Could Spain's G36s Be Upgraded by Steyr Arms?

Matthew Moss
by Matthew Moss
A render of Steyr-Wilcox’s upgraded G36 (Wilcox/Steyr Arms)

In the late 1990s, the Spanish Army followed the Bundeswehr’s lead and adopted the Heckler & Koch G36 to replace their 5.56x45mm CETME Model LC. The G36E has been in service ever since with over 70,000 used by the Spanish military and police.

In recent years some concerns have arisen about the G36’s combat performance, something we have covered extensively here at TFB. While Spain has never encountered any issues similar to those experienced by German troops in Afghanistan, they did investigate the potential problems officially. The G36E, however, is approaching 20 years in service and may soon be in need of a mid-life refit.

A render of Steyr-Wilcox's upgraded G36 (Wilcox/Steyr Arms)

At the recent FEINDEF convention in Madrid, an unexpected pairing made the first bid for the potential future upgrade programme. US-based Wilcox and Austria’s Steyr Arms showed off an upgraded G36 with a new aluminium alloy receiver replacing the original polymer and a host of other upgrades. No details on weight and cost are available at this time.

The upgraded rifle on show featured a number of upgrades, Wilcox brought their FUSION powered rail system which incorporates a number of accessories including a light, laser, and IR illuminator – all powered by a single CR123 battery, with a secondary back up. While Steyr Arms have developed new major components including a new cold hammer forged steel barrel, receiver (with ambidextrous controls), stock and a new STANAG magazine well. The upgrades aim to reduce issues with thermal stability and improving accuracy with the new alloy receiver providing more rigidity than the original polymer Heckler & Koch receivers. The display rifle featured a red dot optic with a magnifier.

Wilcox and Steyr Arms will no doubt also be looking to other countries as well as other G36 users look to upgrade their rifles.

Sources: 1 2 3

Matthew Moss
Matthew Moss

Managing Editor: & Overt Matt is a British historian specialising in small arms development and military history. He has written several books and for a variety of publications in both the US and UK. Matt is also runs The Armourer's Bench, a video series on historically significant small arms. Here on TFB he covers product and current military small arms news. Reach Matt at:

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6 of 108 comments
  • 00000 00000 on Jun 11, 2019

    honestly I just wish the countries would develop their own guns again instead of everyone adopting M4 clones or buying M416s because they literally gave up on developing their own designs.
    as an american I was sad to hear that the french decided to buy 416s instead of developing a french design to replace the FAMAS.
    the FAMAS had it's issues but I feel like the french should have opened up the opportunity for native brands to compete with and against the other offerings from FN and HK.
    by adopting the same basic gun, this opens up the problem of "this rifle is the best rifle because there are no competitors" and means that potentially comparable or better designs are passed over in the name of bandwagoning.

    • See 3 previous
    • Lying Bastard Lying Bastard on Jun 15, 2019

      @Hrajnoga Be careful of what you what you say; you might upset the 1911 crowd upset. That usually ends up with stakes and fires.

  • Rnasser Rnasser Rnasser Rnasser on Jun 12, 2019

    Better change for something different instead of playing the supermodification game.