French Army Famas Rifle Replacement Follow Up

I knew before I wrote the list of potential contenders for the next French rifle I would take a lot of flak for it (some of it more than justified), but I do appreciate the comments and discussion. My response to many of your questions is below …

@Tinkerer and others who emailed me, I stated that the action of the FAMAS was blowback. It is a delayed blowback action not a conventional blowback action and you are correct in saying there is a big difference and I should have been explicit. I have updated the post.

@Cesame Rifle grenades can be made to work with any rifle system. The Israelis have a very nifty rocket powered rifle grenade system that they use with M16 rifles.

IWI Rifle Grenade (non-lethal model fitted with wireless camera)

@Denny there are plenty of national arms industries. Countries with state-owned firearm manufacturers include Russia, China, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Turkey.

@Pete Yes, I think the French would be looking at manufacturing the rifle inside the country. This is standard operating procedure. @Aurelien pointed out that MAS has manufactured HK G3 rifles and Beretta 92s.

@tradecraft & Spiff, I had mean’t to include the Steyr AUG in the list but it slipped my mind. The positives are that it is a bullpup and has seen combat. I have added to the list.

Austeyr F88

@Other Steve I knew that comment that the SIG 516 is “Not an HK416″ would be controversial 😉

I was partly a joke but also partly truth. SIG 516s retail for almost half the price of the HK416 (H&K MR556). H&K positions their rifle as an ultra-premium match-grade weapon. SIG position their gun as a quality AR-15. SIG is not trying to make a HK416 and H&K is not trying to make a SIG.

I have begged and pleaded with SIG to send me a rifle to review, before it was even announced to the public (I broke the story), but they just tell me that they are to busy to do so. So to answer your question, no, I have not shot a SIG 516.

I am planning on buying SIG 516 Patrol or S&W M&P15 in the near future. I think both great weapon with most of the features I want.

My next rifle (SIG 516 Patrol)

@shooter I considered including the SAR-21 but decided it was such a long shot. Outside of the tiny Singapore city-state, it has only been adopted by the miniscule Singapore Brunei.

SAR-21

To many of you who asked why I did not mention that rifle X had feature Y or was used by Z: My pros and cons list was not mean’t to be a comprehensive.

I also want to mention that a French journalist emailed me to say that the SCAR is also used by the French Special Forces and special Police teams. He also stated he had never heard of French ammunition being imported from China.





Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Lance

    There is another fact forgotten too Europe is bankrupt. Austria is already gutting there defense budget and retiring many tanks from service. Briton and Germany too are under stress this may play on France and a replacement may be delayed for a long time or a adoption of a G2 FAMAS may be more economical.

    For info on Austria defense break down check this out.

    http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?i=8348194&c=EUR&s=LAN

    • Axel Nordberg

      The other forgotten fact is that most western politicians seem to ignore the fact that most western nations are bankrupt, and that the French politicians very well could buy a new rifle without taking responsibility for it.

      • Lance

        Usually id agree with you BUT the situation in Europe is so dire this might affect normal arms traded there the EU is near fiscal calamity.

    • Aurelien

      Most countries in the world scrap their heavy armor, because “it’s a thing of the past”

      Except France. Basically the Ministère de la Defense (ministry of defense) argued that “when nobody has tanks anymore, we’ll have the tactical advantage”.

      • DiM

        [Most countries in the world scrap their heavy armor, because “it’s a thing of the past”]

        Canada certainly though so. They were going to buy into the Mobile Gun System to replace their Leopard tanks….that is until operational experience in Afghanistan changed everything.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1128_Mobile_Gun_System

      • Lance

        @DiM

        Saying tanks are obsolete is crazy. the same was said in France in 1940 and well you know what happened. Same about tanks in 1989 then Desert Storm came there always a need for armor. And Even in infantry wars like in Afghanistan Tanks are great support weapons. If war came to China or Russia tanks will be key to fight them, even know Chinese tanks are crap.

      • W

        it gets worse. With the US army replacing much heavy armor in the 3rd ACR for Strykers makes this problem even worse. There is no substitution for tracks when you are in battlefield terrain. Afghanistan has proven to be a rude awakening for the lovers of the wheeled vehicles club.

        I’m not sure why france just doesn’t replace the G1 with the G2…If the G2 is more expensive to procure, then they should just acquire the G36…like spain.

