The main proportion of assault rifle (AR) requirements across theSpecial Operations Forces (SOF) community remain focused on the procurement of NATO standard 5.56mm x45mm solutions as a baseline system for the individual operator. Weapons can be modified and upgraded with accessories including laser designators, suppressors, optical weapon sights and enhanced ammunition in order to extend capabilities.
On 10 October 2017, German SOF signed a contract with Heckler & Koch (H&K) for the acquisition of 1,745 HK416A7 carbines in 5.56mm x45mm calibre. According to an announcement from the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology of the German Armed Forces (BAAINBw) , the weapon was selected to replace in-service G36 carbines of the same calibre for utility by the German Army’s SOF (Kommando Spezialkräfte - KSK) and Navy’s SOF (Kommando Spezialkräfte Marine - KSM).
Designated the G95, the carbine retains the standard gas and piston operating system of the HK416 and features a standard 14.5in barrel suited for the integration of suppressors for CQB and urban operations.
Standard rail adaptor systems in the 12-, 3-, 6- and 9-o’clock positions allow for the integration of tactical accessories as well as 40mm underslung grenade launcher (UGL).
Technical testing at the military service center 91 (WTD91) as well as tactical testing by KSK started in November 2017 with 40 weapons. This German SOF adoption is of a newer edition of the HK416 than that which in use with US and UK SOF. It will be very interesting to see which lasers and optics will be chosen for the new Sturmgewehr Spezialkräfte. This July, BAAINBw awarded Rheinmetall a contract worth approx. €5 million to supply a lightweight, assault rifle-mounted laser light package to meet the needs of the KSK. The order encompasses the manufacture and delivery of 1,745 laser light package sets for the HK416A7. Delivery will commence in the first quarter of 2019.
Rheinmetall's Variable Tactical Aiming Laser (VTAL) module is the core component of the new laser light package. Extremely robust and compact, the system is specially designed for today’s shorter assault rifles. Each set includes two LUMENATOR weapon lights – a standard version with a dual LED head and a special version for hostage rescue operations. It also comes with various accessories such as a cable and tactical switch. All devices are made by Rheinmetall Soldier Electronics (RSE) in Stockach, Germany.
According to further news reports, the A7 model is the first variant of the HK416 with a 45 Deg throw lever safety. Interestingly, this is also featured on the HK433.