BREAKING: Heckler & Koch CONFIRMED Winner of French AIF Rifle Contract; FN to Appeal French Decision

HK416France

Multiple French news outlets are confirming the victory of Heckler & Koch’s HK416 rifle in the French Army’s AIF (Arme Individuelle du Futur – Future Individual Weapon) program to replace the FAMAS, in which it has evidently unseated the FN SCAR, its closest competitor in that competition. While an official announcement is still pending, numerous sites like BFM Business, Les Echos, and – most convincingly – Les Sentinelles, have all been reporting the decision, which could net the Rottweil-based gunmaker up to 400 million Euros. While this is good news for Heckler & Koch, it seems that Belgian gunmaker Fabrique National does not plan to go down without a fight: An article on La Meus.be reports that FN will appeal the decision in the Administrative Court of the French government.

Further details have also emerged: The new rifles will apparently not be made under license, as the French government could find no French manufacturer who could produce a high enough quantity of weapons to meet the French Army’s needs. Instead, the French government will purchase 16,000 rifles per year from the winner (presumably Heckler & Koch), to fulfill a contract for at least 90,000 rifles total, with some sources saying up to 101,000 rifles will be purchased. The 300-400 million Euro contract will cover not only the cost of the rifles, but reportedly also life cycle costs for the next 30 years.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Uniform223
    • Joseph Goins

      HK RULES!!! ALL THEIR PRODUCTS ARE THE BOMB EVERYWHERE…

      except the G36 in the heat and sand, the VP9 in water, and all their guns when the bullets are in backwards.

      • Tritro29

        They’re so much the bomb, they’re in the red for two years tops. And this could well bee a Franco-German way to keep H&K alive.

        • forrest1985

          Aren’t Germans looking to replace G36 now as well?

          • Tritro29

            When they’ll have the funds to do so, probably yes. although there’s no real hurry.

          • supergun

            Test fired the H&K P30. 91,000 bullets fired with no failures.

      • KestrelBike

        I didn’t even like the feel of the VP9 at the LGS. /Smug

      • supergun

        The H&K USP 45 Tactical?

        • Joseph Goins

          In which circumstance? Mine shot nice.

          • supergun

            The H&K USP 45 tactical is probably the “BADDEST GUN” for the money. Although I love my Sigs, I think the H&K USP 45 is the most accurate bullet for bullet. And finally, I love my H&K VP 40 with the Tritium sights. Very Nice.

  • BattleshipGrey

    Any translation on what exactly FN is disputing? I went to the linked French article about it but I couldn’t even highlight and copy the text to try google translate.

  • Xenophon

    Just imagine FAMAS parts kits. Then crush that dream with the realization of how unlikely it is.

    • Scott P

      Would you really want Century to get their hands on them and make piles of garbage?

      • Xenophon

        No but I would at least like the chance to try and home build one

  • Don Ward

    I obtained footage of the H&K press conference announcing the news in France.

    • Anonymoose

      I was thinking more along the lines of

      • Don Ward

        I like the Prussian blue uniforms better.

        • Anonymoose

          Same.

        • Klaus Von Schmitto

          Me too. Definitely. I think this makes us 2-1-1 versus France.

        • Major Tom

          Photoshop some Prussian blue uniforms onto the Hitler pic?

    • Doug King

      Now THIS is what I enjoy the most about TFB comments! You other guys are WAY over my pay grade with your experience

  • 40mmCattleDog

    Adopting a German rifle?! Was THIS all for nothing France?!

  • Black Dots

    Can’t believe the French switched to a piston gun.

    • Anonymoose

      From a lever-delayed blowback gun.

    • DW

      Sig 540 they used before FAMAS’s mass production is a piston gun.

      • john huscio

        Produced under license by Manurhin……a French company making quality guns…. that hasn’t existed in 20 years….

        • Calimero

          Well, Manurhin still exits and is actually very healthy… now that they have switched to building ammunition manufacturing machinery. Huge demand from emerging markets/armies that want to be independent.

  • john huscio

    Rotweil? Thought HK was based in Oberndorf

    • FarmerB

      Oberndorf is in the district (Kreis) of Rottweil. Rottweil is also a town in Kreis Rottweil.

  • A Fascist Corgi

    It’s strange how all of these countries with relatively small military budgets (compared to America) can afford to replace their assault rifles, yet you see people on this blog (like Nathaniel F) constantly arguing that the U.S. military can’t afford to replace the M4. It’s also noteworthy that they didn’t go with a DI AR like the M4. I mean, if the DI design is supposedly just as good as a piston (as the writers on this blog like Nathaniel F regularly argue), then why didn’t a DI AR win? And while the FN SCAR didn’t win, 2nd place isn’t too bad. That means that it probably came down to cost.

    • Ray

      Maybe an AR-15 wasn’t submitted, or its operating system didn’t meet the RFP.

      Also, HK rifles are hardly an inexpensive proposition.

      • Evan

        I have some friends in France who were keeping me updated on this. France wanted an EU-produced gun, and had some strange and very technical nuances to their tender.
        Only one French company applied for the production of the future rifle as France’s small arms industry has essentially ceased to be. The company in question, Verney Carron, was not considered capable of ensuring the maintenance of the rifles for 30 years, as well as a production rate of 16000 rifles a year. In addition rumor had it that they were offering a license-built Israeli design (probably the Tavor).

