Fears over rifle's reliability in desert conditions

Australian troops serving in Iraq have been experiencing an unacceptable level of faults with the army's Steyr assault rifle. A number of cases have been revealed of weapon stoppages and jamming during range practice and this has raised fears about the rifle's reliability in desert conditions.

Documents obtained by the network under Freedom of Information laws showed that in one case, 25 rifles out of a total of 136 inspected were faulty.

"During regular range practice run by JTF (Joint Task Force), constant problems have been encountered resulting instoppages with the F-88 (Steyr)," says an official army report. "Of primary concern, is the inability of many rifles to chamber a round when going to the 'action' condition."

It warned that reliability problems were starting to affect soldiers' confidence and urged asolution be found as soon as possible. No date was given for the weapon faults but the army report refers to new spring kits being fitted to the rifles between August and September last year.

Fear of faults in Iraq rifle (The Australian, 28 August 2007)