On 14th September it emerged that C.G. Haenel’s MK556 had been selected by the German Bundeswehr, beating the entries from Heckler & Koch to replace the G36 as the Bundeswehr’s service rifle. A day later the German Ministry of Defence confirmed that Haenel were indeed the winner of the Bundeswehr’s choice. Now a leaked Bundeswehr document sheds a little more light on the trials and the German Ministry of Defence’s choice of rifle.
The total deal is probably worth in the region of 245 million euros (over $290 million) and will see the procurement of some 120,000 new firearms. It was later reported in numerous European news outlets that Haenel had successfully undercut Heckler & Koch on price. Their submitted bid was reported to have been 50 million Euros cheaper than Heckler & Koch’s bid, which was reported to have been approximately 179 million Euros.
A new report from Businessinsider.de offers fresh detail from a classified procurement report on the trials. The report suggests that Haenel bid around 152 million Euros (including 19% VAT) for the initial delivery of 18,700 rifles. While Heckler & Koch offered their rifle for 179 million Euros – this gives a difference between the two bids of just 27 million Euros.
Businessinsider.de also noted that the contract period will cover 9 years with 20,000 rifles to be delivered per year. Some other interesting details principally that the selection was decided on price with the report stating that “the main criterion is the lower price with a technically comparable performance”. This means that the rifles from both companies performed similarly well with the Haenel MK556 said to have only a 7% edge in terms of penetration. This in itself raises question of what was the reliability performance of the weapons like and way was penetration, when all of the rifles chamber 5.56x45mm, the only detail released by Businessinsider.de.
Businessinsider.de’s report goes on to suggest that Haenel may be guilty of ‘price dumping’ asking if the estimated per rifle cost of around 1,000 Euros will actually cover the costs of the MK556’s production. Haenel have stated that 90% of the rifle will be manufactured in Germany. Businessinsider.de also noted that Heckler & Koch are challenging the Bundeswehr’s decision and have submitted a 320-page document listing 60 reasons why they disagree with the German Army’s choice. Perhaps most interestingly they claim that the testing was flawed as the HK416 and HK433 produced ‘very different shooting results’ during the trials – something that Heckler & Koch dispute as unlikely as the rifles have similar operating systems and shooting characteristics. One this is for certain the story of the Bundeswehr’s next service rifle is far from over.