        MAS, provider of French infantry weapons since 1777 or there-abouts doesn’t even make guns anymore, and has essentially been defunct since 2001, since acquisition by Nexter, they’ve focused on artillery and vehicles.

        I don’t think the tender specifically requested a piston design but the Europeans have favored AR-18 derivatives as opposed to AR-15 designs, and the French were prioritizing reliability and durability over all, and thus looked upon piston systems favorably.

        Hope this helps.

        • RSG

          Wouldn’t be surprised if the design they were considering was something similar to the new Galil.

    • Gecko9mm

      Interesting, I think the argument I’ve seen is that a lot of piston implementations have problems. HK’s is recognized to be among the best if not the best–but when the improvements are marginal and you have a fleet of M4’s, it’s not worth the expense. You might have a point if France decided to swap a fleet of DI M4/M16’s but that isn’t what is happening is it? I think plenty of countries far more price sensitive have adopted M4’s so I’m not seeing anything actually noteworthy.

      • CommonSense23

        The improvements aren’t even marginal. When the SOPMOD M4A1 is run against the 416 with both guns running the same mags. The M4A1 comes out slightly on top.

        • Major Tom

          [Citation Needed]

          All military literature both press reports and official stuff I’ve read concludes the only real drawback to the 416 family is its price tag. At least anything that isn’t ALSO a flaw in the AR in general.

          Otherwise the Marine Corps IAR program would have just picked up some M16A3’s or M4A1’s, slapped on a bipod and called it the M27 instead of adopting the HK416A5 as the M27.

          • CommonSense23

            10th group did a test over a decade ago showing the MK18/M4A1 was the better gun than the 416. But both guns have had significant improvements since then. If you look at the last test with M855A1 the army did. Look at the parts breakage of the guns. Same with that old army dust test where they compared the M4 not the M4A1 against the competition.
            And the M27 is a retarded decision along with the that .45 Marsoc adopted a while ago.

          • NewMan

            “And the M27 is a retarded decisio”

            Not when it’s significantly better than the DI M4 at handling the new M558A1 round.

          • CommonSense23

            Which the Marine Corps isn’t currently using. Also M855A1 causes the gun to break more than the M4A1. And the issue with M855A1 was solved by the new mags the Army is going to. Or by just using PMAGs or the HK mags.

          • FoxOne

            That’s weird considering the Marine fired thousands and thousands of rounds through the M27 without any issues..

          • CommonSense23

            You realize the test just weren’t a couple thousand rounds right. The results of which one had the least class 3 malfunctions is open source.

          • Uniform223

            please keep yourself updated on current events.

          • Major Tom

            “10th group did a test over a decade ago showing the MK18/M4A1 was the better gun than the 416.”

            Again, [Citation Needed]. I’ve seen the results from the myriad competitions they’ve had since 2001 (including Individual Carbine), the DI M4 and M4A1 both had the highest rate of failures, shortest parts lives and the lowest scores on reliability relative to more or less ALL their competitors such as the 416, FN SCAR, ACR, and even Colt’s own Enhanced M4 which was basically take a stock M4, slap a piston in it instead and call it a day.

            Either all the competitions are suspect, or the 10th group claim is. (Or worse, everything’s suspect.)

            “And the M27 is a retarded decision”

            Agreed in one sense. It’s a very poor SAW. Can’t handle large volumes of fire (thin barrel, no QCB, etc.), has very low mag capacity relative to other LMG’s meaning much more frequent reloads especially considering the high cyclic rate of fire relative to things like the RPK series, among other things.

            And now they want to press it into a poor man’s DMR when there are MUCH better alternatives.

            Really they should have just adopted the M27 as their mainline infantry rifle instead of the crap they’re doing now.

          • Uniform223

            “I’ve seen the results from the myriad competitions they’ve had since 2001 (including Individual Carbine), the DI M4 and M4A1 both had the highest rate of failures, shortest parts lives and the lowest scores on reliability relative to more or less ALL their competitors such as the 416, FN SCAR, ACR, and even Colt’s own Enhanced M4 which was basically take a stock M4, slap a piston in it instead and call it a day”

            You should make more of an effort to keep yourself updated instead of rambling off a lot of nonsense that I would expect to read from some airsofting CoD head. NOT sorry to break it to you but the REALITY is that currently the M4A1 pretty much set the standard and that is a very tough standard to beat. You mention testing. The last major testing revealed something many people often overlook. Out of all the rifle/carbines tested the M4A1 had the LEAST amount of of class 3 stoppages… the WORSE KIND. All other stoppages (class 1 and 2) can be fixed at the user level with “SPORTS” or immediate action. One system however did outperform the M4A1 but even than it wasn’t dramatic enough to warrant a new procurement.

          • Uniform223

            “Otherwise the Marine Corps IAR program would have just picked up some M16A3’s or M4A1’s, slapped on a bipod and called it the M27 instead of adopting the HK416A5 as the M27.”

