France Launches Program to Replace FAMAS Rifle

800px_famas_felin_501556_fh_000002_tfb_tm-tfb

It may have been a long time coming, but finally last week the French Ministère de la Défense has officially launched a program to replace the FAMAS rifle. A few days ago a tender notice (N ° 14-70321) was published on BOAMP.fr (the official government website which publishes acquisition notices, similar to FedBizOpps.gov) detailing the requirements for the Future Individual Weapon.

According to the notice:

  • A total of 90,000 Future Individual Weapons will be acquired.
  • The firearms will be distributed across the French Army, Navy and Air Force.
  • 45,000 (half) will be a standard length version of the.
  • The other half will be a short length version.
  • They will also require 38,000,000 rounds of 5.56x45mm NATO.
  • 51,000 40x46mm grenades will also be acquired (a mixture of different types, half of which will be smoke grenades for training).
  • Technical documentation, support, spare parts and training material will be included with the purchase
  • Three to five candidates will be selected to compete.

Back in 2011 the French CEMAT (Chef d’Etat Major de l’Armée de Terre / Chief of Staff of the Army) General Ract Madoux said a tender notice would be published in 2013. Since then French special forces have been adopting other rifles such as the FN SCAR and HK 416.

Thanks to Lionel for the tip.

Related

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.


Advertisement

  • Tim

    Just for the record,
    On top of the 40*46mm ammo and all, there is also a requirement for the rifle to be able to fire rifle grenades… not sure if it makes sense but hey our money, our rifle I guess !
    ps: that picture ain’t from the 11th Pare bde. Those guys are from the SF brigade.

    • Giolli Joker

      Maybe rifle grenades are still available in those areas in Africa where sometimes French military forces operate (just my wild guess).

      • Mr Mxyzptlk

        When western armies deploy to other countries, they tend not to nip down
        to the local market and use whatever weapons are for sale.

        I imagine the real reason might be that France still has a large supply of rifle grenades due to them never really fully embracing the M203. Also, retaining the capability could be useful in the future for launching specialist weapons such as the SIMON breaching grenade.

        • Giolli Joker

          I was thinking more about using enemies’ ammo (think AR-47 and such)… but, as I said, just a wild guess from my side.
          I’ll check about the SIMON that sounds new to me, thanks.

        • Matrix3692

          Also, there’s many who still think that rifle grenades had a better potential for packing a bigger punch(because the lack of a caliber restriction).

        • Tim

          Mr M., I think you’re right. The existing stock of rifle grenade probably is the reason.
          And then, grenade for grenade, an APAV40 packs so much more punch than your average 40*46 HE round.
          What surprised me, is that we’re apparently not choosing between the two. Our rifle grenades are in the 500g range, that will be a problem if the rifle was not designed with that in mind.

      • BillC

        http://www.patriotfiles.com/forum/imgcache/10_2010/31956.png

        French still use rifle grenades. Probably the only western country to really do so (in any real numbers, that is).
        Just sayin’

        • LCON

          Japanese forces also use rifle grenades, they never really adopted M203.

          • BillC

            True, but I said western country. The JDF doesn’t count also because it is purely a defense force. I’m not saying that facetiously, but an offensive and defensive military has different requirements. Also, rifle grenades are generally cheaper,because of the fuzes. 40mm and the like are very small and complicated fuzes that make them more expensive.

        • snmp

          Rifle grenade in guerilla warefare was superior cause for the adverse DRM priority traget is SAW, Officier, Radio & Grenalaucher wearer. ..

      • Anonymoose

        Rifle grenades are better for piercing light armor than 40mm ones.

        • BillC

          That’s due to the width and length limitations of the the 40mm, as well as the fact that shape-charges loose efficiency if they are spun (as 40mm are done for stabilization, although there are ways to counter-act it be making special shape-charger liners). The real issue with rifle grenades is that they usually have limited range and accuracy in comparison. The benefit is that any rifle equipped soldier can launch grenades.

