Improved F90 Modular Bullpup Rifle Officially Launched by Thales

Thales Australia has launched the newest update to its F90 bullpup assault rifle, at DSEI 2017. The weapon, which is the pre-production version of the prototype F90 Export shown off at IDEX 2017, sports a host of improved features versus both the legacy AUG and the F90. Thales released a press release describing the rifle, just prior to DSEI.

There have been some changes to the rifle since we saw the prototype that at IDEX. Perhaps most prominently, gone are the bolted-together receiver halves, replaced by the more traditional seamless vibration welding shared with the rest of the AUG family. A longer barrel, new flash hider with thread protector (presumably removable for mounting a suppressor) complete the visible changes from the IDEX prototypes. Thales advertises the F90MBR as a lightweight, modular weapon, featuring multiple barrel lengths, 3.25 kg (7.17 lb) weight, and “over the beach” capability. Interestingly, the company’s brochure on the weapon emphasizes a 600 meter effective range, as well. For left-handed shooters, the F90MBR includes an enlarged shell deflector to allow shooting from the left shoulder, even if the right-hand kit is installed (a left hand ejection kit is available for the rifle).

Eric Graves of Soldier Systems Daily reports Thales representatives assured him that the F90MBR’s feed ramps featured fully compatibility with the US Army’s new M855A1 round, which sports a hardened steel tip that can prematurely wear out some receiver designs. The F90MBR features a full steel trunnion/feed ramp design, so this does not surprise me.

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 is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at


  • DW

    This firing m855a1 would be hella terrifying.

    • Samuel Millwright

      If you really have a fear regarding a KB lemme know and I’ll fab you up a double layer steel, kevlar, Uhmwpe, hardwire, or etc receiver reinforcement and replacement set of blocker plates plus an active ejection port deflector that will channel both a kb and spent cases well away from your face…

      It’ll take longer to ship it to you than it will to make

      • DW

        I think you misunderstood. Not worried about kb at all, just saying you get EPR advantage in a hella short, milspec package that doesn’t have known accuracy issues.

  • FarmerB

    Thales is French.

    • The F90 is a Thales Australia product. You did catch a typo, though.

  • HotSteel

    They should have atleast used a short cylindrical section at the front, so that you not touch the HOT barrel while holding it……
    There is no proper way of holding it without risking to touch the barrel. Why add extra weight of a vertical foregrip and with that cause hand-misalignment too…

    • HotSteel

      *testing a bit on an AUG A2, you basicly only could hold at the gripguard and try to keep the thumb under the ledge. If you would grip with the thumb over the ledge behind the charging handle for a more solid grip – you again risk to touch the barrel.

    • JumpIf NotZero

      Oh sweetie, I’ll get you a pair of gloves.

      • HotSteel

        Sure, because gloves are made of unobtainium that does not transfer any heat. It only allows for a grip that is a bit more stable and risks touching the barrel. But cant hold the front in a proper way permanently, so your still limited. Its just not that well designed.

        • Nice if you have time to put the gloves on when your patrol on 50% security gets stumbled over while you’re asleep.

          Personally, I prefer rifles that won’t inflict painful (and incapacitating) burns on shooters who have to use them without Nomex PPE…

          • Samuel Millwright

            Go to youtube some time and look up Afghanistan and Iraq us army vids …

            You’re basically never ever going to see anyone outside the wire not wearing gloves…

    • gunsandrockets

      That’s what the 40mm GL is for!

  • Maximilian Johannes Benning

    All those different versions and none in .308

    • Sense

      Basicly no reason anyways.

    • Samuel Millwright

      And Steyr still hasn’t bought or just figured out the same two things troubleshooter berlin did before he was technically old enough to even own his own firearms!

      His 2 mods which need to be on every AUG

      1. Twinned charging handles (1L 1R) and a single universal bolt mod that allows you to literally swap ejection direction by jacking back the charging handle on the side you want it to eject from! No parts swaps … It’s actually faster than even arx 160!

      2. Additionally, he came up with a modified snap on deflector plate which radically altered ejection path to about 5-25 degrees to the right or left of straight forward! This setup was much superior to Steyr ACR FN F2000 desert tech MDR kel tec RDB / RFB and the ADS / 9a91 i believe it is of the Russians in that it doesn’t dribble shells right at your feet / elbow, nor throw them conveniently into your line of advance!

      A combination of these two (with a trick spring loaded mechanism that pops open and deploys the deflector assembly which is your ejection port blocker plate when not deployed.) Bonus points for there being a reciprocating dust cover for each port either in addition to or actively a part of the deflector assembly. Double bonus points for a really trick and simple way to open up both ports to say 175% of normal opening size or open up the entire chamber area like the BMCR bullpup can!

