BREAKING: Bundeswehr Launches New Program, Rifle Tender to Replace H&K G36

The German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) has announced the long-awaited program to replace the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle in German Army service, reports the Polish gun magazine MilMag. According to the source, the BAAINBw released the tender for the new System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr on April 19, with all submissions due by May 22, 2017. Selection is expected to occur sometime in 2018, and production of whichever rifle is selected is slated for April 1, 2019, to continue through 31 March 2026. The 7-year contract is expected to have a total value of 245 million Euros, (~ USD 260 million).

MilMag reports that the contract seeks a new standard infantry rifle available in two barrel lengths, Kurzrohr (short) and Langrohr (long), with ambidextrous controls and standard NATO mounting rails. Oddly, according to MilMag, the Bundeswehr did not specify caliber, allowing entrants to submit rifles in either 5.56x45mm NATO or 7.62x51mm NATO. The tender also specified rifle weight to not exceed 3.6 kilograms (even in 7.62mm), and a 30,000 round receiver/structure life plus 15,000 round barrel life with ball ammunition.

Entrants for the competition are reported to be, already, the Heckler & Koch HK433, Steyr-Rheinmetall RS556, and SIG Sauer MCX. MilMag also suggested the Beretta ARX-100/200 might also be submitted, although that is probably speculative.

As of yet, the tender does not appear to be available online.



Nathaniel F

Nathaniel is a history enthusiast and firearms hobbyist whose primary interest lies in military small arms technological developments beginning with the smokeless powder era. In addition to contributing to The Firearm Blog, he runs 196,800 Revolutions Per Minute, a blog devoted to modern small arms design and theory. He is also the author of the original web serial Heartblood, which is being updated and edited regularly. He can be reached via email at nathaniel.f@staff.thefirearmblog.com.


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  • Kalash

    Huh, looks like there is indeed something that stinks about the G36 after all.

    • VanDiemensLand

      Jah! Nein shiezen!

    • Marlon

      They could just be coming to the end of their service life. Sometimes it’s cheaper to replace an entire platform than refurb existing stocks.

      The world has also moved on in terms of optics and material construction.

      • Major Tom

        “Sometimes it’s cheaper to replace an entire platform than refurb existing stocks.”

        And yet we foolishly stick to a nearly 70 year old design that is the AR.

        • GD Ajax

          PEO soldier sabotages any effort to do so. I.e. the procurement guys are idiots.
          Kinda moot now that the LSAT program has picked up steam. Unless the morons running our government decide that Colt needs another bailout.

          • Joshua

            No they really don’t.

            I’ve seen the testing documents on dozens of tests between the M4A1 vs X,Y,Z and they all say the same thing.

            The M4A1 will have slightly lower time between Stoppages, but will have significantly higher time between failures.

            Testing not done by PEO, but SF.

            Those results have played out across the board numerous times.

          • GD Ajax

            Wrong the always move the goal posts.

            SOCOM has their own PEO branch. So that’s also wrong.

            You stolen valor types need to give up on trying to save an outdated platform.

          • Joshua

            Double

          • Joshua

            I don’t guess my reply to you posted.

            I never said anything about SOCOM as a whole, your implying things not there.

            I said certain SF groups did their own unbiased testing. 10th did a really good, detailed test between the 416 and the Block II MK18.

            You should be able to look it up, since clearly you have the authority to say who is “stealing valor”.

            The documents are there if you know where to go.

          • roguetechie

            No, he’s just a moron and a piece of S*** to boot!

          • Joshua

            I think a lot would be shocked to learn the price of a CQB-R upper from CRANE.

            Despite what people say, they are not free.

            They are rather expensive, certainly expensive enough that if…Say USASOC wanted to, they could divert those funds to a different weapon.

            CRANE does a lot of custom work turning a basic M4A1 upper into a CQB-R upper and that work doesn’t come cheap or free.

            But they don’t, they continue to spend funds on a upper that some here say “sucks”, that should hold water.

            But haters gonna hate and all that, despite the facts…

          • roguetechie

            Yeah, people are insane though…

            Look at how many of those same people look at the 7.62×39 m43 round as some sort of combat benchmark round that 5.56 fails to live up to.

        • Marlon

          That AR is what many countries are selecting now in their trials, and what remains the choice of special forces around the world.

        • The fundamentals of the HK433 are just as old, if not older. 🙂

          • Major Tom

            True in many ways.

