ADF set for 30,000 EF88 rifles

Private Jackson Bartlett from the 5th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment pulls the newly position trigger on the new Grenade Launcher Attachment (GLA) on an EF88 Austeyr weapon at Kangaroo Flats firing range, outside of Darwin.

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.


A comparison of some of the earlier models of the EF88 from 2012. Photo from Rogue Adventurer. 


Infantry Marine, based in the Midwest. Specifically interested in small arms history, development, and usage within the MENA region and Central Asia. To that end, I run Silah Report, a website dedicated to analyzing small arms history and news out of MENA and Central Asia.

Please feel free to get in touch with me about something I can add to a post, an error I’ve made, or if you just want to talk guns. I can be reached at


  • KestrelBike

    Those are all kinds of dead-sexy.

  • Dave

    In the last pic the bottom Austeyr is not an EF88, it’s an F88AS2

  • Vitor Roma


    • Phil Hsueh

      I was going to point that out, there’s no such word as irregardless, it’s just regardless.

    • Christopher Edward Penta

      Thank you. I was going to die if nobody pointed that out.

    • Roderick Lalley

      Double negative !!!

  • Cal S.

    Look, there’s an intelligent-looking rifle that’s a bullpup and has a grenade launcher!

    See, Canada, it can be done and still look decent!!

  • Cornelius Carroll

    $2,500/per. Optics of any sort included?

    • Tom

      its not a terrible price if it comes with a support package. If a second order is made then I imagine costs would fall – machinery and trained staff already in place etc.

      • Cornelius Carroll

        That makes sense.

    • nadnerbus

      That was my thought as well, but it probably includes spare parts and service in the package as a whole. If that is the case, it’s actually not a bad price for a first production run of a more or less new rifle.

      • James in Australia

        If it follows the usual ADF format there will be a lot included in the package, including decades of commitment to manufacture spares etc.

    • Goody

      Australia has remarkably high labour costs (set by government and unions) an unskilled production worker earns $20ph – these rifles will be made in Australia. Which is nice, because besides food not many things are made here at all… I wonder why. 😉

      • Mohammed

        Better than a chinaman making it for $1 a day. Watch out China is eyeing the Aussie natural resources.

        • James in Australia

          Buying not Eyeing.

        • Tassiebush

          China’s appetite for our resources went quite a long way to reduce impact of the gfc.

          • Goody

            Yeah China’s a good bloke, I just wish Australian unemployed had options other than dole/$20 unskilled wage, it prices unemployed/underemployed people out of the market and has effectively killed manufacturing.

          • Tassiebush

            Absolutely! We’re painted into a corner.

  • AMX

    I still don’t like that they got rid of the QD barrel – I know that saved a lot of weight, but it’s such a fundamental part of the AUG design…

    • Phil Hsueh

      While a QD barrel may be nice but is it really that necessary of a feature? How often would you be swapping out barrels and would you actually be issued barrels to swap out?

      • Richard

        Current safety drill in the Australian Army is to take the F88 barrel out literally every time the rifle is issued, after every range practice, and before it is returned to the armoury.

        Incredibly, this is to ensure that there is no round in the chamber- the removed barrel is held over the shoulder for inspection.

        • Jono

          Not anymore look at the revised drills that have come out mate. they have changed the drills to suite the employment of the EF88, my unit is going through teaching all pers as per a sig release from AHQ

          • Richard

            I’m glad to hear that. Not in the service any more, I always thought it was a pretty silly practice.

        • Tassiebush

          Someone made the observation this practice was prematurely degrading accuracy through trunion wear.

          • Richard

            It would have to. I was issued with quite a few different F88s during my time in service. The one I got at Kapooka had a totally flogged trunion and the lugs were all burred over. I reckon the zero shifted about a foot each day.

          • Tassiebush

            Cripes that’s disastrous! I think we have a special talent for insanely zealous OHS as a country!

        • Manny Fal

          Safety over common sense.

        • Phil Hsueh

          Interesting, sounds similar to what we do in the Corps in boot camp, except that we’d break down our M16s shotgun style to show that the chamber is empty.

  • TheNotoriousIUD

    “Kangaroo Flats” is my favorite Australian country band.

  • G0rdon_Fr33man

    I wonder what the French will do as the FAMAS are reaching the end of its lifespan.

    • Tom

      Considering the impending crisis in Europe I think they will hold onto them for as long as possible. Maybe try and purchase more SCARs or HKs to equipped the elites (who are likely to continue to see combat deployments). Of course the French are keen to manufacture weapons themselves so there may be hesitation in simply buying off the shelf from a foreign contractor.

      • John

        I dunno. I think the French might be leaning towards the VHS-2, which for all intents and purposes seems to look and act like the upgraded FELIN rifle France has been toying with. It’s certainly got the capabilities and the space to handle the FELIN camera at least.

        • Tom

          The problem is the French do not have the spare cash for a large scale purchase. I am sure they would love to have new rifles and I am sure the military does not care if its French (ether designed or manufactured) but the politicians will.

    • toms

      I think they may eventualy purchase the f90 as Thales is a french company now. National pride plays a large role in their french defense acquisition. Nothing burns frenchman more than buying nonidigenous defense equipment. I think the purchase of thales a few years ago coincided with french decisions to get a new carbine. Coincidence?

  • Just say’n

    Austraillia-Austria, gets damned confusing if you ask me. Why do the only two nations on earth that sound nearly the same use the same gun for its armed forces? Can’t we just call Austria “Österreich”? So much easier…

  • GOG

    I had a play with the F90/EF88 a few weeks ago..Damn it is so light and balanced…never got to shoot it though

  • Mohammed

    Digging the camo uniform though.

  • Utilas

    The Lithgow Small Arms factory previously made imperial FN FALs and Lee Enfields for the Australian military. They could’ve been making Colt M16/M4s (in-service since ‘Nam) instead of the Steyr if Colt granted them permission back in the 1980s during selection.

    • Richard

      The story is that ADI- Lithgow had ambitions to become a major arms supplier in the Asia Pacific region, so they wanted a design they could sell under licence. Colt already had someone in the region doing that, so they would only grant ADI a licence to manufacture for sales to the Australian Government.
      Pity, as the M-16 weapons system has stood the test of time, and, rumor has it, beat the Steyr during the first and only comparison tests carried out in the 1980s.

  • ostiariusalpha

    Well, this is perhaps looking good for another production run of AUG PMags, if anyone missed out the first time.

  • steve

    I really don’t think there are any trials carried out, i mean while this looks like a fine weapon how long will it last ? f88sa2 is finished. i think the soldiers should have a bigger say in the weapon systems they use and i still think the majority of the ADF would take an M4 over an aug

  • Roderick Lalley

    Does sound kind of cool !!!

  • Peter Frankow

    Like Vitor: *Regardless