Update: EF88 assault rifle and ML40AUS grenade launcher

Many of you following the blog will know I’ve been keeping close tabs on the Thales Australia EF88 assault rifle, being developed under the Land 125 Phase 3C program. I have written a review of the rifle which can be found in Issue 4 of On Duty Magazine, out this month. The rifle can be seen above in its latest iteration, being featured at Land Warfare Conference 2012, which I recently attended in Melbourne. The Madritsch ML40AUS grenade launcher has been finished in a two-tone paint scheme that corresponds with that of the rifle, and Defence have asked that Thales add the optional bolt catch release they were offering with the F90. The rifle is seen here with the ‘Tier 3’ sight Thales intends to offer Defence, a Trijicon TA44SR-10 1.5×16 ACOG.

The bolt catch release can be seen in the image above, directly above the magazine. The lack of the bolt catch release was a point we raised at the range and in the review, and it’s great to hear Defence has changed its stance on this addition.

The ML40AUS grenade launcher, which Thales intends to offer to Defence as part of the system, has recently been the subject of some engineering concerns. Whilst they did not specify what the concerns were, an individual involved with the project referred to these as “significant”, but notes that they “do not threaten the project as a whole”. These concerns are expected to be resolved by the end of the month.

The new ‘Lithgow Arms’ factory marking can be seen on the buttstock in the photo above. This was trademarked by Thales Australia in January of this year. Sources indicate this marking will be applied to all new weapons manufactured at Thales’ Lithgow facility.

The production timeline for the EF88 assault rifle, pending full acceptance from Defence, seems likely to be sometime in 2014 at this stage.

A further update on the weapon system and program timeline is available here.

I have previously posted video of the EF88 and ML40AUS being fired , as well as high-speed video of the ML40AUS being fired.


  1. Damn that looks mean!

  2. […] should help with cross-platform familiarity and training. The ML40AUS has more recently been the subject of some engineering concerns, however these are expected to have been resolved by now. Thales Australia has also designed a new […]

  3. Axel · · Reply

    So the F90 is the civi. version of the EF88 or F88SA2 in Austrailia, correct? And that (F90) is only available in Austrailia, correct? If so, it’s going to take a while to reach America… Very interesting articles by the way. Can’t get enough of bullpups.

    1. The F90 is the export version, rather than a ‘civilian’ version. No word on a semi-automatic model yet. Thanks for the kind words.

    2. Mark Jackaman · · Reply

      Axel, self loading rifles are not generally available to the populace in Australia. We are the gun control petri dish.

  4. […] mentioned in my last update, the ML40AUS has been the subject of some engineering concerns. A confidential source familiar with […]

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