          • chris

            It’s not just about the fundamentals.
            It took me 3 years in service to finde aout that Bundeswehr G36 are supposed to have the nice deep black blueing one them because on most rifles the blueing on the barrel and botlcarrier is long gone. The only glimpse of the finish you can see is one replacemnt muzzle devices. Then you got a deep black flash hider on a metalic gray barrel.

            You have to replace the 30.000 times dropped, kicked and naged rifles so you can use that to get an rifle that is builed to modern standarts and wihle the AR of the seventees is not realy the AR of today the nintys G36 is what the bulk of G36 is toaday with the straw style scope, exzessiv receiver length and most with non NVG compatible reddot (except a few IDZ ES G36).

        • LGonDISQUS

          Tooling has been paid for hundreds of times over. It is bordering on a (as close as you can get) perfected platform after all the updates. Bottom bin ARs are now being sold for $310 – 350 on civilian market.

          Just like the RGM-79, it is quick enough, good enough, strong enough for most needs, and it is cheaper to keep making variants (GM Aqua, GM EWAC, etc etc etc) for special purposes than to develop a whole new platform.

        • Joshua

          Because it works?

          The M4A1 has had improvements where it is needed and just plain works.

          The M4A1 is to the point where it is actually more reliable than the m16A4, which is why the Marines decided to begin issuing the M4 to everyone.

          • roguetechie

            Yep, though it is a shame for sure that the m4a1+ pip program was not actually followed through with… Nor was it taken far enough IMO.

          • Joshua

            Yeah I do agree on that.

            I was looking forward to it, though the M4A1 was a step in the right direction, and at least they put a ambi safety on it.

        • roguetechie

          Yeah stupid us!!!

          We foolishly stick to a design which is the gold standard of spec ops individual weapons!!

          • Kalash

            Don’t you mean the SCAR, y’know, the thing that was set to take over until the Army glared daggers at SOCOM over it…

    • Aéth

      Its old… its not bad as some uninformed media says to make money with headlines, its just at the end of service life and better Rifles are available.

      • Major Tom

        Not as old as any AR platform.

      • ARCNA442

        The G36 is 20 years old.

        The M16 is 53.
        The AK-74 is 43.
        The M4 is 33.
        The L-85 is 32.
        The Type 89 is 28.

        Just yesterday TFB publish an article claiming G36 egonomics are superior to the AR-15.

        The German military can barely afford to keep their aircraft in the air. Replacing a 20 year old rifle should be far down their list.

        Given all of the above, I think we can assume they are having problems with the G36.

        • Aono

          You’re conflating the age of the design with the service life of the actual rifles. How old is the M16A4? What about the M4A1?

          • ARCNA442

            I’m not conflating anything. I’m pointing out that they’re replacing a 20 year old design when designs twice that age continue to serve in better funded militaries.

            Unless a new design is cheaper to manufacture (the G36 uses the same production methods as any possible replacement) or the old assembly line has closed (we know the G36 is still in production), it will always be cheaper and simpler to just buy more of the same rather than reequip and retrain for new equipment.

            So the only reason why a military on a limited budget would choose to replace a rifle that is newer and cheaper than most of its competition is if something is wrong with it.

          • Chris

            A standard G36 dosen’t even have Picatinny rails.
            The newer ones that do are still unnecessarily long witch a length of 39.3in with a barrel length of 18.9in and close to a 10lbs rifle that is extremly front heavy. And the offset of the sights is higher then it needs to be because the rifle is a pre Picatinny rail design that is not well suited for the addition of atop rails.

          • Juggernaut

            Can’t they just fashion a new rail wrapped around the G36’s guts?

          • chris

            They can and it works more or less ok for guys that love to carry 10lbs front heavy 1m long rifles.

          • int19h

            Remember, it has the charging handle on top. So the rail has to go over that. So it’s still higher than it needs to be.

          • Aono

            You replied to Aeth’s “end of service life” comment specifically with ages of respective designs. The service life is a government procurement issue, the design bid is the manufacturer’s issue. The manufacturer may have made a very reasonable market decision that the G36 is uncompetitive in the market in a post Battle of Wanat world of M1913, optics, etc. You have no idea whether the German government is going to end up paying more for a 433 than they did for a G36. You assume that the 433 will cost HK more to produce than the G36, but you leave out that HK needs a design that is actually attractive to buyers. None of this is evidence that there are “problems” with the G36, which are probably all going to end up in Kurdish etc hands as soon as the 433s roll off the line. If anything the German government has problems with its procurement process, as you pointed out, and it’s prioritizing a new rifle buy to save von der Leyen’s face.