            Many people miss interpret or completely ignore the reason why the USMC went down the path of the IAR. It was an alternative to the M249. It wasn’t meant to be an outright replacement for the SAW or the M16A4 for the USMC.
            IMO the M27 doesn’t outright exceed the current M4A1 or M16A4 nor is it an viable alternative to the M249. It doesn’t do anything incredibly well nor does it do anything incredibly bad either. Why the USMC wanted an IAR in the first place is beyond me. IMO it would be essentially the modern day equivalent to the M1918 BAR. Replacing a full-auto belt fed system meant for suppressing fire that uses either a 100round “nutsack” or 200 round drum for a weapon system that uses a 30round magazine seems incredibly backwards to me. Of course UMCS commanders say that the accuracy of the M27 makes up for the volume of fire produced by the SAW… sure whatever.

          • n0truscotsman

            “Of course UMCS commanders say that the accuracy of the M27 makes up for the volume of fire produced by the SAW… sure whatever.”

            Hahaha god I know. I about had a seizure from rolling by eyes so hard after reading that…

        • jay

          “with both guns running the same mags”….
          This is a perfect example of how you can manipulate any test results to “prove” your predetermined opinion.
          Why don’t you tell us how they actually performed with the magazines they came with?

          • CommonSense23

            If you run them with the mags they were last tested with the HK breaks more. But has less class 1 and 2 malfunctions. If you run Pmags, or the current new stanag those class 1 and 2 malfunctions have a significant drop.

          • nadnerbus

            You have it exactly wrong. Using the same mags removes them as a variable, making the rifle itself the test subject. Since M4 and 416 are supposed to both be STANAG, it should not negatively impact reliability.

          • Uniform223

            “Using the same mags removes them as a variable, making the rifle itself the test subject”

            thank goodness someone recognizes the scientific method.

      • int19h

        “I think the argument I’ve seen is that a lot of piston implementations have problems”

        _AR_ piston implementations do, because AR BCG was not designed for it, so you either have to live with carrier tilt, or to implement fixes for it of varying effectiveness.

        Guns that are designed around piston from the get go don’t have problems (well, not due to piston specifically).

    • Joseph Goins

      It is all about the long game. The cost to replace FAMAS is less than the cost to keep it up and running over time.

      • Evan

        Not to even get into the fact that the FAMAS, its design predating a lot of modern “attachments”, is also getting expensive to create adapters and work arounds for… so not only can they not take advantage of the growing “add-on” market, they have to machine and tool their own work-arounds and home-brew solutions to have new dongle and whats-its, and no one to split the costs with.

        Economics of sheer scale is hard to compete with, even before limited budgets, finding replacement parts for a 30+ year old rifles, etc.

        • Tom

          Plus for a large part of the FAMAS time in service France operated a conscript army so its quite likely a lot of those weapons were not well maintained to begin with.

      • int19h

        Sure, but why not replace it with more FAMAS? Or if it’s outdated (but it’s younger than M16 family, no?), then replace it with something that has the same idea, but fixes the known problems?

        • Joseph Goins

          Economics that impact civilians affect governments too.

          France is the only army (of any size greater than 10,000) using it currently as the sole issued rifle, and that likely will not change. The tooling alone for <500,000 rifles would make the cost significantly higher than buying a popular rifle that will be around for decades (the HK 416). Parts will be cheaper, parts will be more easy to find, etc.

          This is why quality AR-15s cost significantly less than than quality AR-15 alternatives like the SCAR and Tavor.

    • n0truscotsman

      Your argument is flawed for several reasons, IMO.

      1.) No other european nation has the personnel and maintenance requirements as the American military. Thats a Department of Defense that operates thousands of gen 4 and 5 aircraft, the largest navy in the world (with nuclear super carriers), a massive and technologically advanced army, and a thermonuclear arsenal. Plus the logistical tail of all of those things.

      2.) No other european nation is investing in programs of substantial breakthrough and technological development like the F35 to use an example. Or stealth destroyers.

      Onto this point,

      “I mean, if the DI design is supposedly just as good as a piston (as the
      writers on this blog like Nathaniel F regularly argue), then why didn’t a
      DI AR win?”

      Because, as far as I know, no DI designs were submitted. Not by US or Canada Colt.

      Off the top of my head, the contenders were the 416, the SCAR, the new VHS2, Beretta’s ARX, and one of SIG’s (somebody correct me if Im mistaken)

      IMO, the 416 is the better choice, even if Im antithetical to gas piston conversions because I view them as needlessly superfluous. Other NATO nations have adopted and standarized the 416 as well.

      We already tried the whole M4 replacement route. Nothing was proven to be measurably superior.

      • Tritro29

        1. That doesn’t make sense. They don’t have the personnel issues, because they don’t have the personnel, and proportionally they have LESS money to spend on manpower and procurement.
        2. Actually yes, given the program is a multinational context, Europeans have paid their share, some countries like Italy and Spain actually have paid too much for their budgets, but that’s another topic.

        DI’s were about as good as dead on this procurement.

        The better choice…I don’t know. QTeams in the UK picked up the MCX vs the HK416 and then the FN won a Dutch replacement contract for 5000 rifles last year. At this point quality is on par.

        • James Young

          No one knows the better choice, but I would like to see the details of the tests these countries do in these competitions

          • Tritro29

            I think all these rifles are largely on par, the difference is pricing and extras.

