The iconic Steyr AUG has been in service with Austria’s Bundesheer since 1977, and now the Austrian Ministry of Defense has announced a major upgrade for the rifles. In a statement, Austria’s Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner said that 14,400 modified Sturmgewehr 77 A1 MOD would be issued and that the value of the contract to Steyr Arms was more than 20 million Euros ($21 million).
The 77 A1 MOD appears to be a small but important refit of the Bundesheer’s AUGs with the focus being on giving the older weapons some modularity – adding a new mount for a new 3x optic and a length of rail where the AUG’s folding pistol grip used to sit. A 5-inch length of rail now allows additional accessories to be mounted or the position of the forward grip to be shifted. The optic now has rail space at 12, 3 and 9 o’clock and the optic mount itself has rail space to mount a Rheinmetall TLLM tactical laser light module, which were first adopted in 2017. On top of the main optic, a close-quarter sight – an Aimpoint Micro red dot – has been added. The weapons also have a new brass deflector added at the rear of the ejection port but the weapons still feed from AUG waffle magazines.
Back in 2017, on the 40th anniversary of the Sturmgewehr 77 adoption by the Austrian Army, it was announced that upgraded rifles would be issued but while these rifles had similar optics configurations to the latest A1 MOD, they lacked some of the other features like the new case deflectors and lower rails. Similarly, in 2018, the Bundesheer’s military police began to receive the StG 77A1 MP which has a railed upper (but no optic riser) and a new flash hider.
Here’s Bundesheer’s statement in full:
On Thursday, February 16, 2023, Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner handed over the first modified 77 A1 MOD assault rifles to the troops. The ceremony took place in Vienna’s Maria Theresa barracks.
“Today I am looking forward to handing over the first installment of the modified 77 assault rifle to the troops. Over the next two years, a total of 14,400 rifles will be issued to both the militia and the cadre presence units. The assault rifle, introduced in 1977, has meanwhile become the unique identifier of the Austrian Soldiers, both at home and abroad,” said Defense Minister Tanner.
The assault rifle 77 is the standard armament of Austrian soldiers. It impresses with its simplicity, reliability and absolute suitability for use. The modifications that have now been made allow better adaptation to individual requirements and at the same time increase the effectiveness of each soldier in combat through optimized handling safety and improved aiming.
The company Steyr Arms (formerly Steyr Mannlicher), a traditional Austrian company, is responsible for the modification. The order volume of more than 20 million euros is therefore being invested in Austria as a business location. The army’s internal implementation of the modification is the responsibility of the army logistics center in Klagenfurt together with the weapon technicians and specialists of the troops.
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