Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen officially announced on 8 September 2015 that the assault rifle service from Heckler & Koch is drawing to a close. So the million dollar question arose. Which model will replace the decommissioned G36 in 2019?
End of service: The era in which the Heckler & Koch G36 5.56x45mm NATO assault rifle was in service with the German armed forces seems to have finally achieved its goal.
The G36 rifle in 5.56x45mm NATO from the world-renowned manufacturer Heckler & Koch from Oberndorf am Neckar in the Swabian region of Germany was adopted in 1997 based on official specifications. It was designed for a 20-year lifespan, which at least the early rifles of the very first batches in 2017 survived.
Now, unfortunately, the decision of the Minister of Defense means that in the future there will not even be a modified or improved version of the HK G36 in service with the armed forces of Germany.
Long-term partners: German Armed Forces and Heckler & Koch
Heckler & Koch has been a respected supplier to the German military since the birth of the Federal Republic of Germany. Let's not forget that the Heckler & Koch G3 7.62x51mm NATO rifles are automatic weapon with a semi-free bolt, were adopted by the Bundeswehr back in the year 1959.
The collapse of the Warsaw Pact in the early 1990s hit Germany's arms industry hard. The futuristic Heckler & Koch G11 rifle, chambered for 4.73x33mm caseless cartridges, was originally intended to replace the 3x7.62mm NATO G51, but due to reduced defense costs and problems with the weapon itself, it ended up still languishing in military collections. artifacts for study by interested historians.
First prototype HK 50, predecessor to Heckler & Koch G36
Heckler & Koch HK50 alias G36 since early 90s
HK G36 model in section
In 1992, Germany decided to introduce a new assault rifle, intended for firing 5.56X45mm caliber cartridges, which were adopted as a NATO standard from the 1986 year.
The trend towards small low-pulse calibers clearly arose because NATO partners in Europe, such as the United Kingdom with its Enfield SA 80, France with FAMAS or Belgium with FNC, and the United States with M-16, have already followed this example.
The budget constraints were dictated by one of the technical specifications: determine the appropriate design that has already been developed.
Two rifles, the Austrian Steyr AUG and the German Heckler & Koch HK50, entered the final list and were sent to 91 Bundeswehr technical centers in Meppen for comprehensive testing.
Earlier, a radical redistribution of the world power, which sounded the death knell for a major project G11, drove HK almost to the wall and the company was eventually absorbed by the British corporation Royal Ordnance.
Thus, the HK 50 project provided HK with a chance to get back on its feet. The company abandoned the idea of a rifle with a semi-free shutter with roller braking and a body of extruded steel, instead turning to weapons with automatic gas with a short stroke of the gas piston and a butterfly valve in the body of reinforced polymer.
The dawn of a new service rifle, 5.56x45, fell on 8 on May 1995, when the head of the German Armed Forces Directorate General authorized the adoption of an assault rifle, thus blessing HK50 under the new official G36 index. The highly symbolic transfer took place on 3 on December 1997 of the year, when Rüdiger Petereit, director of the Federal Bureau of Defense Technologies and Procurement (BWB), introduced G36 to Major General Reiner Fell, Chief of Logistics Command SV, describing this event as the beginning of a "special period in stories weapons. "
Relationship Development: What kind of weapons were ordered by the German armed forces?
Current design: G36 KA4 with an EOTech telescope with backlight, 3x magnification, a light-laser module and an AG 36 40x36mm grenade launcher
Despite the media hype and discussion of the G36 Heckler & Koch, it should always be kept in mind that this assault rifle was introduced at a time when "9/11", the global war on terrorism, and German soldiers were fighting overseas in the desert. in Afghanistan and Iraq, it was quite inconceivable that the rifle would continue to provide superior value for money.
Heckler & Koch supplied what the specifications demanded in a relatively peaceful period. In addition, 55 countries currently use the Heckler & Koch assault rifle, among them 35 NATO countries belonging to NATO or the North Atlantic Alliance. There doesn't seem to be any customer complaints in such a long time, which means the whole "assault rifle scandal" is nothing more than a purely German issue.