        • n0truscotsman

          1.) It makes perfect sense. European armies can purchase smaller quantities of rifles for tens of thousands of combat troops, if that. They aren’t researching and fielding, for example, *THOUSANDS* of 5th generation multirole aircraft to use one example.

          And what other military has to finance the entire current capability of the US Military? none thats what. Big difference

          2.) Again, who besides the US is planning on purchasing 2,000 F35s? anybody? and the nations that are planning on purchasing it are doing so because its the *only* 5th gen option available for mass production. Unless there’s another I dont know about.

          “DI’s were about as good as dead on this procurement.”

          So which rifle that competed for the contract was DI, again?

          • Tritro29

            1. Thousands of multirole 5th gen aircraft such as? To date you’ve contracted Less than 500 5th gen aircraft with half on them being still in gestation (F35). There’s NO need for the US to research and field a military that has long gone beyond its nominal task, which is to defend the USA. America has a policy of imposing its will, in line with most imperial powers, well you can’t have your cake and eat it. You want to be Top Dog, you pay for that. Therefore there no difference, the political decision to maintain a juggernaut of a military is cash thirsty. Period.

            2000 F35…hahah there’s a zero too many. It will be a miracle if 200 are fielded until 2030.

            DI’s was a dead end for the French military because they’ve fielded DI before you were born. And they have been trying hard to use any other system but DI. So yes it was as good as dead.

          • n0truscotsman

            Re-read what I said, “They aren’t researching and fielding, for example, *THOUSANDS* of 5th generation multirole aircraft to use one example.”

            The US plans on procuring roughly 2000 F35s.

            “There’s NO need for the US to research and field a military that has
            long gone beyond its nominal task, which is to defend the USA.”

            You’re preaching to the converted with the rest of that paragraph, as I have my own personal opinions about US foreign policy that would outright piss off many people here and elsewhere.

            Dont think for a moment my mention of the facts regarding our military procurement situation is somehow an endorsement of it. Because it isn’t.

            “It will be a miracle if 200 are fielded until 2030.”

            That remains to be seen. The naysayers have been *saying* this for a while now, but its all conjecture.

            “DI’s was a dead end for the French military because they’ve fielded DI before you were born”

            …which was replaced because by the time it entered service, it was already obsolete. Full power cartridge, 10-round magazine, etc, compared to other nations already fielding battle rifles and kalashnikovs.

            It wasn’t because of any hypothetical “flaw” in the DI design, if thats what you’re implying. Like the M/42, it became obsolete in a world that would eventually be dominated by assault rifles.

            And France has historically (continues to do so) used a variety of small arms, so them adopting a C8 or M4 was not completely out of the realm of reality. There needed to be a contender to offer a rifle.

            “And they have been trying hard to use any other system but DI”

            I would like to see evidence of that assertion. and the reasoning.

          • Tritro29

            The Us plans to procure 2000 F35 in a multi decade time span, As such that
            plan might end up like the 1000 initially planned F22 Raptors…Furthermore, the US as only budgeted the purchase of 387 planes so far…which is huge, but there’s no expense for the rest paid as of yet. Also because the F35 has turned out to be a sour lemon.

            Once again, I understand what you’re saying, but again, the burden as it stands, is proportionally bigger on European states, because they’ve lost the power to print their own cash, like you know who.

            As for France and DI’s, France tried DI with it’s own research before both with model 54 round (7.62 NATO) and It’s own 7.65. The guns were rejected (Including a very nifty bull-pup) for the Model 62 FAMAS. Which was a KalashniFal or a “Le Falashnikov”.

            For the French military DI was a dead end since then…Obviously the US sees it differently, but again, that confirms the mutual exceptionnalism of both France and USA.

            Evidence? All rifles adopted since the end of the MAS 49/54 have been NON-DI…

          • n0truscotsman

            1.) The outcome of the F35 program remains to be seen. period.

            There is much sensationalism and outright fraudulent information being peddled by the opposition, which has been refuted over and over again. Which has ironically distracted from the legitamite questions regarding the entire program (which will probably not even get touched).

            As I said before, the F35 is *one* example.

            2.) European states do not have the logistical tail or number of produced vehicles that require maintenance to remain serviceable, or, at minimal, ‘revivable’ in mothball. What european country, for example, has thousands of modern MBTs in service? which have their own significant requirements for operational use?

            3.) Thats false cause, not evidence.

          • Tritro29

            The outcome of such a program is written in the wall, really, and we know a couple of things about it in Russia, (multiple Iak and MiG programs that were researched and even ready to produce never went past confidential numbers or were dead in the water). It is also a very not about sensationalism in this case as the Soviet union suffered as much failures and delays with the YAK 41/141 before you guys came along and asked for their blue prints. Off course the program in the US has gone in a different scale as of now and it’s only a lip service to what you bought from us in the mid 90’s. However there’s a proportional scale here that you just don’t seem to take into account. The US can print it’s own money and therefore can control its spending way beyond what most EU countries can.

            Now which European country? Russia…;-). But more honestly a country like Greece has over 1000 MBT some of which cost more to maintain than to scrap (M48’s). Ironically the US and MBT’s a quite peculiar choice, since the US is basically a huge island therefore it needs a different logi train than say Russia or Germany. When you add to that the fact that the Us likes 60+ ton tanks, well then you’re into a whole world of self induced pain.

