Defence & Security Industry News - Thales Australia
|Wednesday, September 24, 2014 09:25 AM|
|Thales Australia F90 assault rifle to enter low rate initial production|
Thales has secured a Department of Defence contract to enter Low Rate Initial Production for the company’s innovative F90 assault rifle. “This is a major milestone in the F90 story,” said Kevin Wall, Vice President Armaments at Thales Australia. The engineering and development of Australia’s F90 has created a light, versatile weapon that has met the highest standards of performance and reliability.
Thales Australia F90M ’Marksman’ variant with a longer barrel
“Backed by over a century of military weapons experience, Thales’s Lithgow facility will now begin manufacturing F90 rifles as part of a derisking exercise designed to smooth the transition in production from the existing in-service weapon to the F90.” The F90 recently achieved Provisional Design Acceptance following an extensive testing period that saw over one million rounds fired.
The weapon’s open architecture incorporates a NATO tri-rail system and optional NATO magazines, while a growth path allows for the fitting of centralised power, as well as data and powered rails. The F90 also includes an integrated side-loading 40mm grenade launcher that can be attached in just a few seconds by the soldier.
The F90 is identical to the EF88-designated weapon currently being developed by the company for Australia’s LAND 125 program, and is based on the F88 platform that has been in service and evolved in Australia since the late 1980s. The weapon is available in five variants: F90; F90(G) (grenade launcher variant); F90M (’Marksman’ variant with a longer barrel); F90M(G) and F90CQB (Close Quarters Battle – a carbine). The Marksman variant is the same length as Australia’s in-service F88SA2, but is over 0.5kg lighter, while the equivalent grenadier variant is over 1.6kg lighter. Thales is in cooperation with Austrian company Steyr Mannlicher to pursue specific opportunities, such as the French DGA FAMAS replacement project, utilising Steyr Mannlicher’s manufacturing experience and facilities.