Tactical Tailor

Posts Tagged ‘Contact: Air Land & Sea’

SASR WO Criticizes the AUSTEYR F88

Friday, July 22nd, 2011

Photo: Australian DoD

In a recent issue of the Australian magazine “Contact: Air, Land & Sea,” a serving Warrant Officer of the Australian Special Air Service Regiment has criticized the issue F88 assault rifle. Based on the Austrian-designed Steyr AUG, the F88 is produced domestically in Australia. Specifically, the anonymous author, writes that the weapon should be withdrawn from use.

Specifically, he mentions:

“The Steyr requires a more difficult magazine change under stress as well as diverting the operator’s eyes for a longer period while reloading, taking away valuable awareness of what is happening around him.

“The size of the butt on the Steyr is not conducive to good weapon placement into the shoulder, especially with body armour. This affects sight alignment, eye relief, cheek weld and a stable firing position with the weapon in the shoulder.

“There are a raft of other reasons, however, I will leave it there. But our soldiers, particularly our infantry, could be far better served with a new, improved, personal primary weapon system.”

Photo: Australian DoD

This isn’t really all of that big of a news flash. The SASR first adopted the M4 in 1998 after their F88s didn’t perform to expectations in 1 Squadron’s deployment to Kuwait in support of Operation Desert Thunder. However, prior to this, the unit had been modifying M16s left over from Viet Nam service to serve as carbines. Unfortunately, the guns were old and not really intended for the in-house mods and were not as reliable as purpose built guns. The Squadron’s complaints made their way back to the Australian Department of Defence who sent out a team of Infantry requirements officers. At the time, they thought perhaps they could modify the F88 to perform as well as the M4A1 SOPMOD being carried by the Australian contingent’s American counterparts. Not long after this came the Picatinny rail section add-ons for the AUSTEYR. But, ultimately, Australian special operators got their M4s and the rest of the ADF kept the F88. Since then, the issue has festered.

Regardless, it is always interesting when a service member of the SASR speaks out about operational capabilities or the lack thereof.