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Germany proceeding with HK416A8 as its new assault rifle

German Army new rifle Heckler and Koch
Photo: Heckler and Koch

Germany will be buying Heckler and Koch’s HK416A8 as its new assault rifle and G36 successor, the government’s Budget and Defense Committee has confirmed.

According to a statement from December 14, the HK416 will be bought and will serve as basis for a regular 16.5 inch barrel variant, and a 14 inch barrel carbine variant.

The decision puts an end to a long-running saga that included legal disputes from both Heckler and Koch and its competitor in the program, C.G. Haenel, which belongs to United Arab Emirates state conglomerate EDGE Group.

The German defense ministry initially selected C.G. Haenel to deliver over 120,000 of its MK556 rifles under an estimated 250 million euro contract in September 2020.

Immediately after the decision was announced Heckler & Koch protested the decision claiming patent infringements. Based on a review of its decision, Germany decided to exclude C.G. Haenel GmbH from the program over two separate patent infringement claims.

C.G. Haenel then disputed this decision in court, but the announcement from December 14 indicates the cases haven settled, allowing the program to proceed with the HK416 as the G36 successor.

The defense ministry said it was now cleared to procure 118,718 new assault rifles for around 209 million euros. The troops are expected to receive their first weapons in 2024.

More high-profile defense equipment investments cleared by Bundestag

In addition to the rifle procurement, the same session gave its green light for the procurement on new Cold Weather All-Terrain Vehicles (CATV) for German troops.

According to the defense ministry, a total of 140 CATV vehicles will be bought from BAE Systems Hägglunds. The 405-million euro procurement will be a joint undertaking with Great Britain and Sweden, with the Scandinavian country taking the lead in the process.

In German service, the CATV will be replacing the outdated and no longer economically viable predecessor Bv206D.

The three countries are joining the US Army in buying the vehicle. In August this year, the US Army selected the CATV to replace the small unit support vehicles (SUSVs) that have been in service since the early 1980s.

Beowulf tracked vehicle
Photo: BAE Systems

Another big-ticket item will be the 850 million euro retrofit of the first lot of Puma infantry fighting vehicles, bringing them up to a uniform enhanced design status.

Despite previously announcing a contract for the upgrade of a total of 154 vehicles, 143 IFV Puma will be retrofitted in this phase for around 850 million euros.

New command and control equipment worth around 51 million euros and modern radios are also part of the purchases cleared by the Bundestag.