      • Schuultz

        @Lance
        The comparison to 1940 is inappropriate. In 1940 there were no helicopters, there were no Javelins/TOWs/equivalents and no armed drones, not to mention laser guided bombs & missiles, all of which make very short work of armour.
        Not to mention the fact that the world has been even further urbanized since. I agree that tracks beat wheels 90% of the time. But I don’t think traditional MBT design is future-proof. Tanks designed to fight tanks will have to be replaced by tanks designed to fight infantry and light armour. AT can be more cheaply/more efficiently done by air and infantry.
        Outside of the fear factor, I don’t see what role a tank can really fulfill anymore today which others can’t, and as that knowledge spreads, even the fear factor will decline. MBTs, like battleships, are a thing of the past.
        If an army clings to its MBTs, they will suffer a fate no different from the cavalry in the First World War: Slaughter.

        • A now not so distraught French

          Well, you know, Shuultz, one can perfectly imagine war/tactical scenarii where AT support cannot be provided by infantry because of distance, or by air because of meteorological conditions, or by satellite-guided missiles because of efficient jamming measures.

          In that case, you’ll still need MBT able to do anti-MBT job. And ruling out that possibility is like pretending soldiers will never have to use bayonets again … some says it’s a thing of the past too. But unexpected CQB is not. And never will be.

      • Lance

        Even with AT missiles tanks proven to leap ahead of them in 1973 Yom Kippor war is prof that yes with out support AT missiles can destroy tanks but with proper couver and armor tanks can squish any infantry presence. Wheeled cars like you said are futuristic dont have endurance or support armor that a tank has and cannot take on AT armed infantry OR other tanks. Tanks may become smaller in time but tanks are needed still in modern warfare.

      • W

        I would have to agree with lance. The presence of tanks of the future battlefield will be more important than ever, simply because they are the cataphracts of our modern era: heavy armor and superior firepower. As technology continues to evolve, tanks will be (and should be) lighter, smarter, and more fuel efficient. Their armor and mobility, which cannot be matched by wheeled vehicles, are essential for making those breakthroughs.

      • Schuultz

        Ok, but what kind of weaponry do you imagine the future tank to have? Still a 120mm cannon? Maybe bigger? Or do you think the main AT-weapon should be replaced by a missile system and instead a smaller AP-cannon installed?

      • A Distraught French man

        Y’know, in the early 1990’s, some people are said to have stated that, given the fact that USSR was now disbanded, given the fact that bordering countries were all allies, we didn’t need Alpine infantry anymore and should disband it. That was some 10 years before the war in Afghanistan, and Afghanistan has had to mean idea to be a country full of high mountain ranges.
        Before the War of Vietnam, people said jet fighters would no longer have to have guns aboard, since it was most surely due to become a “thing of the past” too because of Air-to-Air missiles … now, those people say nothing. And they should stay that way.

        Since when is having a heavy, mobile, very well armored and very well armed combat vehicule a “thing of the past” ?
        We don’t give a damn if small countries like Belgium scrap their heavies : the thing is that the major powers in the world (Russia, China, India, Japan, USA and even Brasil, Germany, UK, etc.) are surely not planning on scrapping their heavy tanks anytime soon. Nor do they plan to do it, ever.

        So for France, scrapping the heavies would be just plain stupidity.

  • Don’t worry Steve we still like you. 🙂

  • Benjamin

    I believe you meant Brunei Darussalam, Brunei is not part of Singapore.

    The SAR-21 isn’t ambidextrous, the French probably won’t like it.

  • Clairon

    You can probably scrap allmost all bullpup profilse, the time of “French exception” in the French Army is done. No more equipment apparently a little bit better thanks to a very difficult design and 3 or 4 time more expensive than all competitors (like the famas).
    France hasn’t problem with a belgian weapon, the new .50 come from FN, the minimi (5,56 & 7,62), the MAG58, …
    Also probably no local construction or assembly, the relative small amount (a first batch of 60.000) will not be big enough for investing in a specific infrastructure, and it will probably explode the price

  • Ted

    Whatever rifle the French pick, will hopefully include soldier input and extensive practical in-field trials. As to the off-topic financial situation in Europe they meaning the ECB(European Central Bank) should start printing more Euros just like we do in the U.S. with the dollar, we devalue our dept and pump extra liquidity into the economy all the time. As long as Germany pulls the strings within the EU any kind of extra printing that will result in the necessary inflation(great for exports, dept deleveraging) won’t happen which isn’t ideal in this situation.

