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Australian troops to receive new rifle variant

Funding to provide Australian troops with an advanced F88 assault rifles has been approved by the government.

By Richard Tomkins
Australian troops to receive new rifle variant
A Royal Australian Navy sailor fires an F88 assault rifle. Photo: Royal Australian Navy.

CANBERRA, Australia, July 6 (UPI) -- The Australian government has approved funding to provide its troops with enhanced Austeyr F88 rifles and ancillary devices, the Department of Defense said.

The second pass approval by the Cabinet maintains the production of Austeyr 5.56 rifles in the country by a Thales Australia facility in the State of New South Wales and improve the effectiveness of soldiers in close combat, the department said.

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The rifles, a derivative of Austria's Steyr AUG STG-77, will cost Australia about $75 million.

"This approval improves the ADF's close combat and general combat capability by upgrading the ergonomics and balance of the rifle and increasing the mounting options for ancillary devices, such as optic sights, laser aiming devices and grenade launcher attachments," the Department of Defense said.

"This enables personnel to more effectively identify and engage targets with improved precision and discrimination, and enables ADF personnel to operate more safely and effectively on the battlefield."

Australia has used an earlier version of the assault rifle since 1988.

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