The German defence ministry has stopped further orders of the army’s standard automatic rifle, the Heckler & Koch G36, after a secret report questioned its accuracy and said tests had to be carried out to make sure the ministry is not wasting €34m (£27m) on a rifle that does not meet the needs of the troops.
In the latest embarrassment for the German army, which was mocked earlier this month after the defence minister announced the military would put more crèches and minibars in barracks to encourage recruitment, the army now have to admit that concerns voiced by German forces in Afghanistan about the automatic rifle may be proved right.
Solders complained that in a prolonged fire-fight the barrel of the G36 would overheat and cause the weapon to become inaccurate. Army authorities blamed poor ammunition.
However, Bild am Sonntag newspaper reports that the Federal Court of Auditors (BRD) said in a secret report that “There is strong evidence that there are in the armed forces both non-system-compatible types of ammunition as well as heat-sensitive G36 rifles.”
The army is now in consultation researchers from the Ernst Mach Institut, which studies high-speed dynamics, the Federal Criminal Police Office and the ammunition manufacturers. Until the completion of tests, the army will order no more G36 rifles.
The auditors’ report said: “It is necessary to avoid the department of defence investing up to €34m in a rifle that may not meet the requirements of the troops.”