H&K dominance is over. MK 556 Gen2 is the new German army assault rifle

BERLIN, (BM) – The Haenel Defense MK 556 Gen2 rifle won the prestigious procedure for the basic armament of German infantry soldiers – at least this is what the preliminary reports of the German press agency DPA show, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defence24.

Read more: German Heckler & Koch assault rifle – HK416 [review]

If the contract is successful, it will mean the end of dominance in this market by the well-known company Heckler & Koch [HK or H&K -ed.].

Selection of C.G. Haenel GmbH, as the contractor for the future rifle, has been confirmed by the German Ministry of Defense. The relevant agreement is to be submitted to the Bundestag for approval later this year.

The new weapon is to replace the futuristic-looking HK G36 assault rifles introduced in the 1990s. The process of searching for their successor was initiated in 2017 after the information appeared according to which the G36 was supposed to lose its accuracy when overheating while firing. This information, disseminated by the media, quickly became a media fact, and even before the trials were carried out, the then Minister of Defense of the Federal Republic of Germany, Ursula von der Leyen, announced the need to withdraw this weapon and the search for a replacement began.

Four entities take part in the new procedure, full of dramatic twists and turns. These include Heckler & Koch, which offers the HK433 assault rifle, Rheinmetall and Steyer Mannlicher from the RS556, and one of its competitors – Sig Sauer – withdrew from the procedure at an early stage. As it turns out, the winner was most likely the Haenel Defense company with the MK 556 Gen2 rifle. According to reports, the purchase may even be over 120,000. weapons and have a value of a quarter of a billion euros.

Until now, this manufacturer has supplied the Bundeswehr only with RS9 sniper rifles (marked as G29 in the German armed forces) and few people know that Haenel Defense has one of the longest traditions when it comes to creating firearms in the world. In recent years, however, the company has specialized mainly in cooperation with the creators of final products as a subcontractor and supplier of components.

H&K collaborated particularly intensively with Heckler & Koch and met the requirements of this client, focusing primarily on the high quality of products, their ergonomics, modularity, related services and logistics issues, as well as the creation of various types of external accessories.

All this, however, went hand in hand with the development of our own design and production potential. And finally, a few years ago, Haenel Defense started to offer its own modern 5.56 mm MK556 carbine. The carbine is a weapon derived from the AR-15 family, and thus, externally very similar to the defeated HK416, for which Haenel Defense was a parts supplier for years.

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The Haenel carabiner retained the general AR design, but it was equipped with a gas mechanism with a short movement of a gas piston, which acts on the upper lip of the bolt with a pusher.

Its design also places great emphasis on improving ergonomics and functionality, as well as the use of high-quality materials. The weapon has duplicate manipulators: a fuse, a magazine release button and a movement unit latch. One of the advantages over the original is that it is a bit easier to disassemble the weapon.


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