The NK433 modular assault rifle, first introduced in 2017, was offered by Heckler & Koch for the German army as a replacement for the current G36.
Strangely enough in this age of computer and information technology, that some types of weaponsexisting for many years, it seems, still have not solved all their technical problems. It is quite clear that the problems with assault rifles have not been solved yet. For some of them created in 90's, many criticisms were made that caused them to be replaced prematurely. The first was the licensed Spanish automatic rifle СЕТМЕ, which was replaced by the German G36, which is currently being changed again by a new model.
The French army began to receive new assault rifles, which will replace the FAMAS bullpup rifle, which has been in service since the late 70s. The HK416F rifle, created by the German company Heckler & Koch, was chosen to replace it (the numbers mean compatibility with NATO standards with magazines from M4 and M16, the letter F means France). A total of 117000 rifles will be purchased, and deliveries will run from 2017 to 2028. Initially, the contract provided for the supply of 102000 rifles, an increase of 15000 pieces is due to the needs of reserve units. About 93000 rifles are intended for the army, almost 10000 for ground units fleet and the air force. The contract also includes 10767 HK269F 40x46 mm grenade launchers, accessories, ammunition, spare parts and technical support for 15 years.
The Heckler & Koch HK416 rifle was chosen by France; most of the rifles will go into service with the ground forces
In June 2017, the first two units of the French army received their NK 416 rifles, which will replace the current FAMAS rifle of bullpup layout, which has been in service since the end of 70's
The army will receive 5300 rifles in 2017 year, then in the period from 2018 to 2023 will receive 10000 rifles per year, and in the last five years of the contract supply will be reduced by half. The army’s share will allow the entire personnel of the combat units of the ground forces to arm, and these are the 77000 military, as well as those who are not part of these units, plus the personnel of the reserve units. The first two army units received HK416F in June of this year: the 1 th sniper regiment received a batch of 150 rifles and the 13 th brigade of the Foreign Legion batch of 250 pieces. Regarding the new elements: in comparison with the previous FAMAS rifle in the new model, the shop on 30 cartridges against 25; the HK416F rifle also has a mirror-symmetrical design, that is, it adapts easily to both right-handed and left-handed people, which cannot be said about clarion (French horn, the unofficial name FAMAS), which was produced in two different versions; butt adapts to the size of a soldier. The Picatinny trims are mounted on the barrel cover, which allow installing additional systems, for example, the 40-mm grenade launcher HK269F also has a double-sided design, a handle with a bipod, optical sights, etc.
FAMAS rifle complex FELIN
The HK416F rifle will be produced in two versions: 38505 units for infantry units are purchased in the standard version of the HK416F-S with an 14,5 inch barrel, and the remaining 54575 units under the designation HK416F-C (Court - shortened) will be equipped with an 11-inch barrel. Currently, most of the infantry units are armed with a FAMAS FELIN rifle, adapted to the combat equipment of the French army FELIN. In order to preserve the capabilities of the FELIN complex, these units will retain their old assault rifles for some time, since the army plans to release kits for adapting the new rifle to the next stage of the FELIN program around 2020. The French army in 2020-2021 years plans to upgrade a total of 14915 rifles HK416F-S, the work will be carried out at the division level. In time, determined by the command, the troops will receive a new combat equipment FELIN 2.0, which is a further development of the current system, with a special emphasis on mobility and modularity, as well as weight loss.
The NK433 rifle, which is easily adaptable both under right-handed and left-handed, can be equipped with an 40-mm NK269 grenade launcher also with a “two-sided” design, since it can be opened to the right or left side
The Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle is nevertheless considered a successful platform to this day. The last known contract was with Lithuania for an improved version of this rifle under the designation G36 KA4M1. Improvements are mainly related to ergonomics: new stock, barrel pad and rifle scope guides. Lithuania also purchased a new NK269 grenade launcher of "double-sided" design. The Lithuanian army has already received a number of G36 rifles; a 2016 contract worth 12,5 million euros provides for the delivery in 2017 of an undisclosed number of rifles and grenade launchers.
