The 1st Fusiliers regiment (1st RTir) yesterday became the first unit of the French Army to officially receive a batch of 150 HK 416F assault rifles produced by German manufacturer Heckler & Koch. “The first always the first!”, is the regiment’s motto and proved the error of forecasts by former Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, who had announced that first deliveries of the HK 416F would go to the 13th half-brigade of the Foreign Legion (13th DBLE).
These 150 rifles were in fact received in advance of phase to allow the soldiers of the 1st RTir to learn how to handle them in view of the traditional military parade on July 14 in Paris. As we wrote here on FOB, the DGA received a first batch of 400 HK 416Fs, out of a total of 660, at the beginning of May, 250 of which will soon join the Larzac camp to equip the 13th DBLE, according to the Army. Nothing was known about the destination of the 150 remaining rifles, which we now know will parade down the Champs-Élysées in a month.
The 1st RTir took delivery of its 150 HK 416Fs at the 2nd materiel regiment of Poitiers (2nd RMat) whose materiel accountant, together with the Ist Rtir, must now undertake joint and independent counting of the rifles, making a note of each serial number. As each assault rifle has nine accessories and 13 magazines, three of them for exercise ammunition, this means more than 3,000 serial numbers need to be carefully and thoroughly recorded.
By 2028, the Army will have 93,080 of these HK 416F NATO calibre 5.56 mm rifles, in long and short versions. The HK 416F will co-exist with the FAMAS FELIN whilst they are rendered compatible with the FELIN advanced soldier system in 2020-21. The next units to be equipped will be the 13th DBLE, then the 8th RPIMa and the 2nd REP.