Neha Patil (Editor)

Weaponry of the Australian Army

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Armoured vehicles

  • / ASLAV - The Army operates 257 ASLAV-25 vehicles, in a variety of roles including formation reconnaissance, as an infantry fighting vehicle, armoured ambulance or recovery vehicle.
  • M1A1 Abrams - 59 M1A1 Abrams and seven M88 Hercules were purchased to replace the Leopard AS1 in service with the 1st Armoured Regiment. The first M1 equipped sub-units of the regiment became operational in mid-2007. The Abrams is the most powerful vehicle in the Australian inventory. While retaining the gas turbine engines, the Australian Abrams tanks use diesel fuel instead of the kerosene based JP-8 that powers American Abrams tanks. In January 2015 it was announced that a request for a possible military sale of up to six M88A2 Hercules had been submitted by the Australian Government to the United States with a contract value of $47 million. It is believed that this request is to allow the redistribution of the M1A1 and its support vehicles to each Multi-role Combat Brigade as opposed to entirely within the 1st Brigade under Plan Beersheba.
  • M113 - The Army now has 340 M113AS4 and 91 M113AS3 in service in seven variants. The vehicles are used in the armoured reconnaissance and armoured personnel carrier roles. The Army had operated 840 M113A1 vehicles in nine variants.
  • Utility and other vehicles

  • Bushmaster PMV - The Army has ordered a total of 1,052 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicles to date, with deliveries commencing in mid-2005. Bushmasters primarily equip the Motorised Infantry 7th Brigade, B Squadron, 3rd/4th Cavalry Regiment also operate armoured vehicles in support of the 3rd Brigade, 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment, and 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment, as well as the heavy weapons and support elements of two mechanised battalions and three light infantry battalions.
  • Hawkei PMV The Army has ordered 1,100 Hawkei Protected Mobility Vehicles – Light (PMV-L) to replace the Land Rover Perentie. It is smaller and around half the weight of the Bushmaster. It is able to be carried underslung by the CH-47F Chinook helicopter.
  • G-Wagon The Army purchased 2146 G-Wagons to replace the Land Rover Perentie. The G-Wagon has ten variants including 6x6. A further 122 were acquired.
  • Land Rover Perentie, Unimog, RMMV HX, RMMV SX, and Mack R series – For transporting stores, equipment and troops.
  • HMT Extenda - The Army purchased 31 HMT Extenda MK1 Nary patrol vehicles for use by the Special Air Service Regiment to replace the Long Range Patrol Vehicle to provide armoured protection from IEDs. Its namesake comes from Warrant Officer David Nary who was the killed during pre-deployment training in Kuwait for the Iraq War. In addition, 89 HMT Extenda MK2 have been ordered for the 2nd Commando Regiment that will be reconfigurable in four configurations.
  • Watercraft

  • LCM-8 - 15 medium size coastal / inland waterway landing craft fitted with 2 x 12.7mm HMG to be in service until 2027.
  • LARC-V - 12 amphibious vehicles to be in service until 2027. Withdrawn from service in 1993 and reintroduced in 1998 after upgrade.
  • Artillery

  • M777 howitzer - Thirty-five 155 mm M777s were ordered as part of the first phase of the Land 17 project to replace the Army's inventory of towed artillery, with initial deliveries beginning in late 2010. An additional 19 guns were purchased in late 2012 instead of the self-propelled guns previously planned, bringing the total order to 54.
  • Air defence

  • RBS-70 - Thirty upgraded RBS-70 short range air defence weapon systems are currently divided between two Air Defence Batteries within the 16th Air Land Regiment. More sophisticated Bolide missiles have now been purchased.
  • Infantry weapons