Germany finally decided to replace this assault rifle G36, adopted in the middle of the 90-s. In April 2017, the German Defense Procurement Department opened the System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr competition. Applications should have been submitted by the end of May, but there was no official information from applicants. The predicted number of rifles should be of the order of 120000 pieces; The selection will be made next year, while production should start in the middle of 2019 and go before the start of 2026, the value of the contract is estimated at 245 million euros. Little is known about the requirements for a new rifle: weight without 3.6 kg magazine, two barrels of different lengths, rifle durability, barrel life at least 15000 shots, receiver life twice as high as average. Strangely enough, the requirements do not say anything about the caliber, which allows applicants to offer weapons of both NATO standards, 5,56x45 and 7,62x51, although the first one seems to be preferable.
The need of the German armed forces in the new assault rifle is about 120000 units. The document does not say about the caliber, but all known applicants are likely to focus on the caliber 5,56 mm
Among the applicants we will no doubt find three national solutions offered by Heckler & Koch, Rheinmetall and Haenel. It remains to be seen how many foreign applicants such as FN and SIG Sauer can try their luck in this competition, given the irresistible desire of the German parliament to keep money in their country.
In February 2017, Heckler & Koch presented its new modular assault rifle NK433, which combines some of the best practices and the best characteristics of the G36 and NK416 rifles, but at the same time its cost is lower than the cost of NK416. It belongs to a gas-operated weapon with a gas piston with a short stroke, made separately from the bolt carrier, and locking the bolt of an optimized shape for 7 lugs. The barrels are modular, quick-detachable and are made in six configurations with lengths of 11, 12,5, 14,5. 16,5, 18,9 and 20 inches; chrome-plated inside the barrels are made by cold forging. Self-lubricating sliding bolt parts minimized maintenance of the weapon. At the request of the Bundeswehr, the NK433 rifle has a three-position translator of fire modes: "on safety", "single" and "automatic"; the rate of fire is 700 rounds per minute. An adjustable gas outlet allows the installation of a silencer. The standard magazine corresponds to NATO STANAG 4179, however, using a special kit, the NK433 rifle can be equipped with a G36 magazine. The lower part of the receiver can be replaced with a G36 or AR-15 receiver, which allows the user not to change their habits acquired with the previous weapon, thereby reducing the amount of combat training. The rifle has a right-folding buttstock with a length-adjustable shoulder rest with an adjustable cheek piece. You can shoot with the stock folded; Replaceable grip covers allow it to be adapted to the shooter's hand. The receiver is made of aluminum, equipped with a NAR (NATO Accessory Rail) STANAG 4694 standard, the receiver has a Picatinny / NAR rail at 6 o'clock. At the 3 and 9 o'clock positions, we find Nkeu adapters. H&K offers a shot counter that can be downloaded from a short distance using RFID technology. In addition to the 5,56 mm caliber version, the new N&K rifle is also available in the .300 AAC Blackout (7.62x35) cartridge, the 7.62x39 mm version was designated NK123, while the 7.62x51 mm version was designated NK231.
The latest development from Heckler & Koch HK433, whose modular concept allows you to adapt it to the habits of users of the G36 or M4
Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher have teamed up to take part in the competition to replace the German G36 rifle and offer the RS556 (Rheinmetall - Steyr 5.56) model, which is a further development of the STM-556 karabiner. represented by an Austrian arms company in 2012. The lower receiver is the same as the AR15 rifle, however, refined for left-handers. The rifle is equipped with a more reliable and significantly less sensitive to pollution system with a short stroke of the gas piston. The piston acts on the rod, which moves the bolt carrier back, and is locked with a rotary bolt. The slide frame parts are made of steel, while the top and bottom receiver boxes are aluminum. For a rifle five barrels of different lengths are available, no tools are required to replace them. These solutions are inherited from the Steyr AUG model. The rifle has a four-position gas regulator, which can operate in normal mode, in the mode of difficult operating conditions, in firing mode with a silencer and with completely blocked exhaust of gases. Telescopic polymer butt has 7 length adjustment positions. In addition to the 5,56 mm caliber version, models are also offered for .300 AAC Blackout and 7.62x39 mm cartridges.
