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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Troops lose faith in failing weapons

Brendan Nicholson
August 28, 2007

HARSH conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused weapons used by Australian troops, including special forces soldiers, to break or fail to fire.

An armourer in Baghdad warned that problems with the army's standard issue Steyr rifle were serious enough to damage soldiers' confidence in the weapon.

On one occasion a soldier using a hand-held grenade launcher found that the pistol grip used to hold and aim it broke off in his hand as he tried to load it.

The Australian Defence Force concluded that an adhesive failed after the weapon had been stored in an armoury where temperatures reached over 70 degrees.

An automatic grenade launcher fitted to Australian armoured vehicles also failed to fire because a part had swollen due to the heat in storage.

The Baghdad armourer responsible for maintaining the weapons complained that during firing range practice a significant number of Steyr rifles had failed to fire.

According to ADF spokesman Brigadier Andrew Nikolic, the problem was a series of faulty springs in the firing mechanism.

Brigadier Nikolic added that, "It is essential that this problem be given a permanent repair method as soon as possible as (it) seems to be affecting people's confidence in the weapon."

The revelations are contained in documents released by the ADF in response to an FOI request from the Seven Network.

Brigadier Nikolic said the number of faults identified was not high considering the volume of weapons used in the harsh desert environments.

Temperatures range from a low in Afghanistan of minus 20 to highs in Iraq of 55 to 60 degrees. Such conditions are very tough on equipment, Brigadier Nikolic said.

He said weapons and other equipment were constantly being checked and upgraded.

Brigadier Nikolic said one unit in Iraq had 400 Steyr rifles and springs in the firing mechanism had been replaced on 14 of them.

A MAG-58 7.62 millimetre machine-gun was found to have cracks in its firing mechanism when inspected after being sent to the area of operations.

Heavy grenade launchers that were supposed to be fitted to the long-range modified Land Rovers used by the SAS on patrols in Afghanistan would not fit onto the mounting welded to the vehicles and were placed in storage.

Troops complained that cleaning materials issued with their heavy 12.7 millimetre sniper rifles left a residue that reduced their accuracy.

The soldiers said they wanted to swap to another type of lubricating material used by other coalition troops but the ADF refused because it was not on a list of approved equipment.

But Brigadier Nikolic said the ADF did not issue the requested form of lubricant because it was considered carcinogenic and an alternative was being sought.

Australia Defence Association spokesman Neil James said he did not think the number of problems was out of the ordinary.

"If you fight in hot, dusty deserts you have problems with weapons and machinery," he said.

Melbourne Age

ADF Rejects Channel 7 Claims Of Faulty Equipment
Tuesday, 28 August 2007, 11:34 am
Press Release: Australian Defence Force
Defence Rejects Claims Of Faulty Equipment

Defence rejects the claims made by Channel Seven that Australian Defence Force personnel lack high quality weapons and equipment.

Defence believes that Channel 7s ‘investigative report’ is based entirely on selective and exaggerated use of information gained from a Freedom of Information Request on 13 August 2007. In responding to this request, Defence provided Channel 7 with information on faults with ammunition and weapons used by service personnel in Afghanistan and Iraq during a two-year period between April 2005 – April 2007.

Contrary to Channel 7s report, the information provided to them highlights that:

* Defence takes weapon safety seriously and responds quickly to all reported weapon faults and improvement recommendations. The Report on Unsatisfactory or Defective Material (RODUM) system is an effective, robust and well-used method of identifying and fixing equipment problems.

* The fact that Defence personnel use RODUMs to report equipment issues indicates they have a high level of confidence in the system.

* The relatively small number of RODUMs compared to Defence’s total inventory reinforces the very high standard of weapons and equipment.

* The results achieved by Defence personnel in harsh operational environments in places like Iraq and
Afghanistan bears testimony to their training, leadership, commitment and equipment.

In response to the specific claims made in the Channel 7 report, Defence confirms that:


* Since 2005 there have been three RODUMs submitted in relation to the F88 AUSTEYR (Steyr Rifle) - two in 2005 and one in December 2006. Each of these RODUMs related to minor faults in a relatively small number of weapons.

* For example, the unit which submitted the December 2006 RODUM used 400 weapons over a four-month operational period. During this time spring kits were replaced in only 14 weapons.

