Thales debuts new assault rifle – the F90
Thales has debuted its new F90 assault rifle at this year’s Eurosatory exhibition in Paris, France.
The F90 is an innovative and lightweight weapon that is a direct product of modern day soldier requirements on today’s battlefields.
Building on the company’s extensive Australian expertise in small arms, the F90 is evolved from a battle-proven weapon that has been in service in Australia and 30 other countries for over two decades.
Features include a rifle variant weight of 3.25kg with high levels of reliability and rapid target acquisition time. The bullpup design enables a longer barrel and associated higher muzzle velocity for greater stopping power within a compact overall length.
The weapon’s open architecture incorporates a NATO tri-rail system and optional NATO magazines, while a growth path allows for the fitting of centralised power, as well as data and powered rails. The F90 also includes an integrated side-loading 40mm grenade launcher that can be attached in just a few seconds by the soldier.
Thales Australia CEO Chris Jenkins said: “The F90 is a weapon ideally suited to the modern battlefield. Light, compact and adaptable, it offers armed forces a cost-effective upgrade with a substantial degree of future-proofing. It is evolved from a tried and tested platform that has been proven again and again on operations, and is backed up by 100 years of weapons engineering, as well as leading design expertise, at our facility in Lithgow, Australia.”
The F90 is identical to the EF88-designated weapon currently being developed by the company for Australia’s LAND 125 program, and is based on the F88 platform that has been in service and evolved in Australia since the late 1980s. The weapon will be available in five variants: F90; F90(G) (grenade launcher variant); F90M (’Marksman’ variant with a longer barrel); F90M(G) and F90CQB (Close Quarters Battle – a carbine). The Marksman variant is the same length as Australia’s in-service F88SA2, but is over 0.5kg lighter, while the equivalent grenadier variant is over 1.6kg lighter.
Thales is in cooperation with Austrian company Steyr Mannlicher to pursue specific opportunities, such as the French DGA FAMAS replacement project, utilising Steyr Mannlicher’s manufacturing experience and facilities.