BREAKING: French Defense Procurement Department CONFIRMS Heckler & Koch HK416 Win for French Rifle Contract

Nathaniel F
by Nathaniel F

If any of you still had doubts about the HK416’s rumored win of the French AIF (Arme Individuelle du Futur – Future Individual Weapon) contract, doubt no more. The French DGA (Direction Générale de l’Armement, their defense procurement office) has released the final decision for the contract, naming Heckler & Koch as the winner. The press release is replicated in machine-translated form below:


The DGA award the contract to the Future Individual Weapon (AIF)

General of Armaments (DGA) the contract to the program “Individual Weapon Future” (AIF) in consortium Heckler & Koch France SAS and Heckler & Koch GmbH on September 22, 2016. The operation arming IAF seeks to replace the FAMAS whose design dates back to the 70. a call for competition at European level has to retain five proposals were evaluated by the DGA, in conjunction with the armed forces.
the assault rifle used is the HK 416 F. This rifle, NATO caliber 5.56 mm, has the ability to shoot rifle grenades and can receive a 40 mm grenade launcher to increase its firepower.
This market helps strengthen the strong ties between Germany and France in the defense and in particular the arms industry. It can meet the needs of the three services listed in the 2015 update of the law of military programming from 2014 to 2019 with the delivery of more than 100 000 weapons, accessories, ammunition and various services which promote the qualification, initial support and user training. Deliveries are scheduled from 2017 and will be spread over ten years.

If I had to speculate as to why Heckler & Koch beat its close rival Fabrique Nationale, it would be that the HK416 possessed features that the French evaluators felt were less troublesome than those of the FN SCAR. The SCAR’s reciprocating left-side charging handle – originally the product of a US SOCOM requirement – has been a thorn in its side ever since the rifle’s introduction on the international market. The polymer side-folding buttstock, too, may have caused the SCAR to suffer in durability tests, as it likely isn’t as shock-resistant as the HK’s AR-15-style fixed tubular sliding stock. None of this is to suggest that the SCAR is a bad rifle, but based on past French testing protocols these relatively minor issues may well have made the difference between the two rifles.

Fabrique Nationale has reportedly already submitted a protest to the contract award, so this story may not be over just yet.

Thanks to Daniel for the tip!

Nathaniel F
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. He can be reached via email at

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  • Hossi Blumengaarten Hossi Blumengaarten on Sep 28, 2016

    why didn' the french army just upgrade the FAMAS like the french navy??? so crazy that a german weapon won!!! does anyone know how many companies competed for this? was there any french company that submitted a rifle???

  • Mick Mick on Sep 29, 2016

    Although the H&K 416 is a very good assault rifle I'm somewhat surprised the French didn't stick with the bull-pup type assault rifles that the FAMAS assault rifle was.