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F90

Assault rifle

F90

The Thales F90 is an improved next-generation version of the Lighgow F88

 
 
Country of origin Australia
Entered service ?
Caliber 5.56x45 mm
Weight (unloaded) 3.25 kg
Length 700 mm
Barrel length 407 mm
Muzzle velocity ?
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 F90 assault rifle was developed by Thales Australia, which operated a former Lithgow factory. It is a version of the EF88 assault rifle, developed for the Australian LAND 125 Soldier Combat System Program. In turn the EF88 is an improved version of the Lithgow F88, which is a license-produced version of the successful Steyr AUG and is currently a standard-issue infantry weapon in Australia. So essentially the F90 can be seen as a new-generation version of the F88. The F90 assault rifle was first publicly revealed in 2012. Initial production was scheduled for 2013.

   The F90 is a gas-operated, selective fire weapon with a bullpup layout. It is chambered for the standard NATO 5.56x45 mm ammunition. It has many distinctive upgrades and changes comparing with the original F88. It is better balanced, more comfortable to use and even more reliable than the previous weapon. Also the F90 is 500 g lighter than the F88.

   Internally the F90 is similar to the previous F88, however it has a modified gas block and receiver. The receiver is made of aluminum alloy to reduce weight. This weapon has got a polymer housing with improved shape of the buttstock. Both ejection ports and ejection covers were also modified to ensure reliable extraction. A bolt hold-open device was added to facilitate faster reloads.

   A safety button is located above the pistol grip. The shooter uses rhe 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.

   This weapon is fully ambidextrous. There are two symmetrical ejection ports, one of which is always covered. So the shooter can easily switch side to which spent cases are ejected. On the F90 these ports, as well as ejection covers were modified to ensure reliable extraction.

   The F90 uses the same translucent 30-round magazines as the F88 and Steyr AUG. These are not compatible with standard NATO (M16-type) magazines. However it is said that a NATO compatible version will be available in the near future.

   The F90 has a full-length Picatinny-type scope rail. It is intended to be used as standard with Trijicon ACOG 1.5x or 3.5x magnification optical sights. Other sights, such as night vision, can be easily installed. Iron sights are intended only for backup use. However this assault rifle has got no carrying handle, which was present of the original Lithgow F88.

   There are three additional rails for various accessories. This Australian assault rifle can mount a new lightweight add-on 40-mm ML40AUS underbarrel grenade launcher. It replaces the M203PI grenade launcher used with the F88. The ML40AUS has a range of effective fire of around 150 m. Maximum range is 400 m. For reloading it opens sideways. The grenade launcher can be quickly attached and easily removed when not required. A trigger guard of this new assault rifle was redesigned to accept this weapon.

   The F90 can also mount a bayonet or sound suppressor.

 

Variants

 

   F90 baseline version with a 407 mm (16") barrel.

   F90(G) is a designation of the F90, fitted with a 40-mm underbarrel grenade launcher.

   F90M or "Marksman" version with a longer 508 mm (20") barrel.

   F90M(G) is a designation of the F90M, fitted with a 40-mm underbarrel grenade launcher. It is more than 1.6 kg lighter than the original F88 rifle, equipped with M203PI grenade launcher.

   F90CQB or "Close Quarters Battle" version with a shorter 360 mm (14.17") barrel. This weapon is esentially a carbine or compact assault rifle. This version is not compatible with underbarrel grenade launcher.

 

 
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