    • Geodkyt

      You realize that the M16 and M4 are ALSO able to fire rifle grenades? What that means is that they have a STANAG size 22mm diameter falsh suppressor to fit the 22mm STANAG rifle grenade tail. . . (Derives from the 7/8″ tailboom assembly and grenade launcher combo for US rifle grenades during WWII – during the 1950s and 1960s, pretty much every NATO nation developed rifle grenades and/or launchers around stuff that was compatible with the M1 Garand. . . )

    • Riot

      A single rifle grenade is far lighter than a 40 46 and a launcher, less parts and weight on the weapon too.

      Rifle grenade(s) for most and GLs for grenadiers could be a viable option

  • Weaver

    So can we get parts kits to make the famas?!?

    • Eric S

      That’s what I’m hoping for. Something to add to my pile of misfit weapons.

    • iksnilol

      Trust me, you don’t want one. The Famas F2 would probably be the best choice for them, since it can use brass cased ammo and STANAG mags.

      Did I mention that? The current (F1) can’t function without steel cased ammo (some local high pressure variant).

      I will admit, the F1 looks badass though.

      • dp

        That bloody thing is an aberration to start with; much worse than M16. A punk among guns.

        • iksnilol

          I don’t know what to say, the M16A1s and the Famases (Famasi?) I saw were both shitty AKA wouldn’t trust my life on them.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            The XM16E1 was the P.O.S. while the M16A1 was much more reliable.

          • iksnilol

            I seriously don’t know ARs, all i know was that it was marked M16A1, had the fixed stock, triangular handguard and was generally a P.O.S.

      • J.T.

        The French steel cased ammo isn’t higher pressure seeing as how the problem with standard NATO ammo is that the chamber pressures are too high for the lever delayed blowback action the FAMAS uses. I believe they were getting case blowouts with brass cases which is why they switched to steel.

        • iksnilol

          I don’t know the specifics, all I know is that it needs steel cased ammo and that it is complucated internaly. Even with a 3D model (Gun Disassembly 2) I still don’t understand the mechanism in spite of understanding the mechanisms of the G3, AK and M16.

          • BillC

            Thats because those guns are piston or DI. FAMAS is blowback operated.

          • iksnilol

            Not G3, roller delayed blowback that one.

            The Famas is simply a complicated mess, that applies to some degree to all guns with a burst function.

          • BillC

            Dammit, I forgot about that (the G3). But yes, the Famas is a complicated mess, at least past a basic field strip.

          • Geodkyt

            The FAMAS is STILL a blowback gun – only it’s lever delayed, rather than roller delayed like the CETME (and the HK clones of the CETME).

      • Sledgecrowbar

        It doesn’t have to be reliable to be wanted. That its action is uncommon is more than enough to make it collectible, but it’s nonexistent thus far, that gives every new milsurp gun that hits the civilian markets a head start. I’d put one up near the top of my collection if I had it, right with the imaginary SL8, AUG and Tavor.

    • Weaver

      I still want one. Doesn’t mean it can’t be modified by someone to make it work with brass ammo. Still would be cool to have it in the collection.

      • Anonymoose

        You could always feed it Wolf and Barnaul. ;P

  • dp

    That’s requirement. Now, where is the gun? For sure it will not be of French origin, since they dumped their small arms industry. So, it may be Belgian (makes most sense) or German (still M16 with its limitations albeit little polished) or Russian (best pick overall, but better walk out of Nato in that case). What would you do?

    • dp

      Is there any mention of light support weapon as part of package or just ‘rifle’?

      • Anonymoose

        They already have Minimis for that.

        • dp

          Oh, that p-o-s… you are right.

          • Anonymoose

            Still better than an HBAR carbine (I’m looking at YOU, M27!).

          • dp

            It’s worse. it is complex for its role, unreliable with box mag and it has awful dispersion. Good for opposite side though – no one gets hit; maybe just accidentally.

          • Geodkyt

            You DO realize that the box mag capacity is only intended for EMERGENCY use, right? (The problem is that, with an operating cycle strong enough to be a reliable belt feed, it cycles too quickly for a STANAG magazine with weak springs.)

            And I never noticed excessive dispersion with an M249 SAW. . . of course, I wasn’t using one with that God-awful “paratrooper” setup with a crappy stock and a short barrel. . .

