Weaponry of the Australian Army

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
From left to right, a Chinook, Black Hawk and Tiger helicopter

Armoured vehicles[edit]

A M1A1 Abrams tank and a M113AS4 personnel carrier.
  • 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.
  • United States 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.[1]
  • United States M113 - The Army now has 340 M113AS4 and 91 M113AS3 in service in seven variants.[2][3] The vehicles are used in the armoured reconnaissance and armoured personnel carrier roles. The Army had operated 840 M113A1 vehicles in nine variants.[2]

Utility and other vehicles[edit]

  • 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.[4]
One of the first RMMV HX trucks to be handed over to the Australian Army on 7 April 2016. From 2016 RMMV HX and SX trucks will replace the Unimog and Mack fleets


  • United States LCM-8 - 15 medium size coastal / inland waterway landing craft fitted with 2 x 12.7mm HMG to be in service until 2027.[15][16]
  • United States LARC-V - 12 amphibious vehicles to be in service until 2027. Withdrawn from service in 1993 and reintroduced in 1998 after upgrade.[15][16]


  • 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.[17] 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[edit]

  • Sweden 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.[18] More sophisticated Bolide missiles have now been purchased.[19]


Name Origin Type Number[20] Notes
Airbus Helicopters ARH Tiger FranceFrance
Armed reconnaissance helicopter 22 Modified and upgraded version of the Tiger HAP. These helicopters will be phased out throughout by the 2020 by the formal Tiger ARH replacement project.
NHIndustries MRH-90 Taipan  European Union Medium lift/utility helicopter 28[21] Replaced the UH-1 Iroquois in 2008, and eventually the Black Hawks. 13 on order.
UH-60 Black Hawk United StatesUnited States Medium lift/utility helicopter 34 The Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk 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 with 20 aircraft remaining in service with the 6th Aviation Regiment until 2021 to support special forces missions.[21]
Boeing CH-47F Chinook United StatesUnited States Heavy lift helicopter 10[22]
Bell 206 Kiowa United StatesUnited States Reconnaissance and battlefield surveillance 19 It is being replaced by the Tiger armed reconnaissance helicopter.
Bell 206 Kiowa United StatesUnited States Training Helicopter 12 To be replaced by the Eurocopter EC135
Eurocopter EC135 T2+ GermanyGermany Training helicopter 15 (Joint with Navy)[23] Helicopter Aircrew Training System (HATS) shared with the Navy

Unmanned aerial vehicles[edit]

Name Origin Type Number[24] Notes
AAI RQ-7 Shadow United StatesUnited States Reconnaissance and battlefield surveillance 18[citation needed]
ScanEagle United StatesUnited 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.
SR-25 rifle, Heckler & Koch USP sidearm and Multicam uniform.
MAG-58 fitted with 3.4x Elcan Wildcat sight.
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 5.56×45mm 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.[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.[25] 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.[26] The ADF has ordered 30,000 of these rifles.[27]
  • United States M4A1 Carbine - used by various Australian special forces units. Its official designation in Australia is the M4A5.[28]
Precision rifles
Machine guns


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.


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. It is also used in specific roles within the infantry.

Grenade launchers[edit]

Name Origin Type Calibre Photo Notes
M203 grenade launcher  United States grenade launcher 40×46mm Australian soldiers Afghanistan March2010.jpg Attaches to the F88 (RM Equipment M203PI) and M4 (Colt M203-A1) rifles.
Mk 19 AGL  United States automatic grenade launcher 40×53mm 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.
Mk 47 Striker LWAGL  United States automatic grenade launcher 40×53mm MK47.jpg Mk 47 Mod 1 Lightweight automatic grenade launcher (LWAGL) is 36% of the weight of the Mk 19, has a further range than the Mk 19 and is fitted with Lightweight Video Sight (LVS2) sighting system. It will be issued to infantry battalions from late 2016 and to Special Operation Command units from early 2017.[33]


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 Australian Army soldiers firing a Javelin missile.jpg


Name Origin Type Calibre Photo Notes
F2 81mm Mortar  United Kingdom
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 Australian Army soldiers throw a grenade RIMPAC Exercise 2014.JPG 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]


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.[34][35] 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.[36]

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.[37]

Future equipment[edit]

Infantry weapons[edit]

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.[38]

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.[citation needed] 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.[25]

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.[39]

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.[40] The seven-tonne Hawkei has been described as a 'baby' variant of the Bushmaster[41] 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.[42] 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.[43] 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.[44] The project is valued at more than $10 billion and is expected to acquire approximately 700 vehicles.[45]


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.[46] Smaller UAVs being trialed include the AeroVironment Wasp III and Black Hornet Nano.[47]

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.[48] 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.[21]

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).[49]


