Response by Heckler & Koch to the Press Statement of the German Minister of Defence Regarding the Assault Rifle G 36 Dated March 30, 2015
Given the current situation of numerous undifferentiated negative reports regarding the G 36 assault rifle manufactured by Heckler & Koch, as the result of press statements by the Ministry of Defence and Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, we feel obliged to issue the following statement:
“Unfortunately, the current statements by the German Armed Forces about the G 36 rifle were first brought to the attention of Heckler & Koch through enquiries from the press. Despite several offers by Heckler & Koch to involve the extensive know-how of the company accumulated over many years, the German Armed Forces have not involved Heckler & Koch in the investigation.
“Quite to the contrary, the German Armed Forces have not communicated with Heckler & Koch for nearly six months regarding unsupported allegations regarding accuracy issues with the G 36 at high temperatures. The G 36, is acknowledged worldwide as a, technologically superior assault rifle. Unfortunately the German government did not afford an opportunity for Heckler & Koch to contribute correct information and facts that would have clarified and addressed any issues.
“The results being currently disseminated, diametrically contradict the extensive and elaborate testing conducted by Heckler & Koch, in view of emerging rumors regarding the accuracy of the weapon following prolonged firing or due to hot weather conditions, as well as those conducted by the Federal Office for Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB). These investigations have shown no relevant limitations in operational suitability if used correctly, nor are there any significant differences in these conditions in comparison with other assault rifles.
“No documents are available to Heckler & Koch regarding the current allegations, so it is not currently possible to provide an urgently required factual investigation into these reported results. Therefore, Heckler & Koch can only state that the G 36 has consistently met, or exceeded any and all testing requirements specified by the German government, which includes an accuracy test, for all G 36’s delivered over the last 15 years and we have no reason to believe that the G 36 rifle is in any way an unsuitable assault rifle.
Additional Response by Heckler & Koch to the Press Statement of the German Minister of Defence Regarding the Assault Rifle G 36
Further comments with regard to negative reports on the G 36 rifle and the press statement by the German Minister of Defence dated 30th March.
“We have been a reliable partner for the German Armed Forces for more than 50 years. The G 36 has been in use for nearly 20 years and has proven itself in more than 35 countries worldwide in numerous operations. We are dismayed by the statements issued by the Ministry of Defence with regard to the G 36 rifle. In particular, we sincerely regret that the ministry did not seek discussions with Heckler & Koch prior to the last public statement with farreaching consequences for our technical reputation.
“Heckler & Koch would like to clarify the following points:
1) All G 36 rifles of the German Armed Forces comply with the so called "Technical Supply Specification" as established by the German Armed Forces, which conclusively standardize and document the technical performance specifications of the G 36 rifle as part of the supply contract.
2) Our compliance with the stated requirements of these specifications is independently confirmed by the quality control centre of the German Armed Forces with the acceptance of each of the 178,000 G 36 rifles used by the soldiers of the German Armed Forces. To date, there have been no defects noted and therefore, any discussions regarding warranty for defects are neither factual, nor appropriate.
3) Press reports suggest that the German Armed Forces appear to have developed a new test criteria during the past 6 months, without consulting with, or including Heckler & Koch in the discussion of the new testing to be conducted or the results obtained.
4) To date, no office within the German Armed Forces or ministry have contacted, or even informed, Heckler & Koch, of any issues where the G 36 has failed to meet its specifications, although the company has offered an open dialog at all times.
5) Over the past few years, individual parties within the German Armed Forces have time and again claimed that new user scenarios had been developed from operations and it is in these scenarios that issues have been observed. Should this be the case, then these altered use scenarios may themselves be creating issues. As there are presently a number of indicators that the use parameters applicable to our product have been changed, arbitrarily, it is suggested that this is the area where a mutual dialog could best serve our forces and allies. Heckler & Koch remains ready and willing to engage in these discussions to resolve once and for all these reports and concerns.
6) It is a fact that there is no standardized test method at NATO level, let alone an assessment criterion, for the accuracy of hand weapons:
a) when overheated after repeated firing;
b) at extremely high ambient temperatures;
c) for extreme differences in ambient temperature or other climatic fluctuations; and
d) during exposure to sun.
7) To the knowledge of Heckler & Koch, these NATO-wide undefined criteria are also so far unknown at a national level in the German Armed Forces. The only exception being in the spring of 2012, when the so called "Realistic Combat Firing Cycle" (EBZ) was standardized for the first time, and in which the G 36 rifle, once again, was proven to meet, or exceed, the specified accuracy requirements.
8) Heckler & Koch is compelled to state that we were, at best, informed incompletely, always with delay, and as a rule not involved by the German Armed Forces in clarifying any of the recent issues claimed against the G 36 rifle, nor the investigations to substantiate them.
“The continued questioning of the technical suitability of the G 36 rifle stands in stark blatant contrast of the worldwide reality of G 36 operations over nearly 20 years.
“In the general debate about the equipment of the German Armed Forces, the systematic proceedings against Heckler & Koch cannot be explained against this background and the company reserves its right to conduct its own investigation.”
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Fire Arm blog has posted photos showing damage to the G36 rifle, which appear to contradict Heckler & Koch’s statements above.)