The British Army plans to equip the L85A3 assault rifle from now on for 2025. It is known that this is the latest and most powerful upgraded variant of the SA80 rifle line, which was born in the 1980s.
SA80 is a British standard field line developed and perfected in the 1980s. Although it shoots accurately, its disadvantages are high cost, unstable operation in dusty environments, and difficulty in maintenance and repair.
The British Army improved the SA80 into the L85 assault rifle and officially entered service in 1985, then the L85A1 variant was born in 1994, the L85A2 variant was born in 2000. However, they are still almost not thoroughly overcome the disadvantages of the SA80 gun line.
It was not until the L85A version that the error was completely overcome. It is known that this variant was first introduced in 2016 at the Defense Vehicle Dynamics show near Bedford in the UK and entered limited service with a number of British armed forces from 2018.
After a period of use, the L85A3 rifle was highly appreciated by British soldiers and considered that this was the best model they had ever used. From a realistic assessment and through a rigorous testing process, the British Army officially equipped this gun line, and set a goal to complete mass equipment by 2025.
In addition to new production, the UK will upgrade all existing L85A2 variants to the L85A3 standard with an estimated cost of 95.6 million USD. The upgrade was undertaken by NSAF Ltd., a UK subsidiary of Heckler & Koch. It can be seen that the L85A3 gun will have a new streamlined front grip, allowing for better handling and improved accuracy, while reducing weight.
The new features of the L85A3 are enhanced based on user feedback gathered since the weapon was first introduced in 2018, other changes include the magazine’s magazine, arm shield and system. The Picatinny rail system is reasonably designed for mounting additional combat accessories.
The L85A3 is also compatible to hold the HK AG36 40mm grenade launcher under the German gun barrel to increase the damage power.
The L85A3 can be fitted with a 4x magnifying glass as well as a night vision goggles. The gun has a safety lock, with a lever to choose “semi-automatic” or “automatic” firing mode, although there is no left-handed version.
L85A3 weighs 4 kg, 780 mm long, 518 mm long barrel. The gun has a rate of fire of 650 rounds/min, a muzzle velocity of 900 m/s, an effective range of 500 m, The gun uses a 30-round polymer magazine developed by the Magpul company, which has a slot to check the number of bullets in the magazine.
L85A3 still retains its precision characteristics, worthy of being the most accurate assault rifle in the world today, surpassing the US M16/4 and Russia’s AK-12/15.
In addition to military equipment, the UK is also ready to provide an upgrade package to the L85A3 standard for countries that own previous variants of this assault rifle line such as Canada, Jamaica, Nepal, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Bolivia, Papua New Guinea etc.