            So, yes, the Minimi/M249 is a piece of crap if you think the primary feed for your squad LMG should be 100% compatible with the riflemen, and you like to make it as short as possible.

            Still a better LMG than the entire RPK series, the L86, various HBAR AR designs, the FN FALO (FAL HB, like the Canadian C2), etc. (heck, than ANY LMG that is basically an HB version of a standard infantry rifle).

            I think it is better than belt-ONLY LMG designs (or worse, designs that are theoretically “belt & mag feed” where you have to swap parts to make the switch – said parts will invariably not be carried, get lost or damaged while not in teh gun, or you won’t have time in teh midst of a firefight), because at least you can get SOME fire out when you run out of linked ammo, by using the riflemen’s magazines.

            Admittedly, I much prefer the Ultimax version Singapore offered the USMC during the IAR trials, because it IS a better squad LMG in terms of accuracy, CAN use M16 magazines, CAN keep up with the sustained fire output of an M249 if both guns have spare barrels, and is LIGHTER than the M249.

            I’d freaking LOVE to see an LMG feeding from the STANAG magazine based on the ZB26 family (most famous member – the British Bren LMG) – modern CAD-CAM manufacturing and welding techniques could make the receiver in such a manner that it wouldn’t have to be fully machined like it was in the 1930′s. (Quick change barrel with a REALLY GOOD change system, the guts are literally simplier than an AK but still selective fire, yet it was accurate enough that the Mk32 sniper scope was originally intended for the Bren, etc.)

          • FourString

            HBAR carbine, firing a much smaller bullet haha

    • hking

      I would like to see the CZ805 Bren get picked up by more nations. I have not had the chance to shoot one, but just handling a display model it “felt” better than the SCAR or m4 variants do to me. A very overlooked design.

      • dp

        That may be your impression and that’s fine; my own just watching videos is not brimming with enthusiasm. Look for example, how slave-ish-ly they copied 2 NON-captive pins out of G36 (Vz.58 had them all captive). Manufacturing method is also lacking rationale as the chew the entire receiver out of solid billet.

    • Clodboy

      The Thales F90 (an advanced Australian Steyr AUG variant) might be a likely candidate, seeing as how the Thales group is headquartered in France.

      • Burst

        I’d rate this as extraordinarily likely, given that it’s a bullpup. I don’t see France wanting to retrain the rank and file towards different reloading drills.

        • jtciti

          the FAMAS alread is a bullpup

          • The Forty ‘Twa

            That is exactly the point being made…

          • jtciti

            oops i had a brain fart (thought he said UNlikely)

          • dp

            Speaking of UN-likely, EU and that kind of non-sense which became rule, it is entirely possible that they will want to unify in future with one identical piece of kit.

      • dp

        Very true and I kept this on back-burner, to see if someone comes up with it. You are right, it is probably (and I may be wrong) a matter of ‘wheeling & dealing’.
        As someone mention further, it is likely that inclination towards stock-less habit may prevail.

      • Gallan

        Your probably right. One problem, does this new Aug variant still have the hydrolock problem? (can’t fire after submerged in water) That would make it unsuitable for Navy adoption.

        The only other competition is the VHS-2 and the Tavor. Tough call, but I favor the new Aug F90 if they fixed the hydrolock problem. Cause I also hear Suarez at onesourcetactical is coming out with a ambidextrous addon fix to the aug, finally.

      • Gallan

        Also they only recently bought Lithgow arms, the company that makes the rifles for the Australian military. This is VERY convenient as France no longer has a small arms maker. So getting their rifles made in Australia can quite cheaply be done.

  • I ain’t good at creating names

    Heh. And we already know the winner- Zee Almighty Heckler und Koch. Just look at the rest of Europe, everybody and their dog has a G36, UMP or 416 (well, except those pesky civvies). Soldiers may be happy about adoption of such quality guns but I don’t think it’s the best option for the French budget.

    • Max

      FN has a good chance too. The French Army already use Minimis (M249) and recently ordered 11.000 MAGs (M240).

      It will be either the SCAR-L or HK416 IMO.