  • A.K. for T-7

    I see the Beretta ARX-160 potential as the next Beretta 92 in terms of success. Just like their pistol did in the mid 70’s this rifle has unified the most desirable caracteristics of the similar projects of its time, putting everything together in one efficient, funcional, ergonomic, ambidestrous and light package. It’s almost all polymer made with less intensive maintenance and lube needs as a HK G36, it is fully ambidestrous like a FN F2000, totally modular as a FN SCAR, lightweight and ergonomic as a standard M-4 (even better to my taste). Handled at SHOT’11 and shot it at LAAD 2011. Like it better compared to the 5.56mm weapons I have/had access like Colt M-4A1, Colt M-16A2, HK G36K/C, HK416, FN SCAR, HK GR2, IMBEL MD-2, IMBEL MD-97 and Steyr Aug. It has easier manipulation of the controls, soft and straight recoil, good trigger and excellent weight distribution. Test it and see what I mean by yourselves.

    • noob

      ak for t-7,

      I’ve always wondered why the ARX-160’s action hasn’t been fitted to a bullpup stock option after moving the reciprocating cocking handle to the same side as the ejection direction.

      having easily switched ejection direction was experimented with in australia
      http://www.nvtech.com.au/ProjPast/GP_Inf_Rifle/GPIR-1-Intro.html
      in what was a very, very interesting 7.62NATO rifle.

      The only difference with GPIR-1 rifle’s ejection is that the cocking handle is on the same side as the direction of ejection, instead of opposite as the ARX-160’s is. To switch sides, “overcock” the action, and flip the cocking handle to the other side. When the bolt is in the normal positions during the action cycle it holds the cocking handle and action on the side you want.

      • Alex-mac

        Unless the ARX-160 can switch ejection sides in less than a second, I doubt it will have any effect on shooting ability on the off shoulder in a bullpup.

        If it can or be modified to do that, then that’s awesome. And that’s probably the future of bullpup development. Depending on which side of the stock your cheek weld is, the rifle will automatically switch ejection to the other side. This creates a much simpler and thus more reliable system with none of that forward ejection complexity.

      • noob

        @alex-mac

        in this video you can see that simply locking back the bolt and pressing a recessed button with a bullet point will change the ejection direction on the ARX160.

        It takes less than a second.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5iy6DTaxqOY

        it happens independently of swapping the bolt handle side, unlike the GPIR-1, which does both at once

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEoIGKORiyI

        seeing the whole process in one video:

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SGS2WAF2oAo&feature=endscreen&NR=1

        also NVTech has moved its website around, so the new link to past projects is

        http://www.nvtech.com.au/ProjPast/GP_Inf_Rifle/GPIR.html

        the photos of the prototype are pretty good and the similarity to TroubleShooterBerlin’s Aug ambi stock version 1 is striking.

  • anon

    The SAR is quite heavy for what it does.

    And completely untested.

    • Benjamin

      Well, Singapore and Brunei haven’t got into any wars yet. But I guess reports that SAF soldiers’ shooting improved, and that it has better reliability than the previous service rifle M16A1 should be of some relief.

      The weight is quite well-balanced, at least for me.

      There are rumours that a new version of the SAR21 is coming out though.

      • anon

        It is kind of hard to miss with the permanent 1.5x scope, lol!

        Still, the design shows its age, with the comparatively HUGE laser sight, notable lack of modularity and it does not have cool rail shit the fancy AR-15s all have.

      • Benjamin

        There’s a variant that is dedicated for rails, but it is mainly in use with Singaporean special forces though.

        The SAF is small-sized, so the weapon is designed to be simple to use. Given the small army, it probably shouldn’t be expected of normal conscript soldiers to use various accessories like EOTechs or fancy stuff

    • Alex

      There is a P-rail version of the SAR-21 that is available together with the option to use standard M-16 magazine.

      http://www.stengg.com/upload/1043VhNWoGkHd3Vk6OmF.pdf

  • Stating that France will try to build his next service weapon in the Country is oblivious to the fact that France has NO MORE national firearms industry. Everything was dismantled after the FA-MAS production line was closed, and all spare parts for currently serviceable FA-MAS rifles are made here in Italy by Beretta — hence why I still claim the ARX-160 to be the most probable replacement for the FA-MAS (apart from the negligible fact that representants of the French Ministry of Defense officially inquired about the ARX-160 with Beretta representants at the company booth at the last MILIPOL expo in Paris…).

