In a surprising move, the German Defense Ministry has accepted an order of 600 new rifles and 600 machine guns to replace the troubled HK G36 that was savaged by scandal earlier this year. Their choice? The 7.62x51mm HK 417 rifle. The Local reports:
Junior Defence Minister Katrin Suder decided to spend €18 million on 600 new rifles and 600 new machine guns for frontline soldiers to replace some of the defective weapons, the Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported on Friday.
The army will take delivery of the full number of HK417 rifles, a type already in use with some special forces units, by mid-2016.
Recent tests on the new rifle have shown that it suffers none of the accuracy problems seen in the G36 under extreme conditions.
Swapping out just 1,200 of the more than 100,000 rifles used by the army will only be an interim solution for soldiers on deployment in combat zones.
But both replacements will come from the same manufacturer behind the problematic G36 rifle, world-renowned gun maker Heckler and Koch (HK).
Rifle could be changed this year
A more permanent decision about whether to replace the army’s entire stock of G36 rifles will come later this year.
We covered the G36 controversy extensively earlier this year, beginning as things began to heat up, the release of a damning report by the Ernst Mach Institute, H&K’s defense, the German Defense Minister’s condemnation of the rifle, the cover-up scandal, to Lithuania’s withdrawal from G36 procurement. We even tested a G36 for ourselves, to see if we could replicate the accuracy issues.
Thanks to Daniel for the tip.