Economy & Politics

Heckler & Koch takes action against the Ministry of Defense

Gunsmith Heckler & Koch objects against the decision that their competitor Haenel should build the new assault rifle of the German armed forces. At the entrance to the company headquarters of the weapons manufacturer Heckler & Koch in Oberndorf, there is a striking lettering with the company name. Photo: dpa / Wolf von Dewitz

The gunsmith Heckler & Koch objects to the decision that their competitor Haenel should build the new assault rifle of the German armed forces. CEO Jens Bodo Koch: Want to understand decision.

Stuttgart – The Oberndorf handgun manufacturer Heckler & Koch (HK) has announced that it may take further legal steps against the decision of the Bundeswehr that the Suhl competitor Haenel should build the new assault rifle for the Bundeswehr. The CEO, Jens Bodo Koch, told our newspaper: “We want to understand how this decision came about in the competition. That is why we have now submitted a complaint first. ”It has suspensive effect. The responsible committees of the Bundestag will probably not deal with the order for around 120,000 assault rifles while the complaint is ongoing.

Order of 245 million euros should be given to Haenel

The Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the German Armed Forces announced on September 15 that it would place the contract with Haenel with a maximum volume of 245 million euros. Economic and technical advantages of the Haenel model MK 556 would have tipped the balance against the competing models HK 416 and HK 433 from Heckler & Koch, according to the rationale.

Koch pointed out that HK had called a price well below the maximum volume, but Haenel had undercut it by a further 51 million euros. “In addition, the measurement method on which the tests were based led to non-reproducible results.” Both should be questioned.

It is important in which country the licenses are located

A defeat in this tender was economically manageable, assured Koch. The order for the assault rifles, which are to replace the Bundeswehr’s G 36, would make up around eight percent of annual sales – it is currently 260 million euros per year. “As far as our reputation is concerned, however, it would be a great shame if after 60 years we were no longer a supplier of the standard weapon of the Bundeswehr.”

If Haenel takes on this role, new questions arise: The company recently assured that 90 percent of the MK 556 is manufactured in Germany. Equally important for arms deals – especially when it comes to exports – is the country in which the technology and licenses are located. Haenel belongs to the arms company Caracal from the United Arab Emirates.

Also read: Power reorganized at Heckler & Koch

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