    What would refrain adoption of the HK-416 is the well-known deficiency of the platform. The HK-416 “old-style gas piston” system has no guides to drive its movement; the piston moves in a somewhat “free-float” manner (I know it’s not the right term, pass it please). This causes a long-term metal-on-metal grinding issue that has bad effects on accuracy and durability of the weapon.
    Besides this, SCAR and HK-416 would be refrained from adoption mostly due to their price tag. I know they are in use with the French Special Forces, but mind: SPECIAL FORCES. Adopting a design for a very limited, specialistic group of operators is one thing; mass-distributing it to every single basic infantryman is a whole another matter.
    Same goes for the SIG AR15/M16/M4-based rifles, which are not made in Switzerland (manufactured in the US, and specifically for the US market), and the basic SG-55x series (not versatile enough for the FELIN system). If they’d manufacture a full-size, select-fire variant of the SIG-556 (which is NOT manufactured today, mind!), the French might even consider it. But even then, the adoption would be refrained by the difficulties of export from Switzerland.

    As for the FN F2000, the reason why it will probably not get adopted is the same why FN itself is not pushing anymore. It has a well-known deficiency: if you shoot it with your barrel up (and believe me, in MOUT you *will* be always keeping your muzzle up for snipers), the spent cases in the ejection chute will slide back to the chamber and jam the weapon.

    The SAR-21 is out of question just as much as the TAR-21 and the DIEMACO/Colt Canada ARs — the French aren’t simply going to buy something from out of Europe.

  • Simon

    Beside being weapon system, national rifles are also symbols. I doubt the French government will adopt a rifle that “looks” like an American M-16. French still define themselves as “not American”. Such decision could easily be used by socialist to hammer Sarkozy as a wannabe American, being in the lows of the lows in the surveys, I doubt he would take that risk with presidential elections incoming.

    Also, despite my searches, I have not read anything official in French about this topic. There is one blog in French (le mamouth), but that is not an official source. Even if some military would like to change the FAMAS for tactical reasons, French politicians can easily overrule such decision for identity reasons. French army may be looking for alternative (as stated in the mamouth), but that does not mean that French army will change their rifles.

    Avec respect,

    Simon

    • Alex-mac

      If the French stick to tried and true weapon designs, they could very well produce a decent French rifle. A decent bullpup design might be beyond them though.

      Luckily Steyr Augs patents have expired, why don’t they just copy that and change the furniture a little, add some rails and they’d have themselves a good bullpup of French origin. Perhaps this expiration of the Steyr Aug licence may very well be why they are talking about replacing the Famas. With no license necessary the French are free to copy and modify a reliable bullpup design. (Steyr Aug)

    • Clairon

      Simon, if you speak French, just surf on the following site : http://www.senat.fr (french senate), type “Ract Madoux” (name of the new French CSA) and then in the doc, just look for “Famas”, you will find the official quote from the CSA telling that as from 2013 an official RFP will be launched.

      More official than the French Chef of the Army, I didn’t found ….

      • Simon

        Merci!

  • Kevin

    “@Cesame Rifle grenades can be made to work with any rifle system.”

    Yes, indeed, even if rifle grenades have fallen out of favor due to the US armed forces opting for 40mm greande launchers; still, one big difference here is that the Famas was designed from the ground up as a ‘weapon, system’ of some sort, IE as an assault rifle :
    – that would be compact enough to replace the smgs that were looked favorably upon, after the algeria war, when they proved themselves again as a close-quarter weapons (done);
    – that could be used as a light support weapon, hence the very high rof and the bipod (complete failure, compounded by the only real design flaw, according to people way more knowledgeable, the thin barrel; plus the fragile sheet steel mags intended to be ‘disposable’… that of course weren’t);
    – and, most importantly, that could reliably fire the heavy (500g, twice the usual weight of modern rifle grenades) RG favored by the french doctrine (done).
    No other 5.56 rifle, I repeat, no other 5.56 rifle can reliably fire those grenades, at least, not on a regular basis, and this was one of the asked features.

    The fact that this ‘weapon system ‘ had to use a proprietary 5.56 was not an issue back in 1976-1978, simply because France was not then integrated into Nato, with no ‘standards’ anyway, and because the french ammo industry was quite up to the task.
    It was not a ‘disaster’, far from it, but rather a franco-french rifle made to the french idiosyncracies, and that was overall a succesful weapon altogether, that could and should have been ‘polished’.

