Changes to the Austeyr rifle will include:
-- A new modular design that reduces the weight and improves the balance of the weapon;
-- The integration of NATO standard (Picatinny) rails to allow for a wide range of military off-the-shelf attachments to be fitted to the weapon to provide the flexibility to reconfigure the weapon according to the mission;
-- The integration of a grenade launcher attachment and grenade launcher sight into the rifle.
"The Austeyr rifles that our troops use are very effective," he said. "This project is about making them even better."
The bulk of the work will be done at the Soldier Systems Center in Lithgow, New South Wales. Rifles have been made at this site for the Australian Defense Force for the past 99 years.
"This $8 million investment will produce a qualified rifle design ready for production," Clare said.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]