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 Bundeswehr will 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.
The SSB program requires that the winning weapon have both a long and short barrel, which must be interchangeable, as well as ambidextrous controls, and 1913 rails on the top, and on the sides and bottom of the handguard. It also specifies a receiver life of 30,000 rounds, and a barrel life of 15,000 rounds (with lead cored or SS109 ammunition), barrel life of 7,500 rounds (with hard core ammunition). Interestingly, it is not specified whether the new rifle should be in caliber 5.56mm or 7.62mm, instead leaving the decision tothe manufacturers. However, the requirement does include a 3.6 kilogram weight limit, making it very unlikely that the winner will be a 7.62mm platform. The solicitation references, but does not require, suppressors, additional magazine stowage, and a maintenance shot counter.
Thanks to W for the tip!