Thales Australia, through a former Lithgow factory, developed the F90 assault rifle as a different version of the EF88 assault rifle, originally developed for Australian LAND 125 Soldier Combat System Program. The EF88 itself was an improved version of the Lithgow F88, a licensed model of the original Steyr AUG. Deriving from its history, it is safe to assume that the F90 is basically the Steyr AUG revamped. Initially announced in 2012, official production of the F90 began in 2013. With a bullpup layout, the F90 is a selective fire weapon with the gas-operated system. It has a better balance compared with its predecessors as well as the most comfortable and reliable version of them all.
Internally speaking, the F90 is in many ways similar to the F88. The key difference between the two is the presence of modified gas block and receiver. F90’s receiver is constructed out of aluminum alloy, which leads to reduced overall weight. Above the pistol grip is a safety button. A trigger is present for a user to control firing mode. Halfway pull on the trigger leads to a single shot mode. Full pull on it leads to full-auto mode.
The assault rifle is truly ambidextrous as well. Two symmetrical ejection ports can be found on the rifle, with one of them stays covered for safety. The rifle is compatible with translucent magazines of 30-round capacity, similar to the F88 and the Steyr AUG. There is a full-length scope rail of Picatinny type that can be fitted with a Trijicon ACOG 1.5x or 3.5x magnification optical sights. It can also mount night vision. But the assault rifle does not come with a carrying handle, unlike the Lithgow F88.
The weapon features three more rails for accessories. The F90 can be fitted with an add-on 40-mm ML40AUS under barrel grenade launcher. This launcher has an effective fire range of about 150 m. Reloading calls for opening the weapon sideways. Attaching and detaching the launcher is convenient. The rifle can also be fitted with a bayonet of a sound suppressor. Variants of the F90 include the baseline F90 version (featuring a 407 mm barrel), the F90(G) (featuring a 40-mm under-barrel grenade launcher), F90M (a.k.a. Marksman, featuring a barrel of 508 mm), F90M(G) (the F90M featuring a grenade launcher), and F90CQB (“Close Quarters Battle”, featuring a barrel of 360 mm, incompatible with grenade launcher, technically a carbine or a compact assault rifle).
|Country of origin||Australia|
|Weight (unloaded)||3.25 kg|
|Barrel length||407 mm|
|Cyclic rate of fire||~ 650 rpm|
|Practical rate of fire||40 – 100 rpm|
|Magazine capacity||30 rounds|
|Range of effective fire||450 ~ 500 m|