Jane’s has come out with a report that Australia is in the final stages of procurement of the EF88 5.56x45mm service rifle, or the “Enhanced F88”. Currently, the Australian Defense Force (ADF) has just over 80,000 servicemen and women. With this contract of 30,000 rifles, it appears that all are probably going to the Infantry as it won’t cover the entire force.
The Australian Defence Force (ADF) will begin taking delivery in 2016 of about 30,000 new EF88 Austeyr 5.56 mm rifles under an AUD100 million (USD75 million) contract to be signed later this month, a Department of Defence (DoD) spokesman confirmed toIHS Jane’s on 7 July.
The contract, to be signed with Thales Australia, follows second pass approval announced on 6 July by Defence Minister Kevin Andrews for expenditure of AUD467 million under Project Land 125 Phase 5C.
The DoD spokesman said the Thales contract would be signed before the end of July for “about” 30,000 EF88s.
First deliveries under the new contract would take place in 2016, although some EF88s from low-rate initial production approved by the government in September 2014 had already been received for derisking activities.
The balance of the approved expenditure would be applied to the acquisition of a broad range of targeting and surveillance ancillaries for the EF88, solicitation for which was already under way.
Note that this is a licensed version of the Steyer AUG made in Australia by Thales, a defense contractor in the country. I’m curious as it if royalties are still being paid, because this would be an improved version, with Australian as opposed to Austrian design changes. Irregardless, we’ve been covering the EF88 updates for quite some time now at TFB, this press release simply set in stone the number of rifles agreed upon.