduced overall mass, improved balance, NATO-STD Rail-grips, bipods and Visual Illumination Devices, Folding Cocking Handle-less vulnerable to damage, Bolt Release Catch-faster magazine exchange.

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