In 2015, when the Australian military was discussing its future combat rifle, there was an interesting debate about the merits of the M4/AR15 platform versus its competitors.

More specifically, an Australian Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) warrant officer with over 25 years’ experience in the SOF community offered some interesting remarks about why the M4/AR15 rifle platform isn’t obsolete, despite being a 1950s design, but indeed superior to modern rifles such as the F90 Steyr. His remarks, however, touched upon deeper issues that have to do with political decisions that don’t necessarily benefit the war-fighter.

Also in 2015, Thales Group was awarded a contract by the Australian Ministry of Defense (MoD) worth approximately $74 million for supplying 30,000 F90 rifles and 2,500 SL40 grenade launchers, which can be attached underneath an F90. Noted for its unusual design, the F90 Steyr rifle fires the 5.56×45 NATO .223 Remington cartridge.

Despite the Australian MoD’s decision, the Australian commando highlighted the F90’s shortfalls, focusing on the difficulty to deal with stoppages and the fixed-length butt.