Eight months after the notification of the AIF market, the DGA French procurement agency today received the first batch of 400 HK 416F assault rifles from Germany’s Heckler & Koch. This rifle is destined to replace the FAMAS which has been in service with the French armed forces for nearly 40 years.
A quick reminder. The AIF programme is part of the 2014-2019 Military Programme Law and provides for the delivery by 2028 of 93,080 5.56mm NATO calibre HK 416Fs to the Army. The HK 416F will be available in two versions: a standard 90cm version of which 38,500 units have been ordered (and 14,915 of these will be adapted to the FELIN French soldier modernisation programme), and a short 80cm version to equip the 55,000 mounted infantry soldiers.
This first batch, destined for the Army, will be sent to personnel of the 13th Half-Brigade of the Foreign Legion (13th DBLE) by June. Some happy instructors of the 13th DBLE have been training to handle the gun since the beginning of April.
Of this initial lot, 250 HK 416Fs will be assigned to the 4th Company and the Assistance to Landed Engagement Section (SAED) of the 13th DBLE. Next October, 250 new HK 416Fs will join the racks of the 1st company, according to the Foreign Legion.
In total, some 5,300 assault rifles will be delivered to the Army in 2017. The delivery rate will then double until 2023, falling to 5,000 units per year between 2024 and 2028.