    Assault rifles and carbines
  • / F88 Austeyr - a derivative of the Austrian Steyr AUG STG-77 assault rifle. It is the ADF's standard individual weapon, which replaced the L1A1 SLR and the M16A1 rifle from front-line service in the late 1980s. The rifle uses an Australian 5.56×45mm round with a modified load. According to the ADF, the modified projectile is more accurate and goes further but costs more to make. The F88 Austeyr can use the 5.56×45mm NATO USA made round, but it causes increased barrel damage and over heating. The rifle has a 508 mm barrel and an integral 1.5x magnified optical sight inside the carry handle. The weapon is manufactured under licence in Australia by Thales Australia (formerly Australian Defence Industries Ltd). Variants include:
  • F88C Austeyr - carbine variant, fitted with a 407 mm barrel and is normally issued to personnel serving with space constraints and weight constraints (e.g. Cavalry, Light Horse and Paratroopers). It is also currently used by Reserve units but is in the process of being phased out.
  • F88S-A1 Austeyr - updated version that is issued to front-line combat infantry units. The rifle has the full length 508mm barrel and has a flat top receiver with a long MILSTD 1913 'Picatinny' rail to accommodate specialised optical devices and accessories.
  • F88S-A1C Austeyr - updated 407 mm barreled carbine variant, with a MILSTD 1913 'Picatinny' rail.
  • F88S-A2 Austeyr - an evolutionary upgrade of the current rifle to fulfill an operational capability gap. Deliveries of several thousand were completed in late-2009 to selected units for overseas service. Technical improvements in the F88SA2 include: a larger Picatinny Rail on top of the weapon, a modified sight housing, and a side rail mount for a torch and Night Aiming Devices (NAD). The colour of the weapon has also been changed to khaki to reduce the recognition signature. This variant is currently replacing all previous models.
  • Enhanced F88 (EF88) - latest variant to improve modularity featuring extended accessories rail, a fixed barrel and bolt catch release. 1RAR will begin to re-equip with the EF88 from June 2015 with a wider roll out from 2016. The ADF has ordered 30,000 of these rifles.
  • M4A1 Carbine - used by various Australian special forces units. Its official designation in Australia is the M4A5.
  • Precision rifles
  • SR-98 - an Australian variant of the bolt action Accuracy International Arctic Warfare rifle, it is the standard-issue sniper rifle in the Australian Army and is chambered for 7.62×51mm. It replaced the Parker Hale Model 82 rifle in the late 1990s. Manufactured under licence in Australia by Thales Australia.
  • AW50F - the AW50F is the largest-bore variant of the Arctic Warfare sniper rifles suited to the anti-materiel role. It is chambered for the .50 BMG cartridge, and is primarily used with Raufoss Mk211 HEIAP rounds. The AW50F was designed with an Australian-designed and manufactured barrel.
  • Blaser 93 Tactical 2 - a straight-pull bolt-action sniper rifle chambered in .338 Lapua Magnum. The rifle has been observed in service with special forces and infantry units in Afghanistan.
  • Heckler & Koch HK417 - 'Marksman Rifle System' used by infantry and special forces units to fill the gap between a sniper rifle and 5.56mm derivatives.
  • SR-25 - a semi-automatic 7.62×51mm sniper rifle. It has recently been observed in service with reconnaissance and special forces units of the Australian Army. It has seen service in Iraq, Afghanistan and East Timor.
  • Mk 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (M14EBR) - small numbers borrowed from American forces were used by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
  • Barrett M82 - a semi-automatic sniper and anti-materiel rifle chambered in .50 BMG
  • Machine guns
  • F89 Minimi - the Army's standard light machine gun chambered for 5.56×45 mm NATO. The F89 is also manufactured under licence in Australia by Thales Australia.
  • Maximi - the 7.62×51mm NATO model of the Minimi is also in limited service.
  • FN MAG 58 - the Army's general purpose machine gun chambered for 7.62 × 51 mm NATO. It replaced the M60 machine gun.
  • Browning M2HB-QCB - heavy machine gun not used at the infantry section level but rather as a heavy support weapon usually mounted on vehicles. It uses the .50 BMG cartridge and has an effective range in excess of 2,000 metres.
  • Combat uniform of the Australian Army

    There are three major combat uniforms worn by the Australian Defence Force, they are:

    Contents

  • Disruptive Pattern Combat Uniform - DPCU is the standard combat uniform worn in terrains that feature green and brown-shaded flora. The pattern has been in service since the late 1980s.
  • Disruptive Pattern Desert Uniform - DPDU is the Desert Combat uniform worn by Australian Defence Force personnel in theatres where the terrain is arid. It uses the same pattern as DPCU, but with the colours changed to suit the desert terrain. This uniform was instituted in the early 2000s, to meet the need for personnel serving overseas in Southwest Asia
  • MultiCam - in late 2010, the ADF announced that Multicam will be the standard pattern for all regular Australian Army personnel in Afghanistan after trials were conducted by special operations units. Multicam, it is said, provided "... troops with greater levels of concealment across the range of terrains in Afghanistan – urban, desert and green." Previously, depending upon the terrain, Australian troops had to alternate between green and desert colored DPCUs. Furthermore, the Defence Material Organisation has since announced that they had obtained a licence from Crye Associates to locally produce Multicam and for a new uniquely Australian pattern to be developed by Crye to replace DPCU uniforms.
  • The current issue of DPCU is known as 'DPCU-NIR' - or Disruptive Pattern Combat Uniform - Near Infra-Red. The Defence Science and Technology Organisation has developed materials for use in combat uniforms which will reduce night-vision detection, and it has been integrated into this uniform, which also sports a new cut and shape, the NATO-style front rank epaulette, zip-fastening, sleeve pockets and Velcro tabs.

