Rumors that the French military are considering dropping the FAMAS rifle have been spreading fast across the internet. The speculation arose from a post [English translation] at The Mammoth, a French milblog.
I asked Aurelien, an authority on the French military, what he thought of these rumors. I was surprised when he told me that the FAMAS has caused many problems.
The F1 model only works with the older M193 (55 grain) 5.56x45mm ammunition and it uses propriety magazines. The FAMAS G2 corrected these problems by modifying the rifle to work with STANAG (AR-15) magazines and the modern SS109 (62 grain) round. So far only the Navy has adopted the newer G2 model. The Army has to source M193 for the FAMAS and SS109 for the FN Minimi machine gun and to make matter worse, stocks of the old M193 are running low.
The French special forces, because of the lack of modularity of the FAMAS, have been using M4-style and Sig 5xx rifles for decades.
Aurelien says that while their have been talks of a replacement to the FAMAS, the FELIN program (the French equivalent of the Land Warrior program) still involves fielding an upgraded FAMAS G2.
I am sure I had always heard good things about the FAMAS. Admittedly from non-French sources. Talking to a locals always gets better quality information. Since running the blog I now have contacts all over the world.
Many thanks to Aurelien for taking the time to answer my questions.
Hat Tip: Eric @ LightFighter