      • 1leggeddog

        That is my opinion as well.
        FN would certainly be THE top contender for this contract

    • LCON

      sept the Swiss with SIG, the Belgians with FN FNC and F2000 the Italians with Berreta AR70 and ARX160, and the Austrians with the Styer AUG… and that’s just keeping it EU…

      • mig1nc

        And the SAS and Danish and Dutch with their Colt Canada weapons.

        • Anonymoose

          They’re supposedly switching to 416s too.

          • n0truscotsman

            I doubt that.

            There is no reason for such nonsense to begin with.

            If France wants a inexpensive, effective carbine, they will adopt the C8 or US M4. God knows we can crank em out.

          • Anonymoose

            HK has produced a lot of weapons for the UKSF over the years, in addition to improving the SA80, since they have a major factory there and used to be wholly British-owned.

    • Chris

      The most likely options are the F2000 and the Thals F90.(updated Aug) A non meaning having to retrain their soldiers into using a less familiar gun.

      • Chris

        non bullpup*

      • erwos

        I could only wish the Belgians would do an updated F2000 design for this competition…

        • Mike the Limey

          Horrible trigger on the F2000 though.

    • Mike

      I thought Ze Germans were having reliability issues with the G36.

      • LCON

        heat on the Receivers. it might be fixable. the Weapons ist still exceptionally popular. and there is still the HK416

        • FourString

          “ist”
          ze deustche talk make vun ze laff ja?

          • LCON

            Ja Un Wanted To Join de Gaman…

        • Geodkyt

          They ever fix the problems the Norweigans found in cold weather, where the gas systems on the production guns they received kept slipping into (and getting stuck in) the “suppressor” setting? (Apparantly HK cheated the competition tests by sending tweaked guns to the Norweigan trials, instead of the production line guns they were SUPPOSED to send. . . )

          • n0truscotsman

            I doubt they did and better yet, i doubt they addressed the inherent flaws of the short stroke system for arctic weather conditions.

          • LCON

            the problem seems to relate to condensation when in doors the metal is going to collect moisture then you go out in that Norwegian Air, Instant Ice doesn’t even need water. You will find the same problem with most Guns.

      • snmp

        All HKG36 in French army have been phase out …. in favor of the HK416 or back to SIG 55X famillies ..

    • Gallan

      Just because other impotent militaries in Europe adopted what amounts to a heavier AR rifle doesn’t mean France will. France and Britain share not only bullpups but but militaries that actually have some power. (germans lack the political morale to employ their military in combat operations)

      The adoption of the bullpup is the future cause of the number of accessories afixed to rifles, which severely imbalance the weapon unless it’s a bullpup.

      • Spidouz

        I might be wrong, but I think the Germans can not employ their military in combat operations anymore (since the treaty they signed after WWII). They might operate with NATO or UN, but I think there’s some heavy restrictions, in comparison to the UK, France, Belgium, etc…

  • William Johnson

    Back in the 80s the 13e Régiment de Dragons Parachutistes (French version of LRRPs) were p[leased and proud to adopt the FAMAS. Prior to that they had been carrying the MAT-49, which they quoted to me had a range of 50m. But they were jealous of my M203.

    • BillC

      There are a few inherent problems with the FAMAS. It’s not a terribly bad weapon, but it’s relatively complicated in the sense that it has a lot of parts (compared to other individual weapons). It also has to use non-standard, standard 5.56mm NATO. At least with the F1/G1 models, it has to used steel-cased ammo and the barrel cannot stabilize the SS109 bullet. So there goes the whole point of the NATO standardization.

      It’s effective, been battle proven, it’s just not without issues. Read more here, form here nonetheless. http://www.thefirearmblog.com/blog/2012/08/28/guest-post-the-french-army-and-the-search-to-replace-the-famas-rifle/

  • ColaBox

    I just hope that whatever they choose, it shoots white flags.

    • 1leggeddog

      That joke was never funny.

      Anyone with an inkling of knowledge of military knows the french are #1 overall in the world in military conquest since recorded history.

      • Freank

        It’s funny, cmon. At least as as a sarcastic “merica” joke its pretty funny.

      • dp

        You are right; they rolled up sleeves on Germans 3-times (1870-1914-1939) and always with defeat. Same thing in Indochina and later in Algeria – almost predetermined result. That does not make them cowards by any means.

