Multiple French news sites are reporting that H&K has indeed been chosen by the French military to replace the existing stock of FAMAS rifles with the Teutonic HK416. Designed in the early 1980s, the FAMAS was a bullpup rifle much like the Steyr AUG but with a distinctly French twist. The design worked for the latter part of the 20th century, but modern firearms have left the FAMAS design in the dust. Moving to a Stoner-based design will give French troops not only better ergonomics but also improve their ability to exchange parts and training with other NATO nations.
Belgian manufacturer FN isn’t pleased that their goods weren’t chosen and is suing the French government, saying that their products are of a better quality and design than the H&K offering.
H&K is reportedly on the hook for 101,000 rifles to be delivered to the French government, first going to special forces with a larger rollout expected thereafter. This latest German incursion onto French soil comes roughly 100 years after the failed technological demonstration known as World War I and 70 years after an extended trial period known as “World War II.” As always, Belgium appears to be caught in the middle and largely ignored.