Germany, France to renew assault rifle talks
Remigiusz Wilk, Warsaw - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly
07 November 2016
France and Germany are planning to renew talks about selecting a common individual weapon for their armed forces.
A discussion between Germany's defence procurement office (Bundesamt für Ausrüstung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr - BAAINBw) and the French defence procurement agency (Direction Générale de l'Armement - DGA) regarding the technical specification of France's future individual weapon (Arme Individuelle Future - AIF) started in 2015. However, the talks were terminated in late 2015 during the final phase of the French AIF tender to avoid any possible compromising of the ongoing competition.
On 22 September the French Ministry of Defence (MoD) signed a EUR168 million (USD186 million) contract for 102,000 Heckler & Koch (H&K) HK416F assault rifles to replace France's FAMAS F1s. The H&K weapon competed with the Beretta ARX160, FN Herstal SCAR-L, HS Produkt VHS-2 and SIG Sauer MCX rifles.
France is the second nation to introduce the HK416 as its standard-issue rifle, with the HK416N variant being used by the Norwegian armed forces since 2008.
When the AIF tender was finalised, German MoD stated that the BAAINBw-DGA rifle talks were to be renewed in December 2016.
Germany is interested in the detailed technical requirement for the AIF programme and the explanation of the procurement decisions made in relation to it.
The German MoD is planning to introduce a new service rifle by 2019. It is expected that replacing the country's G36 rifle will take 6-7 years.
The Bundeswehr's initial requirement is for 124,000 assault rifles, with additional equipment and simulator systems making the overall programme worth an estimated EUR630 million.
Meanwhile, the BAAINBw has issued a note to industry and is already evaluating and screening the assault rifle market for a G36 replacement. A total of 181,773 G36 assault rifles and G36K carbines were delivered to the Bundeswehr by H&K from 1996.