The Australian Army’s program to produce a successor to the F88 “Austeyr” is on the verge of bearing fruit. Army.gov.au reports that the F90, formerly designated “EF88” is now being issued for trials, in preparation for final modifications and production. The F90 is a lighter, more modular system that fixes many of the flaws of the original Steyr AUG design:
Equipping 1 RAR with what has been described by those who participated in trials as an exceptional weapon and a sign of things to come, with the introduction of the EF88 being provided by Project Land 125-3C.
Colonel Scotty Palmer, of Army Headquarters, said the EF88 being issued to 1 RAR this year was a comprehensive enhancement to the current F88.
“Trial results have confirmed our soldiers consider this weapon to be remarkably modular, balanced and accurate during combat and longer range shooting,” Colonel Palmer said.
Operations Officer 1 RAR, Major Peter Van de Peer, said the EF88 was already a popular weapon with the soldiers who used it during trials to date.
“We are very much looking forward to employing the new EF88 during coming support company courses, Tully jungle training rotations and Exercise Wantok Warrior in Papua New Guinea,” Major Van de Peer said.
Private Jake Whitlock of 1 RAR was involved in a previous trial of the EF88.
“The EF88 impressed everyone with its accuracy, reliability and design,” Private Whitlock said.
The EF88 being issued to 1 RAR will be equipped with an enhanced day sight, foregrip and, for grenadiers, a grenade launcher attachment.
Lessons learned from the rollout of the EF88 to 1 RAR will influence the introduction into service of the EF88 and ancillary packs provided by Land 125-3C from 2016.
Land 125-3C Project Officer Major Mick O’Sullivan of Army Headquarters said in addition to the introduction of the EF88, Land 125-3C would include a range of state-of-the-art weapon ancillaries to optimise the performance of the EF88.
“Land 125-3C will deliver the EF88 with ancillary packs configured to the tier and role of the recipient,” Major O’Sullivan said.
“These ancillary packs, combined with creative, persistent and challenging training, will empower Army’s Tier 2 and 3 combatants to achieve superior competence in combat shooting and marksmanship.”
I was originally skeptical of the Australian government’s ability to reduce weight and increase the capability of the excellent Steyr rifle, but it seems they have indeed achieved this. The Rogue Adventurer has additional information on the EF88/F90 and the F1A1 ammunition it will be issued with, as does Maxim Popenker’s excellent website.
The F90 is set to become “top dog” in the bullpup world, if all goes well for the Australians.