    Fast-forward to 2011 : the weapon has not been upgraded in any serious fashion due to institutional inertia and the mismanagement of the armed forces by the successive gvts, and is so lacking the ‘modularity’, optics, attachements,… except with some ghetto jerry-rigging… not to mention the 5.56 bullet change!
    It has no replacement parts produced anymore and has to resort cannibalizing already produced rifles (last ones were made in the very early 80’s IIRC), and the french small ammo industry has gone the way of the dodo, again, due to some strategic idiocy and serious mismanagement by the political power(s).
    Add some pretty pathetic blunders (the italian-made replacement barrels, the bad QC ammo bought from the UAE, the improved G2 and its variants that were finally planned just when Giat went under the water and never were), and you’ve got most of the story.

    • Aurelien

      Two precisions :
      The way of the rifle grenade. At that time a lot of rifles were still developed around the RG (Galil, FNC…). The French industry produced very efficient grenades that allowed the destruction of light armored vehicles (up to 100mm of armor), which made the foot soldier able to literally punch holes in the soviet doctrine by destroying BMP APCs single-handedly.
      Compared to the destruction potential of a 40mm grenade from the M79/M203, that is quite a feat. Until the fall of the Soviet Union (and well after in the African and Middle-Eastern conflicts) the use of such a weapon was, at least in theory, completely valid.

      The main critic about the FAMAS is the fact that it is an over-engineered rifle. Quite a piece of weaponry, but to complex for an easy field stripping.Thats the main critic i heard from people that lugged FAMAS rifles around for 20 years of service. It was way to complex compared to the rifle it replaced, the low maintenance MAS49/56.
      Much of the technical critics started to arise when the Army got out of spare parts. The rifles in service were mostly built from 1979 to 1990, and went on every crappy place in the world. They show their age.

  • lup

    Exactly. These are still only speculations and most probably French are still far from coming to final decision not only what after famas but whether change at all.
    As for different proposals I would ad G36 nevertheless and something that might comes to quite interesting competitor till 2012 – polish MSBS throught its bullpub version probably hasn’t been fire tested jet.

  • Ominae

    The SAR-21’s been used by Peru, Morocco and Indonesia. Seen photos of them. Documentation’s hard to obtain to “show” that their militaries actually have the rifles in service.

  • Sian

    We use a 516 at work for some of our testing. I actually like it a lot. Aside from a slightly sharper recoil impulse it’s not much different from a normal AR. They have slightly improved controls, though I would have loved to have seen ambi safety and bolt release to go along with its decidedly odd ambi mag release.

  • Alex-mac

    The recent info that Thales is French and owns ADI and is responsible for the EF88 (latest Australian Steyr Aug). And Steyr Aug patents have expired in 2007, makes me think the next rifle will be a much upgraded Steyr Aug probably the EF88.
    http://www.w54.biz/showthread.php?79-EF88-Rail-Configuration

    Since the EF88 project began in April 2011 and design and testing will be finished ready for approval in Dec 2012. It conveniently coincides with the French announcing their search for a new rifle now.

    The biggest advance would be “Provision for Electronic Architecture – to allow centralized control and power management of ancillary devices.” A new NATO standard that hasn’t been adopted by any military rifle yet but that’s essential for future electronic devices that aid in shooting.

  • Avery

    You kinda forgot that the F2000 has an edge over other competing bullpups, in that it has forward ejection, eliminating one of the tactical issues bullpups have had. While the AUG and the FA-MAS could be swapped for left-handed shooters, they couldn’t be swapped in the heat of combat. The F2000 has none of those problems.

    However, the magazine well depth might make recent advances such as Beta C-Mags or those Surefire casket magazines incompatible with the system. I only mention them because I do think mission-adaptable magazines are going to be the next wave, especially if the 60-rounders become more reliable.

    Slovenia uses them, which is probably where you got that picture from.

    I could see the French adopting the SCAR, because of the Benelux influence, or a Manurhin-licensed SIG rifle.

    The Magpul/Bushmaster/Remington ACR is such a dark horse in this competition. I think a point to consider is that, while the AR-15 design that eventually broke out from the American bubble, the AR-10 paved the way for it in the early 1960s, being used by the Dutch and the Portuguese armies.