        • Guest

          Replacing the G36 cost as much as 1 or 2 aicrafts

  • Blake

    “the Bundeswehr did not specify caliber”

    time to sneak 6.5mm CT into the bidding & beat the pants off the competition 🙂

    • Aéth

      Eighter 5.56×45 OR 7.62×51

      The CT Rifle is technically unperfected, and the round configuration extremly bad, expecally its unaerodynamic projectile shape, that for its verry high recoil and high weight, substantially downgrades performance.

      • Joshua

        The CT rifle isn’t even a thing. Or wasn’t 5 months ago outside of a weighted mock-up.

      • roguetechie

        WHAT???

        So in other words, you know nothing about CT itself, what the actual program is doing, and are just wanking to your own fantasy about what CT is and is not in a disqus comment?

        Yeah, thought so!

  • Joe

    Interesting, especially the HK and Steyr rifles.

  • VanDiemensLand

    “BAAINBw”, wow, just wow!

    • It is still shorter than Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr.

      • Lederhosen-Man

        Fensterscheibenputzmittelherstellungsverfahrenerstellerin.

        • todesschnitzel

          Haifischflossensuppendosenfabrikfachvorarbeiterlehrgang.

          • Lederhosen-Man

            Haha nich schlecht, aus welchem Bundesland biste?

  • GD Ajax

    Why bother when it’s most likely the HK 433 will win. Only HK and Rheinmetall already have production inside Germany. The odds of the

    Bundeswehr choosing a foreign supplier is very low.

    • Marlon

      I’d say it’s as close to zero as possible. But if a foreign design is picked I’m sure there would be the option of domestic German production.

    • snmp

      sig sauer Is German compagny

      • No one

        Might want to check what “SIG” in SIG Sauer actually stands for.

    • John

      Because France adopted the –416– en masse, and if Germany fails to do so, their newly armed, newly emboldened and newly poorer neighbors will be very, very annoyed.

      • Joshua

        Germany won’t be adopting the 416.

        HK made the 433 specifically for the German army. They are not submitting the 416.

  • Bob

    Would be nice if the German Government allows HK to set up civilian production in the US for a civilian market HK433.

    • NordMetal

      Why do the guys from the US think that the German government is restricting civilian gun or factory exports to the US?
      There are Zero export restrictions towards the US for HK.
      HK must only guarantee that HK USA is not reselling guns outside the US without permission.
      Change your US import laws!

      • Qoquaq En Transic

        I wish we’d open the gates!

        Change our import laws indeed!!!

      • Elvis

        There are zero export restrictions. We suck, and they hate us.

      • Joshua

        Germany has a ton of restrictions on “weapons of war” that HK sells.

        • NordMetal

          True, but not enforced restrictions in case of NATO allies (or trusted states).
          An arms manufacturer request an export permission,
          if it is a NATO ally and if the requested items are Ok to export then the manufacturer receives an “don’t ask again unless revoked” export permission to the US for example, this practice in question for Turkey now.

          You can read about this when you go through the interesting case that happened to SIG Sauer (Germany). SIG Sauer (USA) supposedly sold German made SIG Sauer guns to for example Columbia. The state attorney started investigating. The export permission to the USA, active for decades was revoked. SIG Sauer (Germany) couldn’t sell anymore the US. This wasn’t that tragic because SIG Sauer (USA) had already build up the their own new factory.
          But the owner of SIG Sauer (Germany) lost interest (also probably because of declining sales in generell) in a German factory and laid of some hundred SIG Sauer (Germany) employees.
          I think the last info was that no evidence were found.

          A year or two ago he reinvested in the German factory again because their are some new opportunities to get some contracts from EU countries.
          You (European Mil/LE) can order now German made MCX.

    • Ray

      HK is expanding their US manufacturing.

  • Joshua

    I want the MCX to win just to watch heads explode.

    • FOC Ewe

      Or we dump the M4A1 and go with the SCAR-H in 6.5CM just to piss everyone off 😂

      • Joshua

        I just like watching the world burn.

      • CommonSense23

        Please god no.

        • Joshua

          Some people just want the world to burn.

        • Joshua

          Just a fyi. The SCAR is done….Well not yet, but the funding has been shut off for the SCAR.

          What is left will be run until they reach end of life, and then put out the door.

          There will be no more orders for any SCAR product, not to maintain, and not to repair.

          The system is officially done, even if it will take a few years to kill off what’s left in system.

          • Sal F

            Maybe FN will stop tendering new large SCAR orders (though I doubt that they would turn one down at this point), but there is NO way that they are stopping all maintenance.

