So, the French army has fired the first rounds with the HK 416F during a demonstration organised for the benefit of the Ministry of Defence’s information and communication department (DICoD ). Selected in September 2016 to replace the 400,000 FAMAS F1 and G1 assault rifles used in the three components of the French forces, the HK 416F proved to be “very effective“, according to the DICoD.
Between now and 2028, Germany’s Heckler & Koch (H&K) will deliver 93,080 NATO caliber 5.56mm HK 416Fs, in two versions, worth a total of €168M. Under the terms of the contract, a first batch of 5,000 will be delivered in 2017 to the French forces.
Of the 38,505 standard variants (<90 cm) delivered, 14,915 will be “felinized”, and will be specifically intended for landed close combat troops. The contract with H&K also includes the delivery of 10,767 KH 369F removable 40mm grenade launchers for this variant. The short version (<80 cm), of which 54,575 will be delivered, has identical performances but the size does not allow the addition of a grenade launcher.
These two versions were recently handed over to the DICoD, for a series of tests organised at the DGA French procurement agency’s Ground Techniques Centre in Bourges. The DICoD’s first observation: appreciable ergonomics and robustness. Although the position of the centre of gravity differs from the FAMAS due to the displacement of the weapon’s mechanism, the addition of a handle allows “the weapon to be carried with less effort and to obtain a better grip,” the DICoD remarked. Getting accustomed to the HK 416F is also facilitated by the possibility of “recycling” the optical and sighting aids used on the FAMAS, such as the Scrome J4, AIMPOINT and PIRAT. The slower rate of the HK rifle, around 850 rounds per minute compared to the 1,100 rounds of the FAMAS, also allows “perfect control of its fire.”