Weaponry of the Australian Army

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From left to right, a Chinook, Blackhawk and Tiger helicopter
An NH90 Utility Helicopter

Armoured vehicles[edit]

A 1st Armoured Regiment Abrams tank in 2011
  • Australia / Canada 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.
  • Australia 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.[1]
  • United States M1A1 Abrams - 59 M1A1 Abrams and five 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.
  • United States M113 - The Army has 700 M113 vehicles, which are used in the armoured reconnaissance and armoured personnel carrier roles, primarily by the Army's two mechanised infantry battalions. 431 have been upgraded to M113AS3/4 standard and are currently in service.
  • United Kingdom Nary HMT 400 - The Army has purchased 31 Nary patrol vehicles for use by the SASR, its size and light weight allow it to be ferried by a Chinook helicopter. Its namesake comes from Warrant Officer David Nary who was the first Australian soldier killed during the Iraq War. In addition Supacat's HMT Extenda has been selected as part of the Australian Army's JP2097 Ph 1B (REDFIN) program.[2][3]

Artillery[edit]

  • United Kingdom L119 Hamel Gun - The 105 mm field artillery is currently used by Reserve units.
  • United Kingdom 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.[4] An additional 19 guns were purchased in late 2012 instead of the self-propelled guns previously planned, bringing the total order to 54.
  • United States M198 howitzer - Thirty-six 155 mm M198 howitzers are currently used by Reserve artillery regiments.
  • Sweden RBS-70 - The RBS-70 is a man portable SAM system used by the Australian Army for air defence. More sophisticated Bolide missiles have now been purchased.

Aircraft[edit]

Name Origin Type Number Photo Notes
ARH Tiger France / Germany Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Modified and upgraded version of the Tiger HAP.
MRH-90 Taipan European Union Armed Reconnaissance Helicopter Replaced the UH-1 Iroquois in 2008, and eventually the Blackhawks.
S-70A Blackhawk United States Medium lift/utility helicopter The Sikorsky S-70-A9 Blackhawk is the Army's primary battlefield lift/utility helicopter. The helicopters were assembled by Hawker de Havilland. Eventually to be replaced by the MRH-90.
CH-47 Chinook United States Heavy lift helicopter
OH-58 Kiowa United States Reconnaissance and battlefield surveillance It is being replaced by the Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter.
AAI RQ-7 Shadow United States Reconnaissance and battlefield surveillance 18
ScanEagle United States Reconnaissance and battlefield surveillance

Infantry weapons[edit]

F88S-A1 Austeyr, shown fitted is:
- a standard issue carry handle/1.5x power sight,
- M203 grenade launcher
- and an AN/PEQ-2 night aiming device.
MAG-58 fitted with 3.4x Elcan Wildcat sight.
SR-25 rifle, Heckler & Koch USP sidearm and Multicam uniform.
A Javelin missile being fired
Assault rifles and carbines
  • Austria / Australia 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 5.56x45mm cartridge with a modified propellant. According to the ADF, the modified bullet is more accurate and goes further but costs more to make. The F88 Austeyr can use the 5.56x45mm NATO round but under continued use, damages the barrel.[citation needed] 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.[5] This variant is currently replacing all previous models.
  • United States M4A1 Carbine - used by various Australian special forces units. It is also issued to crew members of the Abrams battle tanks and Tiger helicopters. Its official designation in Australia is the M4A5.[6]
Precision rifles
  • United Kingdom 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 7.62x51mm. It replaced the Parker Hale Model 82 rifle in the late 1990s. Manufactured under licence in Australia by Thales Australia.
  • United Kingdom 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.
  • Germany 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.
  • Germany 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.[7]
  • United States SR-25 - a semi-automatic 7.62 x 51 mm 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.
  • United States Mk 14 Enhanced Battle Rifle (M14EBR) - small numbers borrowed from American forces[8] were used by Australian special forces in Afghanistan.
  • United States Barrett M82 - a semi-automatic sniper and anti-materiel rifle chambered in .50 BMG[9]
Machine guns

Pistols[edit]

Name Origin Type Calibre Photo Notes
Browning GP-35 Mk. III Hi-Power  Belgium Semi-automatic pistol 9mm Browning High-Power 9mm IMG 1526.jpg The Browning GP-35 Mk. III Hi-Power is the standard issue pistol service pistol of the Australian Defence Force.
Heckler & Koch USP  Germany Semi-automatic pistol 9mm HKUSP.png The Heckler & Koch USP is used by various special forces units.

Submachine guns[edit]

Name Origin Type Calibre Photo Notes
Heckler & Koch MP5  Germany Submachine gun 9mm Heckler Koch MP5.jpg Primarily used by special forces units.

Shotguns[edit]

Name Origin Type Calibre Photo Notes
Remington Model 870  United States Shotgun 12-gauge Remington M870 12 Gauge.jpg Used by both Special Forces and Military Police personnel.

Grenade launchers[edit]

Name Origin Type Calibre Photo Notes
M203 grenade launcher  United States grenade launcher 40x46mm Austeyr F88 M203.JPEG Attaches to the F88 (RM Equipment M203PI) and M4 (Colt M203-A1) rifles.
Mk 19 AGL  United States automatic grenade launcher 40x53mm MK19-02.jpg Automatic grenade launcher that fires grenades at a cyclic rate of 325-375 rounds per minute, giving a practical rate of fire of 60 rounds per minute (rapid) and 40 rounds per minute (sustained). Usually vehicle mounted by Australian special forces units.

