The German military is looking to replace the H&K G36 rifle. Now, it appears we know what the contenders for the replacement rifle are thanks to a leaked report. Here’s a hint: It doesn’t look like Germany is going with a 7.62 rifle.
The G36’s replacement is now known to be one of five guns – or at least that’s the report coming from reputable defense outlet IHS Jane’s. Competing in Germany’s System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr(Bundeswehr Assault Rifle System) will be the Rheinmetall RS556,Heckler & Koch HK433, Haenel Defence MK556, SIG MCX, and FNH SCAR. For four contestants, no known 7.62mm variants exist; only the FN SCAR has a 7.62mm variant – the SCAR-H – that is known publicly. This means the Bundeswehrwill likely not be going back to .30 caliber infantry rifles any time soon.
The testing and evaluation segment of the program was begun in July of this year, and is expected to be completed by November 2018. Between December of 2018 and April of 2019, the Bundeswehr will deliberate on the winner of the contract, which is expected to be awarded the following month in May. Final testing and troop trials will be conducted over the course of the next year, and fielding is expected to occur starting in September of 2020. Notably, it seems the new weapon is certainly not considered an “interim” item, as it is expected to serve through 2046.
It’s not really surprising. For better or worse, 5.56 is the NATO standard, so while some thinkers believe the military should beef up to a 7.62 round, there’s not really a reason to do it just yet.
Not officially, anyway.
Yes, there was mention of a weapon capable of defeating an armored enemy troop in the U.S. Army’s short-lived proposal for a potential new weapon recently, but we’re not actually fighting armored opposition at this point and, from a diplomatic standpoint, no one is going to say that we have to get ready to shoot armored Russian infantry in Syria.
Especially since there’s been little saber-rattling going on in that direction.
Germany, a NATO ally, appears to be making no moves toward a beefier caliber either, which indicates that at least the NATO countries feel that either 5.56 is sufficient should we find ourselves fighting an armored enemy, or they don’t see us fighting one. Either way, it’s interesting to see the candidates.
Heckler & Koch, in particular, may feel a certain necessity in winning the bid. After all, the G36 is going away one way or another, and with their decision to refuse to sell weapons to Israel angering many in the American civilian gun market, it’s possible they feel a powerful need to keep the contract to minimize their losses.
I’m not sure many American gun owners will feel much pity over their troubles, considering.
As for the Bundeswehr’s new rifle, many of us eagerly await a determination on who is the winner. It’s like football for gun nerds like me.