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'No future' for G36 rifles in the German army

April 22, 2015

Germany's military will have to find a replacement for the current G36 assault rifle, according to Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen. Special Forces troops are to receive new weapons immediately.

Symbolbild - G36
Image: Getty Images/C. Koall

Germany's military was likely to get a replacement for Heckler & Koch's G36 rifles after Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen declared on Wednesday that the weapon had "no future in the German army in its current state of construction."

The Defense Ministry would now work towards replacing the gun as soon as possible, von der Leyen said after she met with representatives of the parliamentary Defense Commission in Berlin.

Immediate replacement for soldiers

Special Forces deployed in conflict areas were to receive replacement weapons immediately, the minister added. However, she did not exclude the possibility of the army adopting a new version of the G36, produced by weapons company Heckler & Koch.

Problems with the assault rifle would be discussed within the Defense Ministry and initially there would be no parliamentary commission to examine the ministry's findings, opposition parties said in Berlin.

The Left and the Green parties would at some point in time question Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere on the G36 affair. De Maiziere served as defense minister in 2010, when problems with the weapon first came to light.

Low accuracy at high temperatures

The assault rifle's capabilities came under scrutiny after a study commissioned by the German Defense Ministry last year claimed "the weapons system did not fulfill the requirements."

The weapon's capacity to hit targets fell to 30 percent when the surrounding temperature reached 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) or when the weapon became hot through constant use, the report said.

The reason for the gun's poor precision was its "complete system," the research revealed.

mg/ sms (dpa, AFP)