News from IWA 2016, Lithgow Arms, the small arms division of Australian defense conglomerate Thales, and former government arsenal, has announced that they will be offering a semiautomatic version of their F90 military rifle for the law enforcement/police market, as a patrol rifle. The F90 was developed by Thales to replace the AUG F88 Austeyr bullpup rifle, upon which it is based.
There’s no mention yet of the F90-LE, as the semiauto-only variant is called, being available for civilian markets, nor of the possibility of the rifle being imported to the United States. However, I think anything is possible, if the demand is high enough.
The F90 is improved versus the Steyr AUG in that it has a lightened, fluted free-floated non-removable barrel, full-length top Picatinny rail, and a redesigned plastic housing with improved cheek weld and provisions for an attachable 40mm grenade launcher, also designed by Thales.
The F90 will replace the aging F88 version of the Austrian Steyr bullpup rifle, which was adopted in 1988 by both the Australian and New Zealand Defence Forces and which was also produced by Thales. Unlike the Australians, the New Zealand Defence Force are replacing their Steyr rifles with Lewis Machine & Tool’s new MARS-L rifle, based on the venerable AR-15.