            A number of users have large numbers of rifles in service, including the German Federal Police and USSCOM – which is still converting MK16s to 17s. They will need spare parts and depot service for years to come. FN is not going to shut off that money tap.

          • NordMetal

            German Federal Police? No evidence for that. You may confuse them with one of the “small” 16 state police SEK units you saw recently in the news that used the SCAR.

          • Joshua

            It’s done in USSOCOM.

            SOCOM are the ones who decided it was time to shut off money being spent to maintain the SCAR and focus it on a new battle rifle.

            When a Mk17/20 breaks from now on, if the pare parts are on hand it will be repair and re issued. If the spare parts are not on hand, the rifle will be demilled.

            Sure the SCAR will go one in other agencies and other militaries, but in the US military…..the fat lady has sung.

          • Wow!

            I never understood the deal with the SCAR in the first place. It seemed that the LR308 pattern rifles we are using in the military and police are already just as good and much cheaper to stock and maintain.

          • LilWolfy

            Big Army wouldn’t let SOCOM make modifications to the critical parts of the M4 to meet their requirements, so they launched a program to have their own carbine made for them.

            It would have been solved with the LMT enhanced BCG, but big Army didn’t want any of those BCGs ending up in M16A2s or A4s, as it would under-gas them and cause malfs.

            SOCOM said screw it, we’re going our own way with this. The SCAR-L proved to be a disappointment, while the SCAR-H was valued as a great lightweight DM system for select shooters.

      • mechamaster

        That would be intersting actually. Or in 6,5x47mm Lapua.

    • lynyrd65

      That would make for some great purchase validation. Let’s go Sig!

      Maybe they can price it so low the Germans can’t refuse like the P320 in the US MHS comepetition.

  • I would assume that Germany is not going to let their industry die as France, UK and Spain did. Indeed, if the ROP it’s going to be published all these months after G36 scandal, it’s a clear sign that they offered HK plenty of time for polishing their 433 model

  • Aono

    The 900mm Kurz and 1000mm Lang versions from the article specify only the overall length of the rifle, but that can be assumed to equate to 16 and 20 inch versions. They will probably stick with the 416 for anything shorter. 3.6kg sounds pretty chunky (nearly 8 lb), but wiki says a 14.5″ M4A1 is “7.74 lb (3.51 kg), counting a back-up iron sight, forward pistol grip, empty magazine, and sling.”

    I think it’s pretty safe to assume that the HK433 (18.9″ and 14.5″ versions) and these requirements were developed in tandem. Once the design is proven I would also assume that they would replace worn out 416s with them as well.

    • Joshua

      The M4A1 is right around 7.27lbs if you take off the sling and empty magazine, and grip.

      Usually those things aren’t added into a rifles weight.

      Idk why PEO weighs the M4A1 with them.

  • NordMetal

    By the way Nathaniel, nice picture you’ve made!
    Austrian and German brothers in arms unite under the German flag!

    Oh no, wait a minute…

    • The secret message is that Führer Merkel seeks more lebensraum. 😉

      • Aono

        Too soon.

      • Juggernaut

        The real Führer would never allow what Merkel the Marxist has allowed to happen to Germany

        • Aono

          As an actual real life Preusse who doesn’t feel the need to wrap himself in (((symbology))), I would invite you to educate yourself about what the CDU is, what Marxism is, and what Germany is.

          (see what you did Nate? this is why you can’t have nice things)

          • k j

            Yup, Merkel and the CDU are such marxists. You know, the predominant centre-right party of Germany. What a bunch of commies.

            As a left-wing libertarian, the political ignorance in the gun community can be astounding sometimes.

          • JS

            Merkel is a Stasi sleeper agent that is a few decades late…
            LOL or am I? 🙁

    • Stephen Paraski

      Bring back German Royalty and borders of 1913.

  • Audie Bakerson

    Germany: We’ll adopt your AR-15 variant, your AR-15 variant, your AR-15 variant or your AR-18 variant! Submit designs now!

    With the British, French, and Germany all regretting their choice of rifle, I wonder if the Japanese government realizes just how fortunate they were that one of their companies had the full technical package for a Stoner designed rifle last time they were looking for a new gun.

    • John

      That might be one reason why Japan has been sticking with the same rifle for, what, 40 years now? Longer?

      • Audie Bakerson

        ~28. Hence the name Type 89.

        All the improvements that have been floated around for a “replacement” were just an AR18 with more rails, new furniture and a 7.62×51 version available.

  • Elvis

    Who wants to bet the contract specifies accuracy after extended periods of firing in hot environments this time?

