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Discordance between the Heckler&Koch Company and German State establishment


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Well-known German manufacturer Heckler&Koch recently won in a legal dispute over the German government, which will, by all odds, only complicate more the relations of the sides.

Several years ago the company established the cooperation with the Saudi Arabia government through a mediation of the German State leadership. The first phase of the cooperation related to the sale of necessary equipment to the Saudis, by which their national arms manufacturer would be able to produce around 14 000 rifles of the G 36 series in 5.56 mm caliber annually. However, during 2008, the representatives of the German government conditioned the production of these rifles in Saudi Arabia by imposing the obligation over the national manufacturer to purchase five key construction elements[1] exclusively in Germany. At first it seemed German government wants to protect the interests of the famous manufacturer, so officials from the Heckler&Koch soon after concluded the delivery of the contingent of 28 000 construction parts for the G 36 series to Saudi Arabia, that should have been completed during 2013. However, during the final phases of the agreement there was no activity from the German government officials, the deal was stopped so the officials of the German manufacturer filed a lawsuit.

A Sudden Red Light

During 2012 the company had been approved almost all required export licenses, but in the supposed execution year of this order the German Federal Office for Economic Affairs and Export Control (Germ. Bundesamt für Wirtschaft und Ausfuhrkontrolle-BAFA) has stopped the delivery on the grounds that “... the security situation in the Middle East is not satisfactory, therefore the realization of the order could induce multiple complications”. The presiding judge reasoning the verdict in favor of the German manufacturer rejected this argument of the German state representatives stating that security situation in this region has always been very complex. Also, the judge did not accept the demand of the company for Federal Office to approve the remaining required documents, therefore it is up to this state authority has to decide whether to allow the delivery or to remain in the previously taken stance.


The rifles of the G 36 series in various models are the main primary weapon used by the German soldiers at the moment. Photo: Heckler&Koch

This is not the first time German manufacturer and state authorities to disagree, nor the G 36 rifle series to be mentioned with a negative connotation. During 2014, the Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Lajen (Germ. Ursula von der Leyen) stated due to unsatisfactory results in tactical-combat field use, it was planned to completely ban these rifles. As a proposing argument, the Minister quoted the results of the study conducted in 2014 by the experts of the German Ministry of Defence who concluded that “... the accuracy of these rifles deduces as much as 30% at temperatures of 30 degrees of Celsius”.

The officials of the German manufacturer did not categorically denied the deficiency in weapon effectiveness in these conditions, but soon afterward offered a construction solution that could, by their words, solve the problem. The situation was further complicated by the fact the manufacturer wanted to sell this project, while the Ministry representatives expected existing rifle contingents in German armed forces to be upgraded without a charge.

[1] Without which the rifle could not be assembled properly.

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