Heckler & Koch HK416 A8 confirmed as new assault rifle for German army to replace G36

As reported by Waldemar Geiger in Soldat & Technik, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court dismissed the lawsuit brought by C.G. Haenel, confirming that the Bundeswehr's final selection decision in favor of Heckler & Koch's HK416 A8 was legitimate. This emerges from the verdict of the court.
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Heckler & Koch's HK416 A8 will definitely become the German army's new assault rifle to replace the aging G36 (Picture source: HK Forum)

The reason for the decision was probably the court's view that the exclusion of C.G. Haenel was lawful due to patent infringement by Heckler & Koch, Waldemar Geiger reports. "The respondent [Federal Ministry of Defence] has the applicant [C.G. Haenel] rightly excluded due to serious professional misconduct in the form of an alleged patent infringement. Through the expert opinions it obtained, the respondent has proven an infringement of European patent EP 2 018 508 B 1, the owner of which is the summoned party [Heckler & Koch], by the MK 556 assault rifle offered by the applicant,” says a press release of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court.

The Bundeswehr intends to replace its current G36 assault rifle and launched a competition for around 120,000 new assault rifles in 2017. Ultimately, the HK416 A8 from Heckler & Koch emerged as the winner of the comparison competition. Since the supplier C.G. Haenel has taken legal action, the current award process was suspended.

With today's announcement of the decision by the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, the procurement project can now be continued. If the Bundeswehr continues to strive for the procurement of the Bundeswehr assault rifle system, the Bundeswehr procurement office BAAINBw will enter into corresponding negotiations with Heckler & Koch and negotiate the final delivery conditions, Waldemar Geiger writes. The negotiated conditions are submitted to the relevant committees of the Bundestag for approval in the form of a so-called 25 million bill. Due to the parliamentary break in the summer, this can only happen in September at the earliest. A supply contract with Heckler & Koch can only be concluded after parliamentary consultation has taken place.

Subsequently, Heckler & Koch would have to deliver a corresponding number of test samples of the HK416 A8 for use in the Bundeswehr. Originally, 390 assault rifles were estimated for this, S&T reported. It was planned to start with the operational testing of the individual variants (short and long barrels) of the new assault rifle around six months after the contract was signed. The tests should then be completed after about a year.

During testing, the functional requirements against the existing weapons and the logistical aspects of the system are checked. In the course of the process, it can also happen that slight changes have to be made to the system, so that the final design status of the final series weapon is only visible after the end of the field test. The operational testing ends with a declaration of acceptance by the armed forces.

The first of the 118,718 assault rifles that had been ordered were supposed to be delivered to the troops just under one and a half to two years after the contract was signed. The total duration for the changeover of the weapons should take more than half a decade, as the tender foresaw an annual delivery volume of up to 20,000 rifles. It is currently not known whether and to what extent the Bundeswehr will adjust the schedules.

The Heckler & Koch HK416 is a gas-operated assault rifle chambered for the 5.56×45mm NATO cartridge. Although the design is based on the AR-15 class of firearm (specifically the Colt M4 carbine family issued to the U.S. military), it uses a proprietary short-stroke, gas piston system from Heckler & Koch's earlier G36 family of rifles.