  • Patriot Gunner

    This is all just kabuki theater, the HK 433 is going to be the winner. Sig MCX? LOL HAAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHA! Not a snowballs chance in hell. As more countries adopt new rifles, the less likely they will be to adopt a new cased telescoped (CT) platform given that the life cycles of the stuff they are acquiring is decades. On top of that you have a lot of strained gov budgets so there is less appetite for the latest and greatest whiz bang stuff. And the final nail in the CT coffin will be NATO, it will be an enormously difficult Mount Everest of a climb to get one country to adopt a CT platform, and people think 27 other NATO members are going to follow? Don’t hold your breath. “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”

    • ARCNA442

      If the US adopts it every else has to follow suit if they want to be able to benefit from out far larger ammunition stocks. Will they adopt it immediately? Probably not – it took them decades to switch over from 7.62 to 5.56.

      • Joshua

        With most countries adopting new rifles?

        Won’t happen. If we adopted it tomorrow(we won’t) it would be 20+ years before any other NATO country adopted it.

        He makes a good point, these recent worldwide procurements may be what kills LSAT…..If they ever get an actual working version to see field trials, because my god they’re taking their time.

        • ARCNA442

          This exact situation already occurred – most of NATO was just getting new riles in 7.62 when the US converted to 5.56. Some of them didn’t change until after the Cold War ended, but they did change.

          • Joshua

            Well have to see.

            LSAT still isn’t a guarantee in the US. It’s a promising concept, but not guaranteed yet.

            There’s a lot LSAT has to prove first that it hasn’t yet.

          • Patriot Gunner

            Your right, but that’s not an apples to apples comparison, and you just helped prove my point exactly. It took NATO decades to go from one metallic cartridge to another which required very little change (basically just the rifles and rifle accessories). They had all the machines to produce the ammunition paid for and all they had to do was update the tooling and it STILL took them DECADES to follow. Now going from a metallic cartridge case to CT(?)…Well that’s going to require a hell of a lot more than new tooling for a stamping press.

          • Patriot Gunner

            Weird, my reply to you didn’t post, so I’ll post it again. Your correct about what happened, but your not comparing apples to apples, and in doing so just prove my point further. It took NATO DECADES to move away from 7.62 and this change was MINIMALLY disruptive. They went from a metallic cased cartridge, to a smaller metallic cased cartridge. The only thing they had to do was procure new rifles and accessory for said new rifle. They already had all the machinery to manufacture the ammunition so all they had to do was update the tooling for the stamping presses etc. AND IT STILL TOOK THEM DECADES TO MOVE TO 5.56. Since CT is an all new platform with a completely different tooling infrastructure required, NATO is going to fight tooth and nail before adopting it. I just don’t see it happening.

        • Patriot Gunner

          Exactly. With the way procurement is done in the US, it’ll probably take us 20 years to adopt CT, then add another 30 years for NATO to follow…if ever.

      • Patriot Gunner

        Just because the USA adopts it doesn’t mean NATO has to. They all have to vote unanimously or else it is not standardized. Remember what happened to the P90 vs MP7? Europe (sans the UK) actually has less of an incentive to adopt CT than America. 90% of all ammunition manufacturing machinery is made in Europe (concentrated in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Belgium and France [yes France]). So the capex for an all new platform with all new ammunition just doesn’t make sense. All the intellectual property and most of the machines have been amortized 10+ times over since post WW2.

    • Uniform223

      I completely agree with the first part.

  • Seth Hill

    Regardless of which one wins, I am willing to take on the responsibility of adopting each and every one of the G36s that will be orphaned.

  • Bal256

    I just like the design of the HK433. It just looks like a streamlined SCAR because it doesn’t have the ugg boot stock.

    • roguetechie

      Amen to the ugg boot!

  • RealitiCzech

    A 15k barrel life? Isn’t that exactly the spec of the HK416?

    • Joshua

      416 isn’t being submitted.

  • LazyReader

    Let’s see……..
    Europe has tossed around rifle ideas for 40 years
    The US still sticks with one of the most controversial weapons in military history
    Meanwhile Russia still uses one of the most reliable and trustworthy weapons ever made designed by an injured soldier in his spare time.
    I wanna use a deities name in vain, but I don’t think one is enough

  • Aaron Hsu

    So I’ll be the odd ball here and say I’d like to see the Beretta ARX put a good showing in on this competition, but it sure seems like everyone wants an AR-15 these days. I’d also be surprised if it wasn’t HK that took this contract.