The Lithuanian Land Forces have reached a decision: They will be keeping the Heckler & Koch G36, and will continue to buy the controversial rifles. In July of last year, the Lithuanian government halted procurement of the polymer-receivered German assault rifle amid controversy about the rifle’s stability in different temperatures and humidity levels. Despite strong rhetoric from the German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, and a scathing report from the Ernst Mach Institute, the Lithuanian government’s research effort regarding the rifle concluded that the G36 is a very suitable infantry rifle, and that the rifles “diverge from their technical characteristics only in case they are used for fire support, i.e. as light machine guns,” according to the press release.
The Ernst Mach Institute report on the G36, released in April of last year, was a harsh blow to the rifle’s reputation. It claimed that the rifle experienced major point of impact shifts in varying ambient temperature, humidity, and sunlight, as well as during heating from firing. Heckler & Koch and the rifle’s proponents, however, claimed the report was politically motivated, and that the G36 does not experience significantly more problems than competing rifles in these respects. The final word on the G36 controversy has yet to be written, but for Lithuania, it seems the rifles are there to stay.