        • DaveP.

          You’re forgetting the French and Indian War, the French intervention in Mexico, and the Quasi-War With France.
          Not to mention the bombing of the Rainbow Warrior, where the French arguably lost a war with Greenpeace.
          Vive la whatever.

          • dp

            They should give up on wars, not in their territory of expertise.

        • Geodkyt

          France’s problems have NEVER been with having cowards or incompetants as troops – it’s that they’ve had an INORDINATE amount of bad luck with cowards as politicians and incompetants as senior general officers.

          They do a lot better when they use the Legion, because, quiate frankly, French politicians don’t care as much about risking Legionnaires. . .

      • Dan

        It actually was funny because I laughed so in fact it was funny.

    • swede1986

      When was the last time your country won a war?

      • dan

        Awe someone got their feelers hurt

      • gunsandrockets

        Good question! Let’s ask Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. Oh, I guess we have your answer.

        • swede1986

          Yes, because you’ve done an amazing job in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those definitely count as wins.
          Oh, wait…

          • DaveP.

            High-larious from someone whose handle is “Swede”.
            Remind me, where are the war memorials from Sweden’s heroic fight to liberate Europe?
            Oh yeah- y’all were too busy selling train tickets to the Wehrmacht.
            Don’t worry, we all understand that whenever hatred or injustice rears its head, the Swedes will be there to profiteer from it…

          • swede1986

            Kinda like how you assisted the Soviets in their conquest of Eastern Europe.

          • gunsandrockets

            That’s right, the U.S. won the Cold War too.

          • iksnilol

            The Cold War was never a war, you can’t win something that never was.

            It is like me saying I won that soccer match I was almost in.

          • gunsandrockets

            Tell that to Hungary, the Czech Republic, and Poland. Tell that to Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. Most especially tell that to the CPSU. I suspect they will differ from your opinion.

          • n0truscotsman

            Oh you mean the swedes that couldn’t fight the germans or the soviets, but served as a haven for allied commandoes and jews to escape genocide?

            That sweden?

            Dont knock the swedes. They’re the only ones in this day in age that make any fucking sense (the finns and swiss are pretty good too)

      • ColaBox

        America. I live in America. Need I say more?

    • dp

      That’s Italians; different country. French did fight at couple of occasions and pretty hard. At he end, who cares it’s all futile.

      • Michael

        And they lost against the English a few times as well.
        joking aside, I am sure they will stick with a bullpup, so F2000, AUG or Tavor.
        They could always ask BAE to open the SA80 production line.

        • dp

          With bull-pups there is one problem – lack of versatility. You cannot make any meaningful support full auto gun out of it (no space for big mag). They are just damn awkward.
          As far as SA80 that belongs to category of absolute no-no. it’s total POS.

          • LCON

            F2000 lacks a Short length version.
            or to Quote *”The other half will be a short length version.”
            So Unless FNH cooks up a cut down version They might need to renegotiate.

          • Mike the Limey

            Err, no.
            Ask someone who’s been out in Afghanistan what they think of the L85 & replies are invariably positive, especially as the longer barrel means greater effective range whilst retaining a short length. Balance is excellent when fitted with the UGL too.
            The L85A2 has a better Mean Rounds Between Failures number than either the M4 or M16A4.
            The A1 certainly DID have issues, just like the M16.

          • Gallan

            L85 is good, but more expensive, heavier and less ergonomic than it’s competition. The F90, Tavor and VHS-2

        • LCON

          L85 is now HK’s red headed step child.

          • FourString

            L85A2* not ze ay-vun, herr lcon

          • Michael

            H&K did fix the SA80, but they did it while being part of BAE

    • dan

      There is probably a rail attachment in the works for that

  • Hunter57dor

    So will the new ones be less prone to scratches from being dropped?

    • dan citizen

      nothing can be dropped as much as a french rifle and not be scratched.

  • LCON

    My short list
    Conventional
    SCAR-L
    HK416
    CZ 805
    ARX160
    MSBS-5,56

    Bullpup
    Tavor
    F90
    Aug Variant
    VHS 2

    Wildcards
    F2000) has only one barrel length unless FN suddenly announces a short barrel version which may be possible they seem ruled out.

