Australia’s new service rifle, EF88 completes first full operational deployment

The Australian Defence Force’s (ADF) new service rifle, the Enhanced F88 (EF88) has just completed its first full operational deployment.

Taken by Task Group Taji 5 troops to Iraq as part of Operation Okra, the EF88 has proven itself in the extreme heat and the harsh dusty conditions of Iraq without issue.

Major Timothy Soper, the Officer Commanding Task Group Taji Logistics Company, said the rifle’s superior accuracy, robustness and weight identified during testing and trials has been confirmed in its first full operational deployment.

“The tiered design approach applied to the EF88 has resulted in a common system capable of being tailored to land combatant role and task,” Major Soper said. “Pre-deployment and deployed combat shooting training has seen enhanced accuracy and increased lethality through improved effective ranges across the variety of Task Group Taji services, Corps and trades.”

The EF88 was brought into service mid-2016 for selected units with Task Group Taji 5 having the opportunity to first deploy with the new service rifle. The extremely harsh conditions of Iraq have been ideal to prove the weapons resilience and reliability for operational service.

Commander of Task Group Taji 5 Colonel Steve D’arcy said the EF88 was very popular with Task Group personnel and had proven itself as an extremely versatile weapons system.

“Our personnel carry the EF88 as their primary weapon system on a day to day basis,” he said. “The EF88 has proven itself as an extremely reliable, accurate and versatile weapon which has gained the praise of not only Australian personnel but also our New Zealand counterparts and coalition partners.”

The EF88 is part of an evolution of the Austeyr F88 bull-pup assault rifles introduced into Australian service in 1988 as the Army retired the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle.

Enhanced F88

The Enhanced F88 (EF88) is part of the LAND 125 Soldier Combat System project and is a significant upgrade to the F88SA2, an Australian-built version of the Austrian Steyr AUG.

It was developed and produced at the Australian Defense Industries factory in Lithgow Small Arms Factory, which is now owned by Thales Australia to fulfill current and near future requirements for the Australian Defence Force and is also intended for export (F90).

It was first displayed to the public in the middle of 2012 and the initial production was scheduled for 2013, its final design and testing ended later on that year.

While internally and externally the EF88 is still similar to the Steyr AUG, it has received many distinctive upgrades and changes.

Australian Department of Defence

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