  1. ^ "Australia – M88A2 Hercules Heavy Recovery Vehicles" (Press release). Washington, D.C. Defense Security Cooperation Agency. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 4 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b Houston and Handel, Bill and Paul (9 April 2015). "Half a century's service" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1348 ed.). Canberra, Australia: Department of Defence. ISSN 0729-5685. 
  3. ^ "M113AS4 Armoured Personnel Carrier". Australian Army. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  4. ^ "More vehicles on the way". Army News: The Soldiers' Newspaper. Canberra: Australian Department of Defence. 26 May 2011. p. 16. 
  5. ^ Tufrey, LS Jayson (22 October 2015). "Our vehicle of the future" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1362 ed.). Canberra, Australia: Department of Defence. ISSN 0729-5685. 
  6. ^ a b "G Wagon". Australian Army. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  7. ^ Ridgway, Steve (13 November 2008). "$350m wagon deal" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1202 ed.). Canberra, Australia: Department of Defence. ISSN 0729-5685. 
  8. ^ "G-wagon booklet" (PDF). Australian Army. Retrieved 8 August 2016. 
  9. ^ "G Wagon". Our Work: Equipment and Clothing. Australian Army. Archived from the original on 8 December 2014. 
  10. ^ Connors, Shaun (10 April 2016). "First batch of Overlander trucks delivered to ADF". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 12 April 2016. 
  11. ^ "Australian army soon to get Nary vehicles". United Press International. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 5 December 2015. 
  12. ^ Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare (13 December 2012). "Minister for Defence Materiel – New Special Operations vehicle prototype delivered" (Press release). Department of Defence. 
  13. ^ "Contract signed for Special Operations Vehicles". Capability Acquisition and Sustainment Group (CASG). Department of Defence. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  14. ^ "Supacat to deliver 89 Special Operations Vehicles – Commando under $105m contract for JP2097 Ph 1B (REDFIN) Program". Supacat (Press release). 19 August 2014. Retrieved 16 September 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Morley, Sgt Dave (12 February 2015). "Specialists rest easy" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1344 ed.). Canberra, Australia: Department of Defence. ISSN 0729-5685. Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  16. ^ a b "Naming of RACT watercraft (Policy statement)" (PDF). Royal Australian Corps of Transport. Royal Australian Corps of Transport. 24 October 2006. Retrieved 26 November 2016. 
  17. ^ Bergmann, Kym (23 October 2010). "Push is on to bring out the big guns". The Australian. News Ltd. Retrieved 4 January 2011. 
  18. ^ "ADM: Weapons: Anti-air capability study looks to futuristic technologies | ADM Sep 08". www.australiandefence.com.au. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  19. ^ "Australia Orders Carl Gustav Ammunition and Bolide Missiles". www.deagel.com. Retrieved 3 February 2016. 
  20. ^ "World Air Forces 2015" (PDF). Flightglobal. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  21. ^ a b c Kerr, Julian (1 December 2015). "Australian Army to extend Black Hawk service lives for special forces use". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 3 December 2015. 
  22. ^ "Three more CH-47F helicopters delivered ahead of schedule in FMS deal". Australian Aviation. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2016. 
  23. ^ "Minister for Defence – New training system for ADF helicopter crews" (Press release). Department of Defence. 23 October 2014. Retrieved 1 August 2016. 
  24. ^ "World Air Forces 2015" (PDF). Flightglobal. Retrieved 19 July 2015. 
  25. ^ a b "Thales upgrades Austeyr rifle to meet ADF operational needs". Thales Australia. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 23 September 2009. 
  26. ^ McLennan, Benjamin (18 June 2015). "'Exceptional Weapon': 1RAR first to receive Enhanced F88". Army News. DefenceNews.com.au. p. 3. Retrieved 20 June 2015. 
  27. ^ Wong, Kelvin (4 August 2015). "Thales F90 assault rifle poised to enter mainstream Australian service". IHS Jane's 360. Retrieved 3 December 2015. 
  28. ^ "New assault rifles for Australian commando force". International Defence Digest. Jane's International Defence Review. 5 September 2000. Retrieved 24 August 2012. The 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (commando) (4RAR) (Cdo) will receive several hundred Colt M4A5 5.56mm assault rifles ... 
  29. ^ 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. 
  30. ^ Armstrong, Dave (2012). "The M14 EBR - a Continuing Evolution" (PDF). 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. 
  31. ^ Davis, Sgt Mick (5 December 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. 
  32. ^ 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. 
  33. ^ McLennan, Lt-Col Ben (21 April 2016). "Soldier lethality game changer" (PDF). Army: The Soldiers' Newspaper (1371 ed.). Canberra, Australia: Department of Defence. ISSN 0729-5685. 
  34. ^ New combat uniform makes troops job easier, Australian Department of Defence, 19 November 2010.
  35. ^ Land Warfare Conference - Minister for Defence Materiel, Australian Department of Defence, 19 November 2010.
  36. ^ New defence uniforms on the way, The Sydney Morning Herald, 30 May 2011
  37. ^ Cloak of invisibility. Army News 22 April 2004.
  38. ^ Kerr, Julian (6 July 2015). "Australia ready to sign EF88 Austeyr rifle contract". IHS Jane's Defence Weekly. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  39. ^ NIOA wins 40mm grenade launcher contracts - Australiandefence.com.au, 28 July 2015
  40. ^ "Minister for Defence and Minister for Defence Materiel – Project Overlander – LAND 121". Media release. Department of Defence. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  41. ^ "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. 
  42. ^ "Project LAND 400". Modernization Project. Australian Army. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  43. ^ "Australia officially opens up tender for next-generation light armoured vehicle". Armyrecognition.com. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  44. ^ "Minister for Defence – LAND 400 Phase 2 – Mounted Combat Reconnaissance Capability" (Press release). Department of Defence. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 21 February 2015. 
  45. ^ "South Australia Primed to Build Australian Army Vehicles" (PDF) (Press release). Government of South Australia. 19 February 2015. Retrieved 1 March 2015. 
  46. ^ "Army buys 18 Shadow UAVs". Australian Aviation. Phantom Media. 2 August 2010. Retrieved 13 October 2011. 
  47. ^ Coyne, Allie (3 July 2015). "Australian Army tests out drones for surveillance". IT News. Retrieved 1 September 2016. 
  48. ^ "S-70A-9 Black Hawk Weapons". Defence Materiel Organisation. Department of Defence. Retrieved 8 November 2014. 
  49. ^ "Boeing/Thales settle on EC135 for ADF bid". Australian Aviation Magazine. 30 January 2012. Retrieved 8 May 2012. 

External links[edit]