Anti-armour[edit]

Name Origin Type Calibre Photo Notes
66 mm Short-Range Anti-Armour Weapon (M72 LAW)  United States anti-tank rocket launcher 66mm 231167-3-4-Afghanistan.jpg A single shot disposable anti-armour weapon
L14A1 Carl Gustav Medium Direct Fire Support Weapon  Sweden recoilless rifle 84mm Carl Gustav recoilless rifle.jpg Primarily used in the anti-armour role.
Javelin Anti-Tank Guided Missile (ATGM)  United States guided anti-armour missile 127mm Army-fgm148.jpg

Mortars[edit]

Name Origin Type Calibre Photo Notes
F2 81mm Mortar  United Kingdom
 Canada
Mortar 81mm 81mmMORT L16.png

Grenades and anti personnel mines[edit]

Name Origin Type Detonation Photo Notes
F1 fragmentation hand grenade  Australia Frag grenade Fuse Manufactured by Thales Australia. It has a lethal range of 6 m (20 ft) and has a fuse time of 4.5 to 5.5 seconds.
M18A1 Claymore Antipersonnel Mine  United States Anti-personnel mine Remote US M18a1 claymore mine.jpg It is called an "Anti-Personnel Device" due to the Commonwealth of Australia agreeing not to use mines of any type.[citation needed]

Bayonets[edit]

Name Origin Type Photo Notes
M9 Bayonet  Australia Bayonet Bayonet-Knife M9 w Scabbard.jpg The Army's primary combat knife used by all personnel and attached on the F88 Austeyr and the M4 carbine.

Combat uniform of the Australian Army[edit]

F88A2 rifle and the Australian Multicam Pattern (AMP) combat uniform

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

  • 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.[11][12] 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.[13]

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.[14]

Future equipment[edit]

Infantry weapons[edit]

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 aims 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.[citation needed] Regardless, the F88 is now likely to remain in service until about 2020, and selected units of the Australian Army are now re-equipping with the F88S-A2.[5]

Armoured Vehicles[edit]

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.[15] The seven-tonne Hawkei has been described as a 'baby' variant of the Bushmaster[16] having been developed by the same manufacturer.

Aircraft[edit]

The Army is reorganising its aviation element, through the purchase of 22 Tiger attack helicopters and 30 MRH 90 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, seven 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.[17]

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).[18]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "More vehicles on the way". Army News: The Soldiers' Newspaper (Canberra: Australian Department of Defence). 26 May 2011. p. 16. 
  2. ^ "Australian army soon to get Nary vehicles". 
  3. ^ "Supacat announces Australian operations". 
  4. ^ Bergmann, Kym (23 October 2010). "Push is on to bring out the big guns". The Australian (News Ltd). Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  5. ^ a b "Thales upgrades Austeyr rifle to meet ADF operational needs". Thales Australia. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 2009-09-23. 
  6. ^ "New assault rifles for Australian commando force". International Defence Digest. Jane's International Defence Review. 5 Sep 2000. Retrieved 24 August 2012. "The 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (commando) (4RAR) (Cdo) will receive several hundred Colt M4A5 5.56mm assault rifles ..." 
  7. ^ Juchniewicz, Nathan (21 July 2011). "New weapon to go the distance". Army News: The Soldiers' Newspaper (Canberra: Australian Department of Defence). p. 3. Retrieved 27 August 2011. 
  8. ^ Armstrong, Dave (2012). "The M14 EBR - a Continuing Evolution". dtic.mil, slide presentation. Crane Division, Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC Crane). p. 9. Retrieved 6 June 2012. "The Australian SAS borrowed a quantity of MK 14 MOD 0 Rifles, one of which was used to earn a Victoria Cross by Corporal Ben Roberts-Smith in October of 2010. He had been providing Sniper Cover from the Air when his Assaulting Services were needed on the Ground." 
  9. ^ Davis, Sgt Mick (December 5, 2013). "Snipers Hit the Mark: Snipers get fired up at SASR concentration in WA". Army (News). Directorate of Defence News. p. 11. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Juchniewicz N.; Manchip J. (12 May 2011). "Gun maximises combat power". Army News: The Soldiers' Newspaper (Canberra: Australian Department of Defence). p. 4. Retrieved 14 May 2011. 
  11. ^ New combat uniform makes troops job easier, Australian Department of Defence, 19 November 2010.
  12. ^ Land Warfare Conference - Minister for Defence Materiel, Australian Department of Defence, 19 November 2010.
  13. ^ New defence uniforms on the way, The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 May 2011
  14. ^ Cloak of invisibility. Army News 22 April 2004.
  15. ^ "Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Project Overlander – LAND 121". Media release. Department of Defence. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  16. ^ "First look at Hawkei". bendigoadvertiser.com.au. Bendigo Advertiser. 3 October 2009. Retrieved 14 March 2012. "The baby brother of the Bushmaster, the Hawkei is a seven-tonne vehicle that has the same protection design as the highly successful Bushmaster." 
  17. ^ "Army buys 18 Shadow UAVs". Australian Aviation. Phantom Media. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  18. ^ "Boeing/Thales settle on EC135 for ADF bid". Australian Aviation Magazine. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 

External links[edit]