Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR OCT 2014 Contents 9
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 03 | OCT 2014
World leaders in innovative and
combat-proven machine gun
mount solutions for all types
of military vehicles
W&E Platt Pty Ltd
PO Box 3401, Narellan DC, NSW 2567, Australia
Allan Platt – Tel: + 612 9829 0400 | Mob: + 61 412 004 014
Thales receives LRIP contract
for F90 assault rifle
Hellfire II AGM scores multiple hits
Department of Defence
has issued a contract to Thales
Australia for the low rate initial production
(LRIP) of the new F90 assault rifle.
Aimed at replacing the Australian De-
fence Force (ADF) standard issue F88
Steyr rifle, the F90 is a heavily revised
design that retains that weapon’s bull-pup
configuration but with numerous improve-
ments to reduce weight and improve relia-
bility, functionality and modularity.
According to Thales, the standard
F90 is 400g lighter than the equivalent
Steyr version. The F90 also incorporates
changes to ensure compatibility with var-
ious 5.56mm ammunition natures (ball,
armour-piercing, tracer) and types (F1,
F1A1, M855 etc).
The quick-attach/detach Steyr SL40
side-loading single-shot grenade launch-
er is integrated into the F90 and allows for
all low-velocity 40mm ammunition types
to be fired.
The F90 recently achieved ADF Pro-
visional Design Acceptance following an
extensive testing period that saw over one
million rounds fired.
The company will commence
LRIP of the F90 at its Lithgow
facility as part of a de-risking exercise
designed to smooth the transition in
production from the Steyr to the F90.
– Ian Bostock
NEW RANGE OF AMMUNITION – F9
Thales Australia chose the Land Forces
2 014 military equipment exhibition held
during late September in Brisbane (see
the Land Forces 2014 photo report in
this issue) to reveal its new F9 family of
ammunition currently under development.
Described in company statements as
an “enhanced 5.56mm round”, Thales
told DTR that the F9 ammunition
features higher lethality than existing
5.56mm ammunition, and in some cases
challenges the lethality and range of
Thales declined to provide further details,
but did confirm that the technology used
in the 5.56mm F9 ammunition is also
applicable to other calibres.
The F9 5.56mm ammunition under development by Thales seen here on display at Land
Forces 2014. Image: DTR
LEFT: The Hellfire II order will equip
forces in three Middle Eastern countries.
Image: US DoD
The Australian Army has used Exer-
cise Hamel 2014 in north Queensland
to trial a new aerostat system for com-
The system, according to Army News,
was trialled as an elevated platform for
communications relay utilising the En-
hanced Position Location Reporting
System radio for transmitting data from
the Battle Management System, and
for VHF radio retransmission.
The aerostat balloon, known as the
Desert Star Helikite from UK firm All-
sopp, features a shaped tail that keeps
it stabilised and pointed into the wind,
while a cable guy secures the system to
a 180kg base anchored to the ground.
The Desert Star Helikite has an in-
built GPS that checks its position over
the ground every 15 seconds, triggering
a heating element that will then adjust
the balloon’s position.
The Desert Star Helikite has support-
ed coalition operations in Afghanistan
where British and US forces employed
it to lift surveillance cameras.
According to a US Department of
Defense notice on 15 September, Lock-
heed Martin-Boeing joint venture Hellfire
Systems has been awarded a US$68.7
million contract for the supply of 1,361
Hellfire II tactical missiles in containers
and air-to-ground missiles (AGM) to
countries in the Middle East and Asia.
The Foreign Military Sales contract
will involve delivery of AGM-114R, AGM-
114R-3, AGM-114P-4A, TGM M36E7
and ATM-114Q-6 versions of the Hell-
fire II missile to Jordan, Indonesia, Saudi
Arabia and Qatar.
It is likely Saudi Arabia has ordered
Hellfire AGMs for its AH-64 Apache
attack helicopters and possibly for the
24 new AH-6i light attack helicopters
ordered from Boeing recently (see story
in September DTR). Indonesia and Qatar
have eight and 24 AH-64E Apache heli-
copters on order respectively.
Jordan most probably requires the
AGM-114P Hellfire II version for its new
AC-235 gunship and Air Tractor AT-802
armed reconnaissance and light attack
The P model Hellfire is used for high-al-
titude launch trajectories from fixed-wing
aircraft. The AC-235 is able to carry four
Hellfires and the AT-802 a total of six.
Final deliveries of Hellfire II missiles are
scheduled for November 2016.
– Matthew Mendenhall
THE STANDARD F90
IS 400g LIGHTER THAN
The 16-inch barrel version of the
F90 fitted with a suppressor and the
SL40 under-barrel grenade launcher.
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