            The DI question in France is a clear cut NO, you might not like it, but it is that way. As I said in the FAMAS thread, France had a first hand experience with the M16 when the gun was inspected by the French Military attaché in Vietnam. The French subsequently tested the round and rifle when the decision was taken to stop working on a 7.62 rifle and embark on a .223 adventure. And they didn’t retain DI but went to a mechanism they knew from their AA-52/ANF1. This again is a industrial choice along with a design compromise.

      • Major Tom

        Reason 1 is a poor decision. The Russians are deciding to replace their AK-74’s in the ongoing Ratnik stuff (AK-12, A-545) and they more or less have the exact same problems and scale as the US military one way or another.

        The big difference is Russia’s military budget is a tad tight because of lower oil prices.

        • Tom

          Russia maintains two large bases outside of the CIS the US maintains over 400. That all costs a cast amount of money that other nations who maintain a few dozen overseas bases do not have to worry about. Of course there is probable still not the money to replace the AK74M.

          • Major Tom

            Russia has more personnel and equipment (including nukes) than the US military however. Cost of deployment and forward operating areas is not the only cost in a military.

        • n0truscotsman

          What the Russians plan on adopting is pure conjecture at this point. I hear differing stories, from the AK12, to the “new” AK12 which is just a AK400, to the A545. Nobody knows but those personally involved in the project. Given Russia’s intent to modernize other aspects of its armed forces, the most conservative option is most likely.

          and going back to the main issue. Why would we *need* to replace the M4 anyways? Its one of the most reliable 5.56mm carbines in service today, being comparable to anything else on the market.

      • Max

        2.) Err… several European countries are on board the F-35 program and involved in its development. This isnt a purely American aircraft you know.

        Regarding stealth destroyers, Type 45/Horizon/LCF-class destroyers have been in service with the UK, French, Italian & Dutch navies for years now.

        As a matter of fact, European navies began fielding steath ships much earlier than the US Navy did. Steath ships like the French La Fayette-class frigate and the Swedish Visby-class corvette have been in service since the mid-90s and early 2000s respectively. The US Navy only recently jumped on the bandwagon.

        • n0truscotsman

          So how many of those nations are planning on fielding 2,000 plus F35s? how many have the R&D infrastructure for producing that many gen 5 fighters? and how many of those nations’ navies are as large as the American navy? even if combined?

          I was speaking in terms of proportionality, which European nations, even when unified, dont even touch US expendetures and requirements.

          So my original point stands, “No other european nation has the personnel and maintenance requirements as the American military.”

          And regarding other european nations’ “stealth” ships. Again, its proportionality when it comes to expendetures.

          European nations buy HK416s, for example, because they can easily replace older rifles for a few ten thousand personnel. Try doing this for an armed force over a million in strength total, with other breakthrough technologies like the F35 and Zumwalt competing for their share of the DOD budget. Not to mention thousands of modern armored vehicles in service and their support requirements.

          Totally different animal. I wish people would stop trying to compare the US with European ones.

          • Max

            “European nations buy HK416s, for example, because they can easily replace older rifles for a few ten thousand personnel. Try doing this for an armed force over a million in strength total, with other breakthrough technologies like the F35 and Zumwalt competing for their share of the DOD budget. Not to mention thousands of modern armored vehicles in service and their support requirements.”

            That makes zero sense. You make the assumption that European militaries dont have any “big ticket” programs to fund which is silly. France in particular has many expensive procurement and R&D programs under way (like next generation SSN, major armored vehicles replacement, steath UCAV program, MBT upgrade, continuous Rafale procurement and upgrade,etc). Not to mention they also have to maintain and modernize a nuclear deterrent force that eats a significant part of their defense budget each year.

            Btw, your “over a million in strength” number is exaggerated. You gave me the total manpower of US armed forces, air force and navy included. Obviously not all of them are grunts and need a rifle…

          • n0truscotsman

            That makes perfect sense. Repeating myself again, read the part where I said about ‘proportionality’. *what* european nation is planning on fielding 2000 F35s for example? what navy is equivalent to size and logistical scope of the US Navy?

            Stealth was *one* example. What other european countries are undertaking the defense research the US DOD currently is?

            “Obviously not all of them are grunts and need a rifle…”

            Its not exaggerated, and, you might want to *rethink* what you wrote.

            Are you suggesting that there should be not enough rifles to re-equip everybody in the armed forces? because they “dont need it”? well, WTF is the point of having an armed force then without something so basic as small arms?

            *that* makes no sense.

            And what is the point of fielding another rifle, say, for combat personnel? Especially when there is nothing measurably superior on the market today?

          • Max

            Laughable. US has a much bigger budget to cope with the large size of its armed force and its logistic requirements, procurements, etc. You love to talk about “proportionality” but you dont seem to get that the US spends nearly 4% of its GDP on defense for Chist’s sake (an insane % IMO, even China doesnt spend as much…). Thats twice or thrice the percentage spend by European countries therefore all your talk about the inability/unwillingness of the US to procure a new assault rifle because of “2.000 F-35s”, “one million strength army”, “R&D”, bla bla bla, is just pure BS. If the US is truly unable to do that with its excessive, bloated defense budget then there must be something really wrong with how it spends its money.