    Infantry weapons

    The Army has begun to roll out their new state of the art rifle, the Enhanced F88 (EF88). The new rifle has several new features including improved modularity featuring extended accessories rail, a fixed barrel, bolt catch release and a black paint scheme. It was confirmed in July 2015 that the contract for 30,000 EF88 rifles had been approved with full roll out starting in 2016. 2,500 Steyr Mannlicher SL40 grenade launchers have also been ordered.

    The Army had previously planned on replacing the F88 with the Advanced Individual Combat Weapon (AICW) by 2010–2012. The most notable feature of the AICW is a grenade launcher with 3 stacked rounds that uses electricity to fire off the grenade. The AICW had aimed to provide the infantry soldier with the ability to fire multiple grenades without having to reload, and to switch between 5.56 mm ballistic rounds and 40 mm grenades without changing sights, trigger or stance, giving the operator more versatility and reduced reaction times in combat. The AICW has all but disappeared from the Army's sights and it is unlikely to ever make a return. The company responsible for the ACIW, Metal Storm Limited was placed in voluntary administration in 2012.

    The Army decided to procure the Mk 47 Striker 40 mm lightweight automatic grenade launcher in mid-2015, and plans to begin receiving units within one year.

    Armoured vehicles

    In December 2011, the Thales Hawkei PMV (Protected Military Vehicle) was selected as the preferred tender for the Army's requirement of a light 4x4 armored car with a potential order for 1300 vehicles. The seven-tonne Hawkei has been described as a 'baby' variant of the Bushmaster having been developed by the same manufacturer.

    Under LAND 400 the ASLAV and M113s will be replaced, with the project to acquire a Combat Reconnaissance Vehicle (CRV), an Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV), a Manoeuvre Support Vehicle (MSV) and an Integrated Training System (ITS). The ASLAV fleet is planned to be replaced from 2020, and the M113s from 2025. On 19 February 2015 the tender was opened for the replacement of the ASLAV, listing a requirement for up to 225 armored vehicles to provide the future mounted combat reconnaissance capability. The remaining requirements of the project will be confirmed by the upcoming Defence White Paper; however, it is expected to include an infantry fighting vehicle—a capability currently only partly provided by the in-service M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carrier—as well as a manoeuvre support vehicle, and an integrated training system. The project is valued at more than $10 billion and is expected to acquire approximately 700 vehicles.

    Aircraft

    The Army is reorganising its aviation element, through the purchase of 22 ARH Tiger attack helicopters and 30 MRH 90 Taipan utility helicopters (30 helicopters out of a total purchase of 46, which will be divided between Army, Fleet Air Arm and a joined MRH 90 training base). Furthermore, 7 CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopters will be purchased to replace the Army's five remaining CH-47D Chinook helicopters. In addition, the Army will also acquire a number of UAVs (including a number of Boeing ScanEagles and 18 RQ-7 Shadow) which will equip the 20th Surveillance and Target Acquisition Regiment, at Enoggera Barracks, Queensland. Smaller UAVs being trialed include the AeroVironment Wasp III and Black Hornet Nano.

    Previously it was planned that the MRH-90 would eventually replace all of the Army's Black Hawks, with the Black Hawk fleet planned to be reduced to 18 operational aircraft in 2014–15 as part of the phased withdrawal of the type from service. However, in December 2015 it was announced that 20 Black Hawks will remain in service with the 6th Aviation Regiment until the end of 2021 to provide aviation support to special forces.

    The Army as part of a joint program with the RAN under Air 9000 Phase 7B are seeking future advanced training and light support helicopters. The helicopters being offered by industry are: Eurocopter EC-135 (from Boeing-Thales), Bell 429 (Raytheon-Bell) and Agusta A109 (from BAE-CAE-AgustaWestland).

    References

    Weaponry of the Australian Army Wikipedia


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