But, undoubtedly, negative media reports have become frequent since 2012, claiming that the G36, once warmed up when fired, has a tendency to inaccurate shooting, and that effective combat against enemy forces is more or less impossible. These claims led to discussions and disputes between the German Ministry of Defense (in this case, the Federal Office of Defense Technologies and Procurement) and the manufacturer from the Black Forest. The statement that an assault rifle can become so inaccurate in the extreme conditions of foreign operations that it loses proof of its accuracy has dealt a severe blow to the image of a well-known manufacturer, hitting engineering skills.
A temporary solution now is the immediate provision of 600 G27P assault rifles of the 7.62x51mm NATO caliber, based on the design of the HK 417
HK 416 A5 caliber 5.56x45mm, will undoubtedly become one of the many alternatives G36
To summarize briefly: in March 2012 of the year, the German armed forces presented a “firing cycle under conditions close to the deployment of the Mission” (EBZ) as a standard operating procedure that describes the entire daily firing cycle of 150 rounds in 20 minutes.
The manufacturer took this EBZ to conduct tests at home with 10 different G36 models made from 1996 to 2008 year, which led to the publication of the report on the 134 pages "G36 assault rifle - analysis of the dispersion and accuracy behavior of the weapon when it overheats after a long shoot" .
Naturally, as with any other weapon, the laws of physics mean that overheated weapons will produce more large dispersed shots, and G36 is no exception.
But it is equally true that, in contrast to biased media, this degree of increased dispersion of shots and loss of accuracy is usually the exception rather than the rule, although the ammunition used is, of course, an additional factor (dual core ammunition MEN DM 11 also been criticized).
And so the inevitable happened: the Federal Office of Defense Technologies and Procurement applied for warranty service, based on significant overheating deficiencies and issues related to the service rifle. This led to further trials by independent institutes, and in April 2015, Ursula von der Leyen expressed her opinion for the first time that G36 would need to be replaced immediately.
Was the scandal associated with the assault rifle, the Germans?
In this regard, it is interesting to note that in the introductory paragraph to the latest, final part of the report of the Federal Bureau of the Bundeswehr equipment, information technology and service support (BAAINBw) partially rehabilitates G36. Unfortunately, we are still not in a position to view the full report, although only the preface by Major General Erich Könen, the head of the ground combat department at BAAINBw, triggered a political storm.
No one could have guessed that for the first phase of World War II, German soldiers would be called upon to use HK G 36 when the weapon was introduced in 1997.
Rumors circulated by 13 in May 2015 of the year suggested that opposition politicians accuse the Ministry of Defense of editing the final report before presenting it to the German parliament, burying the preface.
The Green Party defense expert, Tobias Lindner, called on Ursula von der Leyen to immediately present the foreword to the Defense Committee.
"The minister should explain why she provided parliament with incomplete information." The powers that be were forced to publish a controversial foreword online, accessible to anyone interested in reading it. And, in fact, the preface contains a passage that appears to question the decision about the withdrawal of G36. Here is a quote from the section in question:
“It is important to clarify that in order to understand the report, its purpose is not to evaluate other functional properties of the G36 assault rifle, related to its mass, reliability and functionality.
The battle situation "ambush" was chosen as, taking a cross-section of its basic tactical principles, it seems best suited for a "demanding battle situation" to analyze the consequences we asked for an investigation.
These situations are met and performed in all degrees of intensity and competence. Ambushes are combat situations in which combat troops and auxiliary forces can be drawn at any time. In these cases, the soldiers are forced to deal with high intensity combat.