            “So what? Need I get into current US programs right now? One could write an entire series of articles covering that, which make Nathan’s intermediate cartridge series look like a Jehovah’s witness brochure”

            My point was that the French defense budget, like many other countries budgets, in under pressure and has many things to fund therefore your argument that is easier for them to adopt a new assault rifle because they dont have the size of the US military and its logistic requirements, etc, just makes no sense.

            Anyway i think i am done with you. “Arguing” with you make my head hurts and i dont like the subtle Euro bashing in your posts too. Calling European armies ‘toy armies’, the same armies who helped you in your BS war in Afghanistan and had hundreds of casualties, is pretty disrespectful. No wonder you guys have so few friends in this world with an arrogant and dismissive attitude like this.

          • n0truscotsman

            “US has a much bigger budget to cope with the large size of its armed forces and its logistic requirements, procurements, etc.”

            Any growth of the teeth requires a equally proportional tail, which multiplies with modern armies.

            The US Military, being the most sophisticated on the planet, has unparalleled maintenance and logistics requirements which need to be maintained amidst the adoption of new weapons and equipment. Finite resources, despite the ill-informed pontificating that it somehow has infinite money.

            “is just pure BS”

            Why? because you say so?

            You’re arguing against reality, which I cannot address specifically.

            “If the US is truly unable to do that with its excessive, bloated defense
            budget then there must be something really wrong with how it spends its
            money.”

            ummmm, now *youre getting somewhere*!

            “They have their own budget issues regarding procurement, R&D,
            logistics, operations, etc. Not to mention the French are fighting wars
            in Mali, Syria & Iraq and that puts an additional strain on their
            smaller defense budget.”

            Let me remind you that France has more or less 100,000k personnel (counting everybody, not just combat troops). And have been mostly using rifles first adopted in the *1970s*.

            They have more to gain from adopting a new rifle than the US military does. Which goes to another question: what would the replacement be?

            “Calling European armies ‘toy armies’, the same armies who helped you in
            your BS war in Afghanistan and had hundreds of casualties, is pretty
            disrespectful.”

            Yes, toy armies. Fighting an insurgency, often, in battlespaces where there is little enemy activity.

            And you accuse the war in afghanistan of being BS, when Europe allowed the tragedy of Kosovo to continue unabated, that is until the United States mobilized.

            I hate foreign interventionism, but you might want to reconsider your position, given the facts. Its hard for many to accept the American role is shoveling the world’s stable, after all.

            “No wonder you guys have so few friends in this world with
            an arrogant and dismissive attitude like this.”

            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_trade_of_the_United_States

            We have no problems with ‘friends’ 😉

    • Joshua

      Uhh because this was limited to EU companies only…the only AR pattern submitted was the HK416.

      Canada and US companies were not allowed to submit.

      You should do some research before you spout nonsense and make a fool of yourself.

    • BillC

      You are literally the dumbest person on the internet. Not necessarily for your views, but how you arrived to your conclusions. Begone, idiot, begone.

    • DIR911911 .

      how many other countries budgets include a nuclear arsenal , multiple aircraft carriers , and non stop conflict in at least two battlefronts?

    • Bullphrog855

      Did a DI gun even enter the contest?

    • Blake

      I don’t even know where to start… do you have a need to rise out of the water and immediately begin firing? If not, there is zero net benefit to having a piston AR. Militaries do have this requirement so it makes sense for them to desire piston builds. But in just about any other instance it makes no sense to have a heavier, more complicated gun with more potential parts to break or lose.

      • CommonSense23

        The shooting straight out of the water thing is a major no no even with the 416. There is a reason dry bags were invented. And the vast majority of Seals and all of Marsoc use the standard M4A1 instead of the 416 anyway.

      • Uniform223

        So all the years where Special Forces used the M4 in maritime operations and training means absolutely nothing?

  • John John Slade

    FN really pissed because French Army choose HK? Well, the problem is FN SCAR kinda expensive(according to them) which FN doesn’t give better offer.

    • Major Tom

      And HK is cheap?

      • Vitsaus

        To agencies and governments, yes. Only the serfs who buy guns as range toys have to pay premium for them.

        • John

          Yeah. Norway got them for a song and dance. Oh wait. They nearly went bankrupt buying HK416s.

          • Gus Butts

            I nearly went bankrupt buying an MR223, am I Norwegian now?

          • Scott Connors

            Could be. Are you pining for the fjords?

          • Calimero

            You just have to identify as one and it’s good.

          • iksnilol

            Norway going nearly bankrupt? Yeah.. I don’t buy that one.

          • Martin M

            Norway has hit hard time with oil prices being driven down. They even had their Officers turn in their sidearms as a cost saving measure.

          • iksnilol

            I call male bovine manure on that.

            I don’t know who told you that, but they’re yanking your leg. The military wants to remove pistolas from general issue to save money (Whilst those in theater keep them). Though this is debated hotly and won’t pass. Sadly, police officers do keep their sidearms. As you probably know, police in general shouldn’t be trusted with firearms. I mean, they’ve shot themselves accidentally more than they’ve pulled the gun (without firing) on criminals.

