Even though the French government has adopted the Heckler & Koch HK416F assault rifle to replace the aging FAMAS, it seems “Le Clairon” will remain in service for at least the next decade. The reason for this is the recent re-establishment of the French National Guard (Garde Nationale), which was stood up as the fifth branch of the French military in late 2016 by President François Hollande.
It seems the HK416, which will be procured over the next decade, ending in 2028, will first go to front-line French military units starting with the 13th Demi-Brigade of the Foreign Legion, with the FAMAS being progressively transferred to the National Guard as it is phased out of regular French Army units.
According to sources, the HK416 will be transferred first to units in the French Overseas Territories (FOT), although the 13 DBLE is currently deployed in Aveyron in Southern France, not abroad as usual.
2028 is the projected end date for procurement of the 93,080 HK416Fs that will equip the French Armed Forces, however it is unknown whether this number of rifles includes those needed to arm the new National Guard. It is possible, therefore, that the already near 40-year-old FAMAS could continue to equip National Guard units beyond its 50th birthday in 2028.