The armed forces will be called upon during the review process to assess the likelihood of their occurrence. The result of this study will provide the armed forces with an understanding of how G36 works in an extremely demanding technical area, which will therefore enable them to draw conclusions for the preparation and execution of the mission as part of their operational and support duties. The G36 Selection Committee believes that G36 remains a reliable and functional weapon. The report does not indicate that the G36 rifle represents a risk to shooters, and there is no such risk at any point during the deployment of the weapon. "
Construction of bullpaps from other manufacturers: Croatian model VHS-2 from HS Products
ST Kinetics BMCR from Singapore will not be included in the selection procedure for new weapons for the German Army
Interesting workaround - also from Heckler & Koch
Now, 600 G27P assault rifles, based on the 417x7.62mm HK 51 and 600 MG4 5.56x45mm light machine guns from Heckler & Koch, will be purchased to cover emergency needs.
This has infuriated opposition parties, such as the 90 / Green Party and the Left Union, who claim nepotism and “turning poachers to rangers”. This is all the more surprising since purchases that begin in November of this year and end by the end of 2016 are certainly a smart move, given the current structure and logistics within the framework of the German armed forces.
In the end, soldiers serving on the ground in crisis regions will be able to use both of these types of weapons immediately, without spending time on a series of tests or other issues related to their deployment mission.
Promising candidates will replace HK G36
In the group of compact bullfight assault rifles, the Steyr AUG A3 caliber 5.56x45 is likely to be a favorite in retrofitting the German armed forces
Ursula von der Leyen (Ursula von der Leyen) bitterly stressed that the new machine - which is scheduled to be adopted from 2019 year - will be selected as part of an open, transparent tender.
It is worth noting here that Turkey became the first NATO member state to reintroduce the MPT76 rifle of the 7.62x51mm NATO caliber, instead of the more modern 5.56mm weapons.
Indeed, the new Turkish assault rifle bears a striking resemblance to the HK 417 of the same caliber.
If we assume that the German military is unlikely to initiate a general transition from the 5.56x45 caliber back to the 7.62x51mm NATO, the question remains as to which new 5.56mm assault rifles will be purchased as a replacement for the approximately 167,000 units of the HK G36 currently used by the Bundeswehr? This is one of those questions, like the one that says whether they can find a worthy alternative to assault rifles that are in service with NATO alliance partners.
Beretta ARX-160 is one of the modern representatives of traditional 5.56 assault rifles, in which the store is located in front of the trigger
France is also looking for a replacement for its veteran - the 5.56mm rifle according to the FAMAS bullpup scheme, and she has already initiated a tender for the purchase of assault rifles.
The UK's Enfield SA80, also in bullpup design, was commissioned to carry out upgrades and modifications at the Heckler & Koch plant.
Like their somewhat shaky counterparts from the United States, M16A4 / M4A1, both of these European weapons systems showed their weaknesses and, most likely, one place lower than the HK G36 in terms of handling and functional reliability. Thus, they are unlikely to become a viable alternative.
FN Herstal's Belgian FN SCAR family consists of modern assault rifles with a modular design.
If the plans include selecting a candidate from the world of compact assault rifles in the design of bull pap, more attractive arguments would be in favor of the Austrian assault rifle Steyr AUG A3, which will soon celebrate its 40 anniversary of intense military service and has already entered, for another reason, on the shortlist of the German armed forces, or in favor of the later Israeli assault rifle IWI Tavor TAR21.
But there are a lot of fish in the sea, so even traditionally built modern assault rifles with shops located in front of the trigger can be interesting options.
They will include the following marks (in alphabetical order, without claims for completeness): Beretta ARX-160, Remington Defense / Bushmaster ACR, Caracal 816S (more famous in Germany variants of the Haenel CR223 self-loading civilian weapons), CZ 805 BREN A1, FN SCAR, SIG MCX or Steyr STM 556.
It goes without saying that this group should not overlook the HK416 A5 (pseudonym G38), which the American and German elite units are already successfully using and which is currently one of the hottest contenders for the replacement of the M4 in the US armed forces.
There are still no clear instructions on how to choose a successor to HK G36, but we hope that this article and the background knowledge that it contains, has introduced our readers to the course of the matter and gave a high rating, quoting the press and political debates how this issue is developing.
We will keep you abreast of this story, watching how it unfolds.