          • Martin M

            Sorry, but it’s all true. Norway’s budget is 20% petroleum revenues, and $30ish crude has been hurting them. Full disclosure, their budget has been in deficit this entire decade, but the oil crunch the last two years is causing a serious budgetary problem. So, yeah, pulling sidearms to save money. Every Kroner counts.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, calling bovine manure still. You come with claims, yet no source (or sauce as we kids call it).

          • Martin M

            Actually the sidearm article was here on TFB. Just do a quick search.

          • iksnilol

            Yeah, they’re pulling the sidearms because the uparming was temporary due to terror threat.

            And it was only a suggestion to remove the firearms on patrol officers. Doubt it is goign through.

          • Kivaari

            How does turning in officers guns, that already exist and were paid for, salvage a budget?

          • Martin M

            I would assume no maintenance, training, or ammunition costs. I thought it was a strange move.

    • lostintranslation

      I’ve visited and travelled around Norway on 5 separate occasions…summer and winter.
      Outstanding Schools, Universities and Hospitals and overall, a high standard of living.

    • Albino

      Some French special forces already uses the scar, maybe they thought they had some vantage ot something like it.

  • Blake

    Thanks for the comprehensive update.

  • forrest1985

    French adopting 416 and Germany wanting a new rifle…nothing to do with EU wanting a European Army then?

  • Pete Sheppard

    Next stop for the emergent Fourth Reich–Britain and their silly L85! AFTER HK milks them for the notional L85A3…

    • GD AJax

      So basically a 21st Century G11? Because anything that isn’t Caseless or Telescoped ammunition is just going to be more weight in ten years.

      Neo-Ottomans are more a of a threat than modern Germany could ever be.

    • John

      Doubtful. Britain left the EU, remember? Any Heckler and Koch rifle would be probably double the asking price for them, which is already steep.

      • Rock or Something

        The UK has only passed the public referendum on the issue. The politicians and the new cabinet has to still hammer out the finer points of the EU withdrawal details, which could take awhile, maybe even a few years. Even after the UK leaves the EU block however, there is nothing stopping both the EU and Britain from negotiating alternative trade deals with one another, so the price for commodities and products (including military service rifles) wouldn’t necessary change a whole lot.

  • LazyReader

    If the French wanna sell their FAMAS’ to American’s look me up. It would be the rare last example of capitalism left in France

  • DW

    A German rifle based on an American design and the only difference is the piston, which is a Soviet/American hybrid. The rifle has nothing French in it and is funny in this way. France military had always insisted on French design (elements) or at the very least French manufacture. This is new.

  • anonymous

    “Heckler & Kock CONFIRMED Winner of French AIF Rifle Contract”

    I first read that as “Winner of the French AIR Rifle Contract”, and wondered (1) when did HK start making air rifles, and (2) why are the French buying air rifles.

    Time for my morning coffee…

  • LazyReader

    The French do not have the industrial capacity to manufacture the rifles so Germany will do it for them. It’s a good thing France and Germany never went to war with each other historically.

    • DIR911911 .

      or maybe look at it as they are both part of the EU and get along so well now that this is not an issue.

      • john huscio

        That will change eventually…. maybe sooner….

        • Tom

          Whilst I think the EU will disintegrate sooner rather than later the Frankish union/alliance between France and Germany will likely remain as strong as ever.

    • Samael527

      Because clearly the political situation in Europe is comparable to the one that existed 70 and 100 years ago.

  • RSG

    The most telling nugget of info in the article was that the French don’t have the capabilities within their own borders to manufacture these themselves, with license, to high enough quality standards. Yet, had the contract been for “surrender flags”, they’d be able to produce the most versatile, reliable and functional product ever known to man.

    • DIR911911 .

      quantity , not quality

      • Rob

        Hk also gets their Steel from France. So without France the rifles wouldn’t exist either.

  • jay

    Man, what a sad situation France is in. Not only they can’t design a modern rifle to equip their own army, but they can’t even find a company capable to build a German rifle under licence!!!!

    This is what globalism does for stupid countries. Makes them completely dependent to foreign companies, even for basic things like a bloody rifle.

    • john huscio

      I guess GIAT, CEAM, Manuhrin, Manufacture d’armes de Châtellerault…………

      all gone…..

      • Tritro29

        GIAT bought MAC,MAT and MAS and has become Nexter. CEAM is still CEAM.

    • Samael527

      Why does it matter? Are you afraid the Germans are gonna invade again?

      • John

        In fact, it’s rather nice that the Germans are afraid of immigrants invading and destroying their culture for a change.

      • James Young

        Germans could do the opposite…they might not like a war France is involved in and cut off H&K from providing arms to France.

    • Tom

      Its also stupid to wast vast sums of public money on supporting manufacturers to produce uneconomical products. The French will not be able to sell the rifle abroad or even domestically and no company is willing to invest in the tooling and machinery to set up a line which will realistically be operating only for a few years without a massive subsidy which would be against EU rules so even for a socialist state like France the sums simply do not add up.

      If it was something particular special like nuclear reactors/weapons there is argument for preserving those workers and their skills. But should the need arrive for what ever reason an industrialised nation like France will be able to reverse engineer the 416 and set up local production it will just not be as cheap as buying them from Germany. And frankly if anything happens to disrupt the supply of weapons from Germany then France is probable toast anyway.