* This is not excessive and is considered part of the normal repair and maintenance regime.

Weapon Mounts

* Army currently has serviceable mounts for the MK19 and the other weapon systems mounted to patrol vehicles.

* These mounts have undergone a number of local modifications to tailor them to the specific vehicle upon which they are to be employed. They are operating effectively in Afghanistan today.

* Army is undertaking continuous improvement of this equipment and also working toward a common mount for all weapon systems.

Sniper Rifle

* The RODUM system identified the barrel cleaner for the sniper rifle was not cleaning barrels effectively and an alternative was suggested.

* The suggested alternative was found to be unacceptable from an Occupational Health and Safety perspective.

Contrary to Channel 7s assertion that this decision reflects bureaucratic interference, it was designed to protect the health and safety of Defence personnel.

* A more suitable cleaning agent is being provided that achieves an acceptable cleaning effect and is safe to use.

Explosive Ordnance (EO)

* More than 10 million items of EO were issued in support of operations during 2006/ 07. Only 44 RODUMs related to EO were reported during this period.

Channel 7 has used the RODUM system to highlight negative aspects of equipment quality. The fact is that the relatively small number of RODUMs compared to Defence’s extensive inventory reinforces the very high standard of our weapons and equipment.

Channel 7s claims are sensationalistic and are designed to mislead the Australian public about the true state of ADF equipment. The families of Defence personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan don’t deserve to be alarmed by this type of misleading coverage.

Defence calls on Channel 7 to review its coverage of the story and present a more accurate reporting of the facts.


Premium Member
4,191 Posts
They can always send anything they have lost faith in my way...

I offer free storage!!!

:wink: :wink:

167 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Army gun no dud, says general

Army gun no dud, says general
Article from: Herald Sun

Ian McPhedran

August 30, 2007 12:00am

ARMY chief Lt-Gen Peter Leahy has denied there were systemic problems with the infantry's main combat weapon, despite 30 rifles misfiring each month in Iraq.

General Leahy conceded there was a minor problem with the Australian-made F88 Steyr and that this had been referred to the maker, Thales Australia.

He also confirmed there were defects with other weapons systems.

"We have asked that manufacturer to see what the problem is, to make sure that we can look confidently at repairs or whether there is something we need to do in the longer term," he said.

The General's push to play down concerns about the weapon contradicts a report issued by an armourer in Baghdad.

The soldier reported that 30 Steyrs a month had been unable to "chamber a round when going to 'action' ".

"This has been a constant problem since I commenced my tour," the soldier wrote.

"This problem seems to be affecting people's confidence in the weapon."

He found dozens of weapons had been fitted with the wrong springs in the firing system.

"The springs are no longer able to hold enough spring tension to force the working parts fully forward," the armourer said.

Prime Minister John Howard said he was "100 per cent confident" troops in Iraq and Afghanistan had the best equipment.

Mr Howard said he travelled to visit troops overseas to thank them for their service.

"The other reason is to ask them to their face whether they are adequately supported and provisioned and whether their kit and weapons are OK, and they have told me their equipment is first class," he said.

General Leahy said the Steyr was reliable.

"The manufacturers are not perfect. We are not perfect in the way that we store them (weapons) and move them and ship them and not all of that is under our control.

"This is not systemic. We are working hard to fix this," he said.

15 Posts
ministerofdeath said:
They aren't using Steyr built AUG/STG 77s it is an ADI built F88 and they have had production issue in the past with bad materials.

However, if you look at the percentage of F88s that have gone down compared to the percentage of M4s/M16s you'll see it has been a much more robust rifle. All firearms will have failures either do to parts, QC, ammo, condition, etc. and I'm not shocked that they've had a few issues during the course of the war. Still the most reliable firearm available in my opinion.

Those are rifles manufactured by Lithgow in Australia. They're not Steyr products.

Premium Member
3,817 Posts
"Defence rejects the claims made by Channel Seven that Australian Defence Force personnel lack high quality weapons and equipment. "

Hadn't seen Geraldo Rivera in a while, now we know where he went to do his latest "reporting". He even looked in Al Capone's Australian vault and found a Lithgow and thought it was an original Steyr. Is every Channel 7 in the world a journalistic farce? 3 minor failures in extreme conditions in a couple of years, woo-hoo.
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