New rifle is put through its paces

Robert DoughertyNorth West Telegraph
Corporal Stacey Blom with the new Enhanced F88 rifle.
Camera IconCorporal Stacey Blom with the new Enhanced F88 rifle. Credit: North West Telegraph

New rifles are being rolled out in the armed forces across the region, with the Pilbara regiment receiving training on the Australian Defence Force’s new assault rifle.

Pilbara regiment personnel said they were pleased with the new Enhanced F88 Austeyr, which is being introduced as Australia’s next service rifle, and could be in use for the next 20 years.

Port Hedland commanding officer Major Officer Commanding 1 squadron Guy Warnock said the new weapon was a welcome upgrade.

“The weapon is going to be phased in slowly over 2018 from Geraldton to Port Hedland and Karratha; eventually it will be Australia-wide,” he said.

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“We are getting it because we conduct border operations. Many other units in the army conduct training or they don’t have an operational role such as the border protection’s Operation Resolute.

“Half a dozen or so people (in Hedland) have had the opportunity to fire it in live fire exercises or carried it on exercise with blank ammunition.”

The new weapon system replaces the ADF’s F88 Austeyr assault rifle, which was designed in 1977.

It has the same 30-round magazine with a shorter range of 400m.

“We will get one per soldier — it’s an upgrade on the old version (F88) which is the base model and has been in service for 30 years,” Major Warnock said.

“It looks similar on the outside but internally it’s a completely new weapon — it’s a whole heap of changes and as a result is a far better weapon.”

The new weapon really shines in its enhanced day sights which add an extra 200m of range and a bolt-release catch which enables faster magazine exchange.

“It means our soldiers can shoot more accurately, faster — close range to long range, it’s accurate all the way out to 600m,” Major Warnock said.

“The most important thing is the sight. The EF88 now comes with a purpose-built sight, called the SPECTER sight, which gives the ability to change the amount of zoom. The sight is vastly superior.”

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