      Really it’s a shame how Steyr is completely unwilling to actually support a platform which should still be best in class if only they’d have actually done anything but let it stagnate…

      • Jirka Kýhos

        which weapon meets your first point ?

        • Samuel Millwright

          An Aug modified by an Austrian teenager using snapcaps alone until he got a chance to test on austrian army aug…

          • Jirka Kýhos

            Can you place hera some link about that

  • UWOTM8

    I notice that AR mag conversion….

  • JumpIf NotZero

    Cool. Still suppresses badly. Still sucks to reload. Still hard to use in nom-conventional shooting positions. I’ll keep my aug A1 that rarely sees the light of day.

    • iksnilol

      If tacticoolers like you dislike it, all the more reasons to like it.

  • Mitch

    Anyone who has seen Alien Covenenant knows this weapon is crap. It couldn’t even stop a face hugger, let alone a Xenomorph… : ) In all seriousness, love the looks and design improvements they’ve made. Hopefully JumpIf NotZero isn’t the prophet of all things guns, and AUG’s didn’t start sacking when they all found out that he’s mean to them.

    • Mitch

      Edit: sacking.
      AUG’s are not linebackers. And if they did start sacking, we’ll need bullet resistant robo-quarterbacks from here on out. Now, a Robocop football movie is all I can think of.

      • Mitch

        Arkham! Damn ADD… Your all know I meanthink to say “sucking” in my first post. Time to start a disqus account I guess.

        • ostiariusalpha

          Yes, please do that.

    • noob

      The Covenant was a corporate/civillian ship with civvie weapons. The Colonial Marines rely on M309 10x24mm caseless HEAP rounds for their M41A pulse rifles because their peer competitors all wear body armor.

      • noob

        Oh the fluff also points out something interesting – The Xenos have hard carapaces which set off the explosive tips on the 10mm caseless projectiles inside the bodies of the xenos. If the Xenos were squishy like unmodified humans the 10mm caseless would pass through and overpenetrate. lucky right?

    • moonstar

      Manufacturing this rifle is a pure political decision, not an economical one. Because AR-15 is better and more cheaper rifle than AUG. They should buy AR-15 from FN.

  • CA

    I’m sure this will be available in semi-auto right as I finish typing this…

  • Hoping this is the version that gets exported to the US.

  • cutamerc

    Has anyone shot these suppressed? How bad is the gas to the face?
    Thanks in advance.

    • 2805662

      Depends on the seal between the blanked-off ejection port. When shouldered, the ununsed port is right at the corner of the firer’s mouth. If the seal is poor, you get a face full of gas. Only an issue with some suppressors.

      • cutamerc

        Thanks for taking the time to reply. Is this an area that can be remedied with an RTV seal similar to the usual charging handle fix?

        • jono102

          Our armorers just started super glueing the ejection port covers on because they sometimes had a habit of coming loose. That seemed to solve both the gas escaping issue and losing covers. On the rare occasion they needed to convert the rifles, the glue could just snapped off with a tool.
          I’ve used a variety of suppressors on Steyrs (AUG’s and A3’s) and never had any issues

          • cutamerc

            Thank you, gentlemen. I appreciate it!

  • rychastings

    i wonder if the trigger is any better now

  • Samuel Millwright

    Nathaniel, do they not offer a model with the traditional folding foregrip at all?

    If not…between that, the stupid hump, and killing the bbl swap option they’ve completely ruined this gun

    • Marlon

      The barrel swap option was the dumbest part of the F88 platform.

      • Samuel Millwright

        For myself, investing in qcb mechanisms and my 2 hydras has most definitely been a great investment which i use pretty constantly.

        Now, I’m an outlier though… I acknowledge this

      • jono102

        In practical military terms (as with any service rifle with a QD barrel) it served little to no real purpose apart from making it a little easier to clean. Adding to that, coming up with dumb things little removing the barrel as part of the unload or inspection drill (ADF) increased the crazyness. Some in our military tried to bring the same drill in here (NZDF), luckily that idea got chucked out.

        • Marlon

          Yep. And the old guard here are having a heart attack that the new weapon can’t have the barrel removed to be proven clear.

  • noob

    So shooting hand accessible forward bolt release AND magazine drop free button – according to the F90MBR .pdf specs. That’s pretty big news! can we get a field strip photo to show how these buttons are hooked up?

    Thales is being pretty cagey about photos of the guts.

    • FourString

      I work for Thales, they’re pretty cagey about everything, including the Wi-Fi password.

      • noob

        Say hi to Ashley Maar for me if he’s still making Vs.

  • It may very well actually be “improved” to whatever degree– I’ll never lay hands on one, so ¯_(ツ)_/¯– but gawt day-um it is ugly as hay-hole. Looks like something Hi-Point would reject.

  • Gun Fu Guru

    This is the bullpup I have been waiting for.