    • Alex-mac

      Normal infantry aren’t trained for off shoulder shooting, even with an ambidextrous rifle like an AR. So I doubt the Famas using French will care much about this feature. In addition, bullpups can be fired on the off shoulder, it’s just more difficult.
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qy0FlnXCWxQ

      Special forces on the other hand do train on the off shoulder. But it seems common nowadays for them to use different rifles than the army. French special forces currently use the M4/M16/HK416.

      Although I will admit the increased role of CQB in recent wars has made this more of a problem. In the case of Steyr Aug perhaps a brass deflector can be incorporated, like the SAR-21 and Tavor. With those two bullpups this problem isn’t much of a problem anymore.

  • Ilgar Değirmenci

    ” include Russia, China, Turkey, Pakistan, India and Turkey ”
    MKEK isn’t a designing firm , they just produce . I still remember the Mehmetçik-1 disaster … Anyway ,We got lots of civilian companies too. But almost non of them produce service rifles . Only Kalekalıp (Designers of the next service rifle for the Turkish army ) , Sarsılmaz (M4 under license) and Safir (They had some prototypes for ACR like rifle both in normal and bullpup configuration but now I have no idea what happened to them ) apart from state owned MKEK ( the one produces H&K guns mostly ) . If French is interested at a 7.62 mm solution I think Kalekalıps gun maybe useful .

    • hnachaj

      Manurhin (MMD) made SIG 540 series rifles for the export market and as a CSA for the civilian market in .222.

  • Schuultz

    In my eyes, the FN2000 is probably the best contender. Improved STANAG compatibility, sufficient modularity and good quality. Since only Slovenia has adopted it so far (and let’s face it, Slovenia is way below anyone’s radar, really), it’s relatively untainted as a ‘foreign’ weapon. Wallonia is basically lil’ France. If only battle-tested rifles were adopted by armies, no new rifles would ever be made.
    I don’t think the HK416 is very likely. A GERMAN development of an AMERICAN system? Fat chance. SF might get to use it, but I don’t think French pride would permit such a weapon to become the standard rifle of the French Armed Forces. The G36 has the same handicap, with the problem being aggravated by it actually being the standard weapon of the boche.

    • Hans

      Yes at first sight it would seem correct to think French Germanophobia would prevent G36 or HK from ever issuing a weapon to french forces.

      However after looking at the current geopolitical situation it seems more and more logical.

      Cultural issues seem to fade more and more, as France becomes more and more dependent on Germany and vice-versa, within the EU. It has become almost a necessity, while the UK is obviously slowly building an EU exit to associate itself even closer to the USA.

      I very foreseably see inter-army equipment between Germany and France in the next 10-20 years.
      History is being forgotten so quickly in the face of 2012 political and military challenges it is astonishing.

  • Quji

    À simple request : tell me the price of every rifle you are talking about.

  • mica

    ok illl put my two cent in for what it,s worth with the french ya thay want something made in country however for the most part that can,t build QUALITY FIREARM,S cuse thire,s head are up thire a)(*& with thire political BS this is the country that gave us in ww1 the choso automatic MG the bigest pos since the colt volcano pistol \ rember after ww2 the french raided the walther factory for waltherp 38,s why cuse that needed pistol,s again why cuse thire was nothing of any quality out thire \\ ok last part if the french had any brain,s about it and had the cash thay would buy from the italien,s ar x \ or bit the tracer round and go for the IDF tavor both quality and willl last longer then thire present POS auto rifle hay some country,s just can,t be good at everthing so ya buy the best out thire for your millatary end of story

    • Tengu

      Yeah. Because some moron with pathetic spelling can say anything about the French.

  • Alex

    OK just to add a few comments since i’m french and my studies are actually preparing me to sell weapons.

    First, i’d like to say the FAMAS performs better than what the first article said. It has some issues, but then the gun was designed at a point in history when exchanging ammo with your allies wasn’t what you’d call a priority. I also happen to be in the reserve army and I’ve never had any trouble with my FAMAS. I’ll grant you that it hasn’t been designed to fit the multiple optics and accessories everyone’s drooling upon these days, but convenient solutions have been found (grab any french military magazine, it’ll be full of adds for new systems). However, we all understand the “need” for change seeing as war is evolving. And i’m not at all into this FAMAS FELIN thing they’re feeding us here (rifle was only used as a base for all the shit they’ve put on it, and we’ll see that used elsewhere, so don’t even bother to discuss this model).

