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Lithgow F88

Assault rifle

F88

The Lithgow F88 is an Australian license-produced version of the Austrian Steyr AUG

 
 
Country of origin Australia
Entered service 1989
Caliber 5.56x45 mm
Weight (unloaded) 3.8 kg
Length 805 mm
Barrel length 508 mm
Muzzle velocity 950 m/s
Cyclic rate of fire 650 rpm
Practical rate of fire 40 - 100 rpm
Magazine capacity 30 rounds
Sighting range ?
Range of effective fire 450 ~ 500 m

 

   The Lithgow F88 is an Australian license-produced version of the Austrian Steyr AUG A1. This Australian weapon is commonly known as AUSTEYR. It was selected by Australia in 1985 as a standard issue infantry weapon, which would replace the M16A2 assault rifle and L1A1 self-loading rifle. Some modifications were made to AUG in order to suit local requirements. This assault rifle was produced in a Lithgow factory (now operated by Thales Australia). Deliveries commenced in 1989. The F88 has been exported to New Zealand. Currently Australian Army is looking for a new next-generation assault rifle to replace the F88.

   The F88 is a gas-operated, selective fire weapon with a bullpup layout. It is one of the few successful assault rifles with such layout. It is chambered for the standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. This weapon has got a polymer housing and employs a high level of synthetic materials and light alloy components in its internal design. The F88 proved to be a reliable weapon with good ergonomics and decent accuracy.

    The Lithgow F88 has a modular design. This weapon can be quickly adapted to a different roles by simply changing the barrel. The standard rifle barrel is 508 mm (20") long. There is also a carbine barrel, which is 407 mm (16") long. Barrel replacement takes only a few seconds.

   A safety button is located above the pistol grip. The shooter uses trigger to control the firing mode. Pulling the trigger half the way, will result in a single shot, while the full pull will result in full-auto fire. However the F88 has a selector, which disables the "full-auto" firing mode. This feature was not present of the Steyr AUG.

   This weapon is fully ambidextrous. There are two symmetrical ejection ports, one of which is always covered. Enlarged triggerguard of this assault rifle allows to fire wearing winter gloves.

   This assault rifle is fed from translucent polymer magazines, that hold 30 rounds. Though these magazines are not compatible with standard NATO (M16-type) magazines.

   This assault rifle is fitted with integral telescopic 1.5x magnification sight as a primary sighting equipment. It is set for 300 m range. On top of this sight there are backup iron sights. However these are used only in case of emergency. The whole integrated sight can be used as a carrying handle. Currently Australian Army uses an improved version of the F88. It has a Picatinny-type scope rail instead of the integrated sight. However the carrying handle has been deleted.

   The F88 has also got a vertical grip. When not in use, it is folded and used as a foregrip.

   The Lithgow F88 can mount a 40 mm M203PI grenade launcher. It is a modified version of the US M203A1 grenade launcher, which can not be mounted on the F88, as it is too short. It seems that rifles equipped with 407 mm (16") and 508 mm (20") barrels are capable of launching barrel-mounted riffle grenades.

   The F88 has a bayonet lug.

   This Australian assault rifle has its own variants, that differ from the Austrian Steyr AUG variants.

 

Variants

 

   F88 is the baseline version with a 508 mm (20") barrel. It has a built-in optical 1.5x magnification sight, which also acts as a carrying handle.

   F88C is a carbine version with a 407 mm (16") barrel. The carbine version is used by cavalry, military police, paratroopers, reconnaissance units, and other troops, that do not require a full-size assault rifle.

   F88S-A1 is a version with an integrated Picatinny-type scope rail. This weapon is normally used with an optical sight. It can also mount night vision sights or various other scopes. The carrying handle has been deleted.

   F88S-A1C is a carbine version of the F88S-A1. It has got a 407 mm (16") barrel.

   F88GLA is a designation of the F88, equipped with an M203PI underbarrel grenade launcher. Vertical foregrip has been removed. Once fitted with a grenade launcher, this assault rifle can no longer mount a a bayonet.

   F88T is a training rifle, chambered for .22LR ammunition. This weapon provides an economical training alternative with very low ammunition cost.

   F88S-A2 is an upgraded version. It has a modified gas system and larger ejection port for improved reliability when using US ammunition. Also the F88S-A2 has a longer Picatinny-type scope rail. Also it has got side-mounted accessory rails for a tactical flashlight or night aiming device. A several thousands of these assault rifled were delivered in 2009. These are used by selected units that operate overseas, for example in Afghanistan.

   Advanced Individual Combat Weapon, is an experimental weapon, that fully integrated F88 assault rifle with a Metal Storm 40 mm multiple-shot grenade launcher into a single weapon. Development of this weapon was funded by Australian government. After successful technology demonstration the program was stopped. The resulting weapon was too heavy for effective military use. The loaded AICW was even heavier than the US XM29 OICW.

   EF88 (or Enhanced F88) is an improved versions, developed for the Australian LAND 125 Soldier Combat System Program. It has many distinctive upgrades and changes over the F88. It is better balanced, more comfortable to use and even more reliable than the F88. Also the It is significantly lighter.

   F90 is basically another designation of the EF88. It can be seen as a new-generation version of the Lithgow F88. It was first publicly revealed in 2012.

 

 
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