The Rheinmetall RS556 rifle is in many ways similar to the AR-15 family
The third German applicant, Haenel (although it is owned by the Emirates company Tawazun), proposed another AR36 rifle in the G15 substitution competition. The principle of operation of the model Haenel Mk 556 based on the removal of powder gases from the barrel. The butt is also reminiscent of the M4 butt, with five trunks of different lengths being proposed. Three-position fuse-translator shooting modes allows you to fire single shots and continuous bursts. Depending on the choice of the customer, there are two options for it: fuse-single-automatic respectively on 0 ° -60 ° -120 ° or on 0 ° -90 ° -180 °. The pull force is 3,2 kg, all controls and adjustments are suitable for both hands. The barrel pad is equipped with four guides NAR, also installed folding mechanical sights.
The Bundeswehr contract for a new assault rifle attracted the attention of Rheinmetall, which teamed up with Steyr Mannlicher to offer RS556, a modification of the STM-556 model
The latest known buyer of Accuracy International’s latest development - the AMXC338 assault rifle chambered for .338 LM - was Lithuania
If everything is more or less clear with the three German applicants, then little is known about possible foreign applicants. In principle, all major manufacturers of small arms are able to present interesting solutions. Another vague point concerns the possible common system of France and Germany, proposed by France at the end of 2015, when the NK433 rifle had not yet been “published”.
Another competition, albeit a substantially smaller scale, was announced in Germany in January 2017. This time the new rifle became necessary for special operations forces. The Department of Defense Procurement determined the need for 1705 rifles, which still need to add five pieces for evaluation tests and another 40 for acceptance tests, that is, the winner will have to deliver a total of 1750 rifles. As for the requirements for a rifle, some of them are known: a rifle chambered for 5.56x45 mm with a short stroke of a gas piston, a barrel life of at least 10000 shots, a receiver three times longer. The rifle must adapt to right-handed and singing and be equipped with STANAG 4694 guides on the receiver trim and receiver so that you can install accessories such as a laser module, flashlight and other devices. The weapon must be compatible with the silencer and must have a length of less than 900 mm without a silencer; the maximum weight without a magazine and optics must not exceed 3,8 kg.
Rheinmetall will undoubtedly offer its RS556 model for this competition, however, Heckler & Koch should offer their NK416A5 or NK416A5 models, while Haenel's participation is still in question. As with the aforementioned competition, little is known about foreign applicants who might take part in the German competition. German special operations squadrons (KSK) began to receive the new Haenel RS-9 .338 LM sniper rifle in 2016, designated G-29 in the Bundeswehr. The length of the weapon is 1275 mm, the barrel length is 690 mm, with the stock folded, the total length is reduced to 1020 mm. The KSK special forces chose the Steiner Military 5-25x56-ZF sight, to which, in the case of firing at close range, the Aimpoint Micro 1-2 collimator sight is attached. In June 2017, spetsnaz began to receive a B&T Monoblock silencer specially designed for the .338 LM caliber. It adds another 222mm to the rifle's length and another 652 grams to its weight, which is 7,54kg without accessories.
More recently, it became known that the new G95 assault rifle (HK416A7) will replace the automatic G36KA1 / A2 / A4 automatic rifles. A new weapon will go into service with units of special operations forces of the ground forces and naval special forces.
Another country that recently chose the .338 LM caliber for its snipers was Latvia, which bought an unnamed number of Accuracy International AHMS rifles at the end of the 2016 year. This is a big breakthrough in terms of accuracy and range, since before that Lithuanian snipers were armed with semi-automatic rifles of caliber 7.62x51 mm.
Staying in the sniper world, some young participants joined historical brands. For example, the Austrian Ritter & Stark with its modular rifle SX-1 Modular Tactical Rifle, available chambered for 7.62x51 300 Winchester Magnum and .338 Lapua Magnum, and the Italian Victrix, whose portfolio includes four bolt action rifles, the Pugio chambered for 7.62x51, Gladius chambered for 7.62x51, .260 Remington and 6.5 Creed, Scorpio chambered for .338 LM and .300 Win, and Tormentum chambered for .375 and .408 Cheytac, were recently acquired by Beretta. Staying true to Beretta, Poland recently bought 150 Sako M10 modular rifles chambered for .338 LM.
