- Apr 27, 2015
The future of the German Army's G36 service rifle in its current form has been called into question by recent reports on its performance and comments by Germany's defence minister. Source: Bundeswehr
German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen questioned the future of the German military service rifle, the Heckler & Koch (HK) G36, in a non-public meeting of a parliamentary special committee on 22 April.
The comment adds to increasing criticism since 2012 of the rifle's performance under specific climatic conditions. According to Bundestag members who attended the meeting, von der Leyen said that the G36, in its current state, "has no future in the Bundeswehr".
The special committee also discussed a technical evaluation report conducted by the Fraunhofer Institute, the Bundeswehr's Technical Centre for Weapons and Ammunition (WTD 91), and the Research Institute for Materials, Fuels, and Lubricants (WIWeB), which IHS Jane's has seen a copy of. The evaluation team tested 25 HK-produced G36 rifles in its A0, A1, A2, A3, and A4 variations and an unspecified number of other, unnamed rifles, using the standard 5,56x45 mm NATO ammunition in service with the German military. The defined requirement was that the rifle should be able to consistently hit a target at a distance of 300 m with an accuracy of 90%.
The reports said the G36 failed to meet the requirements, both because of "self-induced" heating, for example when the weapon was fired rapidly, and in increased climate-related temperatures, simulated by exposing the rifles to a light source for 600 seconds and increasing the temperature from 15° to 45°.
In some circumstances, the tested HK rifles showed an accuracy of 53% after firing only two full magazines of ammunition. However, the report said, "evaluating [other unspecified] weapon systems has shown that the tactical-operative requirements [of the Bundeswehr] can be met in principle" for both issues.
HK has protested about being excluded from the choice and testing of the comparison weapons, claiming that some of them had operational roles that different from the G36's.
Speaking to IHS Jane's before the report's release, an HK spokesperson said, "We expect the Government's report on the rifle to be unfairly critical of the G36 - testing it in ways it was never intended to perform in to satisfy a political narrative. Heckler & Koch believes this is the basis for the report rather than any practical concerns at play, which could have far-reaching implications for a key piece of military equipment used around the world."
In the meantime, the Federal Ministry of Defence (BMVg) has launched two more studies about the G36. The first, to be completed by 1 October, will investigate the role of the G36 in recent combat situations and whether its use had any negative impacts on missions and German lives. Its focus is on reports of combat operations in Afghanistan in recent years "that may need to be evaluated differently under current circumstances. Its purpose is to determine whether German soldiers were at a higher risk in combat operations by using the G36".
Another study, initiated by defence state secretary Katrin Suder and to be concluded by the end of November, aims to analyse the BMVg's procurement, assessment, and utilisation processes of the G36, analysing the organisational structures of the ministry agencies involved and of their decision-making processes.
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Germany defence minister sees 'no future for G36' - IHS Jane's 360
This is seriously bad news for KSA who were going for this Gun
@Rakan.SA @Stealth @BLACKEAGLE and others
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