The timeline for the replacement of the troubled G36 rifle with a new yet-to-be-selected weapon has been announced by the Bundeswehr. The German System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr (SSB)program was announced on February 3rd, 2016, with the solicitation itself being released on April 19th, 2017. According to Polish gun magazine MilMag, 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.
The SSB program, interestingly, does not specify whether the new rifle should be in caliber 5.56mm or 7.62mm, instead leaving it to the decision of the manufacturers. Reportedly, entrants to the program include the H&K HK433, Steyr-Rheinmetall RS-556, and SIG Sauer MCX. None of these weapons are chambered for 7.62mm (although the HK433’s design suggests a 7.62mm variant may be in the works), and it’s yet unknown if any manufacturers will submit weapons in the larger caliber.