The company Beretta after the start of production of an ARX200 rifle chambered for 7.62x51 mm has already transferred the first installments of the Italian army
Beretta Stable Beauties, inherited from Victrix (from top to bottom): Victrix Scorpio, Victrix Tormentum, Victrix Pugio
As for assault rifles, Beretta supplies its ARX-200 combat rifles to the Italian army. These 7.62x51 mm caliber rifles will allow Italian combat units to increase their combat capabilities compared to previous 160 mm caliber Beretta ARX-5,56 rifles. Beretta should soon start developing a semi-automatic version of the ARX-200, which will become in the company's pure portfolio a rifle for the Marxman (the lowest level in shooting accuracy in the classification adopted in the US Land Forces).
A significantly improved version of the Bren 2 original Bren assault rifle was adopted by the Czech army, which is currently receiving the first batches
Bren 2 in different configurations: (top to bottom) with an 14 inch barrel, an 11 inch barrel and an 8 inch barrel
Many armies adopt new rifles. At the end of last year, the Czech Army received the first batch of CZ Bren 2 assault rifles. 2600 pieces were ordered, 1900 with a barrel length of 356 mm and 700 rifles in a shortened configuration with a barrel length of 280 mm. Also at the end of 2016, the Dutch naval special forces received their short-barreled SIG MAX carbines, becoming the first among the special forces to switch to the .300 Blackout caliber; new carbines will replace submachine guns in melee. Among the munitions that are included in the contract, you can find not only standard cartridges and cartridges with subsonic bullets, but also lead-free thin-walled bullets that allow you to avoid rebounding when working in confined spaces. In early January 2017, the Turkish army received the first batch of 500 assault rifles MRT-76 7.62x51 mm from the company MKEK; according to the 35000 rifle contract, two companies will manufacture, MKEK will manufacture 20000 units, and KaleKalip, respectively, 15000 units. At IDEF 2017, MKEK presented its new assault rifle chambered for 5.56x45 mm MRT-55 (Milli Piyade Tiifegi - national infantry rifle), which comes in two versions, standard with a barrel length 368 mm and shortened (MRT-55K). The new rifle is distinguished by a vapor system with a short piston stroke, similar to that of an AR-15 rifle; it was designed to meet the needs of the Turkish special forces; At the end of the 2016, 20000 rifles were ordered. In addition, the MRI-76 rifle version with a table length 508 mm was introduced, which was designated KNT-76 (Keskin Nisanci Tiifegi - sniper rifle); A variant of the KAAN-717 carbine with a barrel length of 305 mm was also shown. As for Russia, it is very active in the small arms market. For example, Venezuela is building in Maracay a plant for the production of Russian AK-103 and AK-104 automatic rifles, as well as cartridges of 7.62x39 mm, which should open in the 2019 year.
The Israel Weapons Industries family of automatic weapons is a further development of the Galil machine gun. Photo Galil ACE models 21, 22 and 23 (top to bottom). Israeli company recently signed an agreement with Indian Punj Lloyd on the creation of a joint venture for the production of small arms of various calibers
India has always been and remains one of the main potential customers of small arms. Its market for small arms is estimated at several billion dollars. The Indian Ministry of Defense recently issued a request for proposals for the purchase of a limited number of 7,62 mm caliber assault rifles, submachine guns and pistols for special forces of the Air Force. But this is only the tip of the iceberg of contracts aimed at retooling the Indian armed forces. Foreign companies merge with local firms. There is no need to go far for an example. The Israeli company IWI in May 2017 of the year established a joint venture with Punj Lloyd, known as Punj Lloyd Raksha Systems, no joint production of small arms. The historical opponent of India, Pakistan, is also in search of new small arms in order to replace their G3 rifles and the 56 Tour caliber 7.62x51mm and 7.62x39 mm. In search of potential contracts, several bidders, including FN, CZ, Beretta, are closely following everything that happens in the country in the field of small arms.
Finally a small summary table.
On the materials of the sites: