German Armed Forces new rifle selection is a blow to Heckler & Koch

Following the recent announcement by German Media that the country’s Ministry of Defense selected the C.G. Haenel MK556 as its new assault rifle;

Stelios Kanavakis, Defense Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers his view on the decision:

“This announcement comes as a surprise considering Heckler & Koch’s (H&K) historically leading position in the German light arms market, as well as its global successes, which, among others, include the recent HK416 contracts with France and Norway where it serves as the main rifle. Once the contract is approved by the German Parliament, the German Armed Forces will acquire 120,000 rifles at a cost of $296m.

“The decision is also a blow to the H&K G36 rifle, which allegedly suffered from overheating and accuracy problems during operations in hot climates or after extensive firing, something that led the then defence minister, Ursula von der Leyen, to order a new tender. That will also have a negative impact on H&K’s ability to promote its weapons and it may also lead current users of the G36, such as Spain, to select a new main assault rifle sometime in the near-future.

“It is noteworthy that the German state side-lined after 60 years its long-term supplier for another German company that is nevertheless owned by UAE’s EDGE Group. The latter produces Caracal’s CAR 816 assault rifle, which has its roots in the HK416, as some of H&K’s and Sig Sauer’s engineers were hired by the UAE conglomerate to design the new product. CAR 816 has already been selected by India and South Korea, among others. The recent success is marking the rifle’s entry into NATO’s demanding market landscape and can open up new opportunities for EDGE Group and C.G. Haenel.”

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