French Army to replace the Famas Rifle

I first reported rumors that the French would be replacing the FAMAS rifle back in 2009. During a recent meeting with the Commission of Defense, the French CEMAT (Chef d’Etat Major de l’Armée de Terre / Chief of Staff of the Army), General Ract Madoux, confirmed that the French Army would issue a RFP (Request For Proposals) in 2013 for a replacement service rifle for the French Army.
The French FAMAS rifle has been a disaster. Its delayed blowback action is powerful enough to rip apart regular NATO brass-cased 5.56x45mm cases and its rifling does not stabilize the modern 5.56mm NATO bullets.
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The French Army is forced to use steel cased 5.56mm ammunition, thus eliminating the advantages of using the same cartridge as their NATO and EU allies. It that was not bad enough, the ammunition is no longer made in France and has ben to imported. A French journalist told me that China manufactures steel-cased 5.56mm for French military (I will say that another French journalist I spoke to disputes that ammunition is imported from China).
The manufacturer of the FAMAS, the state-owned Manufacture d’Armes de Saint-Etienne (MAS), has been developing firearms since 1777 and is well known for developing the first smokeless power military rifle, the Lebel Model 1886. Sadly this organization no longer has the technical capability to develop a new rifle, which is why France is looking beyond her borders for a new rifle.
I have compiled a list of potential contenders for a new French service rifle, along with their pros and cons.

 

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