Updated 4:59 PM EDT, Fri, Oct 11, 2019

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French Army Receives First Deliveries of HK416F, its New Standard Assault Rifle

New weapon

(Photo : H&K) HK416F assault rifle with UGL for the French Armed Forces.

The first consignment of Heckler & Koch HK416F 5.56mm assault rifles -- the new standard assault rifle for the French Armed Forces -- was delivered on May 3.            

The 400 HK416F assault rifles delivered by Heckler & Koch to the "Direction générale de l'armement" (DGA), the French government defense procurement and technology agency, represents the first batch of an order that will eventually amount to 102,000 rifles.

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Some 5,000 rifles are to be delivered this year; half by 2022 with the order being fulfilled by 2028.

Among the unique modifications made to the HK416F ("F" for France) is the replacement of the flip-up front sight with a specialized bayonet lug, and a custom barrel muzzle to attach and fire rifle grenades.

The HK416F replaces the French-made FAMAS bullpup assault rifle, which first entered service in 1979. It's expected this German-made weapon will remain in service with the French Armed Forces for the next 30 years.

The French Army (Armee de terre) also ordered 10,767 underbelly grenade launchers or UGLs (HK2969F) with a caliber of 44 mm x 46, as well as accessories, ammunition, various components and support services for 15 years.

The HK416F comes in two variants. The first is a long or standard barrel (300 mm long) for combat units and short barrel (280 mm long) for other units of the French Armed Forces. Some 54,600 rifles will be the short version.

The HK416 is in service with many Special Forces around the world. In addition to Norway, France now uses the HK416 as the standard assault rifle for its armed forces.

In August 2016, the Ministère de la Défense selected the HK416 rifle to replace FAMAS as the new next generation assault rifle for the French Armed Forces.

The HK416 fires 5.56×45mm NATO rounds out to 300 meters at a cyclic rate of 900 rounds per minute. Its feed system consists of 20, 30-round detachable STANAG magazine, or 100-round detachable Beta C-Mags.

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