“The Austrian-built Steyr Aug A1, introduced in 1988, is to undergo a revamp over three to four years to bring it into line with assault rifles used by armies like those of Britain and the United States,” independent.ie reports. “Some €3m [circa $4m] has been allocated this year but the Department of Defence is unable to give a total figure for the programme to modernise 6,000 assault rifles.” Well of course they can’t; Ireland’s central bank is on the hook for €3.1 billion every year until 2023. But at least they are able to say what they’re doing to the A1 . . .
Enhancements to the Irish Army weapon will include a better sighting system called a Combat Optical Weapon Sight (COWS), expected to give greater magnification and some night-time capability; a grenade launcher attachment to allow it to fire 40mm grenades, and a thermal weapons sight allowing the soldier to operate better in the dark.
“The modifications will extend the life of the Steyr out to 2025 and beyond,” a department spokeswoman said.
Two years after the country’s debt will be paid in full. In theory.