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The German procurement agency BAAINBw has issued a tender, seeking to purchase 1,750 new assault rifles in total for approx. €11 million. These are expected to replace the G36 rifles currently used by the German Armed Forces (Bundeswehr). The deadline for submitting offers is 9 February 2016, with deliveries to start 10 September, and to be completed by 28 June 2019.

Since entering service in 1997, Hecker & Koch’s (HK) G36 became a favourite weapon in service with numerous military and law enforcement forces around the world. However, after experiencing overheating in extended firefights, the G36 proved unsuitable for long range engagement in hot conditions. After a thorough investigation that lasted three years, the German Ministry of Defence (MoD) decided to phase out the G36 over these concerns. HK contested the decision claiming the German MoD did not provide clear specifics for the weapon, and won when a court ruled they were not liable for damages over faulty assault rifles. The court rejected the government's call for the German Army to be compensated for the 3,845 rifles it ordered in two contracts dating back to 2013. The court ruled that HK had not reneged on what was promised in the agreement and that the military had failed to list its demands for the weapon to the gun maker.

According to the new tender’s requirements the future assault rifle is to be a gas-operated firearm chambered in the 5.56x45mm NATO, and capable of single and automatic fire. The weapon is to be equipped with a STANAG 4694 NATO Accessory Rail (NAR) on the top of a receiver, other NARs located on a handguard, and a suppressor. The weapon length without a suppressor is to be less than 900mm, with a maximum weight set to 3.8kg (without magazine, ammunition, and optics). The barrel life is requested to be at least 10,000 rounds, while receiver life is to be 30,000 rounds or more. The rifle is requested to be feature dual controls for right- and left-handed users. The contract also includes the delivery of a laser designator and illuminator, flashlight, and carrying equipment.

Delivered before a contract is to be signed, five models are to be provided for bid comparison, 40 rifles for qualification tests and compatibility checks with optical sights, and 1,705 serially produced weapons.

Contenders will most probably include FN Herstal, HK, Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher, and SIG Sauer.

(Photo: KSK)

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