    However, what surprises me it that the author drew a list of various (and often exotic) possible choices for a replacement. The fact of the matter is, some rifles are already on trial… Namely the SCAR (used by special forces and other specialized units), the HK416 (already used by special forces and some elite army units along with the HK417), the new italian rifle, beretta 160 or something (seems neet but it’s kind of a late addition to the contesters, probably won’t be selected). So we’ll see soon enough. The G36 probably won’t be fielded massively since it wouldn’t cope well with other gear and equipment we use.

    As for the china built ammo… That looks a bit like one huge joke. However, most of our ammo is built abroad, by the emirates if my memory is correct. That was included in a sales deal (you know, we buy this but in exchange… and so on). So it’s just the chinese part that’s really silly (and don’t think any government would take the risk of buying their ammo since even their army rejects it…). Hope i’ve been useful to the discussion, was nice meeting you guys (first time on this site for me)

  • Alex-mac

    Took this from another forum.
    “What the article doesn’t mention is they want:
    une version standard à canon long principalement pour les unités d’infanterie, une version à canon court pour les autres.
    Meaning a long barrel version for infantry and a short barrel version for the rest. ”

    That’s sounds like either a euphemism for a bullpup or a rifle system that easily allows for barrel change length or most likely the person has no idea what they are talking about, and what they really meant was overall length being shorter for people in vehicles.
    That means likely only the Steyr Aug, ARX-108 and FN SCAR are being considered as they are easily/cheaply modified to be shorter.

    • Andrew

      That doesn’t mention anything about it being modular or quick-change, just that there should be a long-barrelled version for infantry and a short-barrelled version for other arms. Think of it as an M16 vs M4 thing.

      • Alex-mac

        Just highlighting that it would be significantly cheaper and more versatile to have one rifle instead of two versions of the same rifle. This is accomplished by a rifle that makes barrel changes so easy they can be done by the user or a bullpup which doesn’t need a barrel change. (although the Steyr Aug has a quick change barrel anyway.)

  • Shuggie Balantyine

    I’m told the latest version of the Australian designed and built EF88, recently described as the F90 is about to go into final testing against STANAG D14 conditions. They say it’s half a kilo lighter and the grenadier version over a kilo lighter. When you add that to the reliability numbers mentioned WOW! This must be a serious option for the French, any pictures of the F90 anyone?

  • FN Mag 58

    Sorry back to rifles, if anyone is interested I found the article on the Australian weapon:

    http://digital.realviewtechnologies.com/default.aspx?xml=defencenews_army.xml

    While the Beretta ARX is a good looking rifle with a polymer receiver and great weight reductions, I argue the ergonomic point as it is still a traditional long rifle and puts all the weight forward of the pistol grip, this is the major advantage a bullpup like the FA-MAS, SA80, AUG and Australian F88 have. The poorly distributed weights gets worse as the grenade launcher is added and puts more weight forward of the centre of gravity. Hardly ergonomic, I’ve carried an M clone with M203 and that gets really heavy after a few hours, I’d switch for a bullpup if it were offered, also carried a Mag and would prefer anything under 4kg. Some friends at CAG have had issues with SCAR and don’t rate it at all. HK416 is good to go but still a traditional long rifle, side loading 40mm is better than pump launchers, reload times much faster.

  • Bruno

    Pick a working base model (let’s say G36, or even older it it permits, like the AR180).
    See it flaws and where it surpasses the FAMAS performance. Try to improve the weapon, get some feedback from the troops. Then finish it off with some functional ergonomics and you are gone.

  • A distraught French man

    Holy Molly … First, we drop the ammo making capability, now we drop the weapon making possibility ? We HAD the means to make our OWN replacement for the FAMAS. Why don’t we have it anymore ? Why ?

    • Jack

      This is what happens with statism, I.e. state central planning.

  • Jack

    Why not something based on the AK system? The Israelis did it with the Galil. In terms of reliability and proven performance in combat, you can’t beat the AK family of weapons.

  • Johan

    Why not polish MSBS?

  • Colin

    My understanding is that they will be looking for a bullpup as a change would require re-engineering their vehicle mounts and weapon storage lockers and they are also big fans of rifle grenades which elimantes a number of rifles. Norinco does make steel cased ammo and the supply is plentiful, they might use Chinese ammo but may not buy directly from China who also supplies the Gulf states with ammo.