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.