Thales Australia has unveiled the new F90, their latest version of the Steyr AUG. Steyr may have given up development of their AUG, but the Australians continue to evolve the design. The F90 is the commercial/export version of the EF-88 which Thales have been developing for the Australia’s LAND 125 upgrade program. Thales and Steyr will be entering the F90 in the French FAMAS replacement competition.
The F90 will be available in 5 versions, all of them chambered in 5.56mm NATO …
F90 Carbine : 16″ barrel, 27.5″ overall length, 7.1 lbs
F90(G) Grenade Carbine: F90 Carbine with 40x46mm grenade launcher, 9 lbs
F90M Marksman: 20″ barrel length, 31.5″ overall length, 7.5 lbs.
F90M(G) Grenade Marksman: F90M Marksman with 40x46mm grenade launcher, 9.57 lbs
F90CQB Close Quarters Carbine: 14.17″ barrel, 25.7″ overall length, 6.9 lbs.
Thales is bucking the barrel length trend. Most new rifle designs are featuring 14″ barrels as the carbine/standard length, 16″ as the marksman length and 10″ as the Close Quarters/PDW length. The extra length may be because of the need to attach a grenade launcher. I don’t think that the F90CQB would only expose the flash hider and the two or three inch forward picatinny rail is not enough on its own to securely mount the launcher.
It looks like a decent, mature modern design to fill the bullpup niche abandoned by many manufacturers.
[ Many thanks to Zarko & Lance for emailing us the info. ]