    Desert Tech MDR) highly unlikely to even be entered as it’s from the US, but a very modern system that should at least be evaluated.
    At the end of the day I place my money on FN F2000 or SCAR-L. FN could cook up a F2000-France costomized to French wants and I suspect they are working in a lab doing just that.

  • asrock

    MSBS Bullpup would be the choice!

    • Jeff Le

      I think the Polish have the prototype still. Not sure if it is in production yet…

      • LCON

        Near production but that’s the conventional style.

  • Lance

    They talked about this for years and so its a wait and see if the F1 is replaced. In many ways the improved F2 may stay in French Marine service for years to come.

  • Tom

    Lets not forget the G36, the Gendarmerie has it, and the soldiers who serve in the Franco-German Brigade are already trained on it. My guess it will get shortlisted along HK416, SCAR-L and two others…

    • snmp

      Many G36 have phase out in SF, HK G36 is good police weapon but not really for rugued life … In plus, HK for have spare parts from them is a nighmare …. France have stop use HK417 for that’s in Central Africa & Mali …

  • Drew

    does anyone know what that thing is mounted on the M2? I am assuming it’s some sort of reflex sight…?

  • dan citizen

    Shouldn’t they just adopt the HK g36 so they don’t have to retool next time germany invades?

    • dave

      Bravo, sir

  • Chuang Shyue Chou

    I do wonder as to the performance of the FAMAS. I have read a bit of both good and bad. Is it reliable? How is the accuracy?

  • clinton notestine

    maybe go with the bullpup Radon-B

  • gggplaya

    I wouldn’t compare the rifle france chooses to many of their european counterparts because most of their fellow EU countries chose their rifles when business was good and booming. As of at least december 2013, france is still struggling with their economy. So likely, cost will be a large factor. Really there’s only 2 players in the cost effective rifle game. That’s the AK and the Ar15. There really isn’t much that a modern AR15 can’t offer that a fancy HK 416 or FN Scar can offer. It’s lightweight, easy to take apart, can be made ambidextrous, and it’s accurate. The only downfall is a lack of forward charging handle. But considering remingtons $700 per rifle price, it’s hard to justify 2-3x the price for one of he fancier rifles for no more accuracy or reliability.

  • michel Baikrich

    Sorry I speak only French and Spanish, but with Google translator is not a problem in this babel tower

    C’est une grande imbecilite de changer les armes car depuis plus de 50 ans on imagine toutes sortes d’armes avec des differences petites , pour en realite seulement tirer la meme munition.. Pas tres intelligent

    Dans le cas fu FAMAS, des le depart on pouvait se rendre compte que cette arme etait peu practique, car la bullpup, reduisait la longeur total de l’arme, simple monde …Mais posait d’autres problemes pour l’ejection de la douille aussi pres de la figure et aussi un probleme de paralaxe

    Sans compter que sur les bullpup tout le poids se porte sur l’arriere, ce qui desequilibre l’arme lorsque l’on veut tirer de la hanche .. Je ne suis pas du tout convaincu de son efficaite operationnelle

    Il serait bien plus interressant de travailler sur une niouvelle generation de munition et adapter ensuite l’arme et non pas le contraire
    Cest un gaspillage d’argent

    A cet effet, je travaille sur une nouvelle gamme de munitions a ignition electrique et aussi sur plucisures concepts d’armes type PDW

    Salut

    Michel
    Ballistic & Weapons Eng. (Liege-Belgium)

  • Joshua Denenberg

    Did anyone beat me to….I hope it can pass the drop test…..?

  • ThoughtProvoking

    Hopefully the new design will not be done by the same guys that brought France the FAMAS. I always thought it looked like the design guys were suffering that day from a dinner of bad snails.

  • n0truscotsman

    Just adopt the C8 or M4 and be done with the fucker. French troops from my experience liked them miles better than the FAMAS.

    • CA

      Do they really not like the famas?

      • n0truscotsman

        Generally, i dont think they do. For the ones experienced training with foreign troops, they know damned well there are better weapons out there for certain.

        The fact that France’s elite units dont use the infernal devise speaks volumes itself.