Heckler & Koch HK416F (AIF) Assault Rifles
Heckler & Koch HK416F (AIF) Assault Rifles

France Army Takes Delivery of Heckler & Koch HK416F (AIF) Assault Rifles

According to the French Ministry of Defense 93 080 pieces of Heckler & Koch 416F will be delivered between 2017 and 2028. Hervé Grandjean, Spokesperson for the French Ministry of the Armed Forces, 10,000 new Heckler & Koch HK416F assault rifles were delivered this week. France will phase out the FAMAS rifle, of which they have about 400,000 pieces of in the F1 and upgraded G1 variant. The FAMAS has been in service for over 30 years. For a period of over 10 years France will phase in the Heckler & Koch HK416F, in two different versions, to soldiers in the Army, Air Force and Navy.

French Army Heckler & Koch HK416F (AIF) Assault Rifles
French Army Heckler & Koch HK416F (AIF) Assault Rifles

The Heckler & Koch HK416F is referred to as the “Arme Individuelle Future (AIF)”, which roughly translates to Individual Firearm for the Future. The total contract with Heckler & Koch is worth EUR 168 million (USD 177 million). The breakdown of deliveries is as follows: 38 505 units will be the HK416F Standard version (possibility to use a 40 mm grenade launcher) and 54 575 units will be of the HK416F Short version. So the majority will be the HK416F (Court) Short, with an 11? barrel, which might come as a surprise. Other accessories and various components, as well as training and services will run for some 15 years as well.

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French Army Heckler & Koch HK416F (AIF) Assault Rifles
French Army Heckler & Koch HK416F (AIF) Assault Rifles

The Heckler & Koch HK416 is a gas-operated assault rifle chambered for the 5.56x45mm NATO cartridge. It is designed and manufactured by the German company Heckler & Koch. Although the design is based on the AR-15 class of firearm (specifically the Colt M4 carbine family issued to the U.S. military), it uses a proprietary short-stroke, gas piston system from Heckler & Koch’s earlier G36 family of rifles. The HK416 is the standard assault rifle of the Norwegian Armed Forces, the German Army, the Irish Army Ranger Wing and is used by many special operations units worldwide. The US Navy’s SEAL Team Six used it to kill Osama Bin Laden in 2011.

French Army Heckler & Koch HK416F (AIF) Assault Rifles
French Army Heckler & Koch HK416F (AIF) Assault Rifles

The HK416 uses a HK-proprietary short-stroke gas piston system that derives from the HK G36, forgoing the direct gas-impingement system action that is standard in AR-15 rifles. The HK G36 gas system was in turn partially derived from the AR-18 assault rifle designed in 1963. The HK system uses a short-stroke piston driving an operating rod to force the bolt carrier to the rear. This design prevents combustion gases from entering the weapon’s interior—a shortcoming with direct impingement systems. The reduction in heat and fouling of the bolt carrier group increases the reliability of the weapon and extends the interval between stoppages. During factory tests the HK416 fired 10,000 rounds in full-auto without malfunctioning.

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