      • jay

        The problem is that, if something happens and they need to boost production, to get more rifles, the Germans may need to do the same and the German needs will take priority. Have a look at the supply of weapons right before the start of WW2. All of a sudden everyone needed weapons and most foreign contracts were either cancelled or took a back seat on the production line. Those with production capability, immediately cranked up production, those without, were left hanging.
        In my opinion, having a production line ready, for your basic infantry rifle should be basic requirement for any independent country.

        • Fozzy

          This is throwback fashy thinking. WW3 will not be a shooting war.

          • CharlesH

            Unless the parties involved realize the stupidity of using nuclear weapons. It would at least start as a shooting war.

        • James Young

          True…thats why the Belgium company (FN) may have been the wiser choice. Or just pick an AR15 and get your parts from thousands of American companies

        • Tritro29

          This completely misses the point that the FAMAS isn’t dead yet and there are about 150 thousand rifles that are in reserve (most of them undergoing Valorisé upgrade). No sensible military gets into a “replacement” program without a back up.

    • Tritro29

      1. France has at least 4 designs they prepared to replace their MAS 49. Among these the Fusil C. They also had a very simple T62 rifle that they can always look into.
      2. They can’t find that company because of European Regulations that sets the YoY turnover of the contracting company at 80 million euros, that excludes pretty much MOST of the firearm companies in Europe.
      3. Ironically Germans use French steel and alloys for their high end recievers (H&K G28, probably for AIF).
      Makes no difference from Germans using Nexter guns on their PUMA IFV’s.

    • Wolfgar

      Yes it is sad since they don’t even produce their own ammunition anymore. They have to outsource their 5.56 ammo from other countries.

  • Ilgar Değirmenci

    “The new rifles will apparently not be made under license, as the French government could find no French manufacturer who could produce a high enough quantity of weapons to meet the French Army’s needs”

    I am not French, but this is very shameful…

    • nadnerbus

      Considering the goal of the EU, it makes sense. Why have every member country design and produce its own rifle? That would be inefficient and redundant.

      The reality if the EU is another thing entirely, but that’s another topic.

    • Tritro29

      … The French state had European Regulations to comply, notably regarding the capability of the contractor to fulfill the contract. You know unlike somewhere where two stoners could sneak their way in a 300 million USD contract and actually win it. That’s how it is…At least the French don’t pretend to build their own by simply slapping some name on a license rifle.

  • NewMan

    For the people that keep on bringing up the DI M4.. It wasn’t part of the trial not only because it isn’t Euro but also because the DI M4 is having issue with the new M855A1. Unlike the SCAR and 416. the DI M4 just can’t handle the new super hot round in large volume.

    • Evan

      Sure it can. That’s old rumor and scuttlebutt. M855A1 is perfectly fine and safe in the M4. They actally downloaded the specs so it’s below 59,000psi chamber pressure, which is well within the design spec and the army is issuing new mags with the Magpul feed angle.

      • yodamiles

        Yeah, DI no longer have issue with M855a1. Moreover, no European nations are (or will) using m855a1, so I don’t think they ever take this into consideration anyways.

      • NewMan

        the new mag is just a band-aid fix.

        with the DI M4. You have to replace the bolt pretty frequently if you shoot a lot of M8551 through it.

    • 40mmCattleDog

      Do you just go around posting psuedo controversial drivel to make yourself feel smarter than you are?

    • CommonSense23

      You really might want to read about the army trials with M855A1 and see which gun broke the least with M885A1. Here’s a hint. It was the M4A1.

      • NewMan

        got link bruh?

        • Uniform223

          You must be new to this according to your name so I’d advise you to ignore the headline titles as it is often used as a form of click-bait.

          http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/aug/19/armys-quits-tests-after-competing-rifle-outperform/

          Here is something else to think about. The M855A1 was formerly adopted by the US Army in 2010 and was fielded and deployed in 2011. Testing showed that the round does increase chamber pressure and barrel wear. However it has been 5 years since its introduction and there has been no official report or story about the round causing catastrophic breakdowns or malfunctions of any weapon systems that use the M855A1 EPR.

          • NewMan

            That link doesn’t prove anything, at all…

          • Uniform223

            If anything it proves that the M4A1 is in some cases the most reliable as it had the LEAST amount of major malfunctions as stated by the test done by the CNA.

  • Quest

    Still the biggest waist of money ever. “Future Individual Weapon” technically outdated since 3decades, in just a few years totally outdated to Rifles that will come. For direct frontline troops a replacement is no problem, but 900000 Rifles is just stupid. Rather help some poor children. And “30 years”… just no way.

    • Tritro29

      There’s a zero too many. It’s 90 thousand rifles, not 900 thousand. Which would be the approximative size the French military had back in the days of CW.

      • Quest

        Yes. Overlooked that.

  • James Young

    Always risky to buy weapon systems from countries that may not like the side you’re on in the next war. But what choice does France have at this point, France ran gun business out of their country.

  • Core

    In the end they will adopt something from FNH, I would think. But the HK416 is probably one of the most versatile combat rifles out of the box. It’s just scary think they plan to adopt a Stoner designed platform for the next 30 years.. it would probably be the most logical thing France has ever done.

  • Jackson Andrew Lewis

    the french will cancel the procurement……..