The Atrax bullpup rifle was developed as a semi-automatic version of the Australian Defense Force’s F90. Lithgow Arms has been planning to sell the Atrax on the civilian market in the United States since 2016. However, a spokesman for Thales, the company that developed the upgrades for the Steyr AUG variant, announced that they were canceling plans for the civilian version based on “ethical grounds”.
TFB has kept readers abreast of the developments of the EF-88/ F90 bullpup rifle since its introduction in 2012. Thales won the contract to produce the F90 in 2014. TFB also reported on the first operational deployment to Iraq in 2017, where it reportedly earned the respect of those that fielded it. However, it was 2016 that brought multiple reports of a semi-automatic version. First, was the announcement of a semi-auto version being marketed for police. Later that year, it was announced that the semi-auto version of the F90, later named as the Atrax, would be offered on the civilian market.
The timing of the announcement to cancel civilian sales seems somewhat questionable from a business standpoint. In 2017, TFB reported that Lithgow Arms would be producing the Atrax bullpup rifle for the civilian market and that they were taking pre-orders. Furthermore, it was reported in 2018 that some of the components were being produced in the United States to meet importation compliance. TFB’s Nathaniel F. wrote:
Representatives of Dasan USA, the stateside manufacturer/importer, said that major components of the Atrax, including the barrel, were already being produced in their facilities within the country, to allow production weapons to comply with US import laws. Dasan Representatives said that the technical data package for the US-made components was transferred to the US from Australia, so each component made in the States adheres exactly to Lithgow’s methods and standards for that component.
You can read the rest of Nathaniel’s post here, which has more interesting data on the unique serialized receiver. The Australian reported that no F90 variants had been sold, other than to governmental agencies. There was no mention of where it leaves the Dasan company or those that pre-ordered in the wake of Thales’ “ethical” decision.
The video below is TFB TV’s James Reeves’ review of the Steyr AUG A3. Even though the Steyr isn’t exactly the same as the Atrax rifle, they share the same principles of operation and fielding. It seems that for the time being, the Steyr AUG A3 is the closest the civilian market will get to an Atrax. It should be noted that Steyr has also updated their rifles to be more modular as well as offering a .300BLK version.
Have you, or anyone you know already pre-ordered an Atrax bullpup rifle? Have you received any word as to how your money will be handled?