This article was originally posted on Thefirearmblog.com
On the 11 October the Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment, Information Technology and In-Service Support (BAAINBw) announced the selection of Heckler & Koch’s KH416A7 for Germany’s Special Forces.
The new rifle will be adopted as the G95 and will replace the older G36Ks currently in service with the Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) and the Kommando Spezialkräfte Marine (KSM). Some new images of the G95 have appeared online thanks to Europäische Sicherheit & Technik, one of Germany’s leading defence technology publications.
The above image was released in the official BAAINBw press release last week. Sadly, the BAAINBw press release doesn’t tell us too much about the new rifle. And neither does Heckler & Koch’s statement below:
Heckler & Koch wins KSK tender
Heckler & Koch has won the tender to provide the German Special Commando Forces (KSK) and the German Naval Special Commando Forces with the HK416 A7 assault rifle. The new assault rifle is expected to be introduced by the Special Forces in early 2019.
The HK416 A7 replaces the long-serving G36 K as the standard weapon for the German Special Forces. The HK416 A7 is a 5.56 mm x 45 NATO calibre gas operated weapon with a 14.5″ barrel and weighs around 3.7 kg. The new weapon impresses with its high precision, secure function and reliability. The contract is for a total of 1,745 HK417 A7 including accessories.
From this we know the HK416A7 will have a 14.5 inch barrel and is heavier than its predecessor, the A5, weighing 3.7kg or 8.2lbs. The contract calls for 1,745 rifles and accompanying accessories. From a post on ESUT’s facebook page we now know that these accessories include sound suppressors, slings and a full spares and training package. Four companies submitted rifles for testing, these included: Haenel, Heckler & Koch, Rheinmetall/Steyr and SIG Sauer. The contract is said to be worth under 11 million EUROS.
The photo below gives a closer look at the A7’s a new improved receiver FDE coating and its selector layout.
The new photos from ESUT show some of the A7’s new features up close. The G95 switches from the M16-style 90-degree selector layout to the classic HK configuration, this makes sense considering the KSK & KSM are accustomed to using the G36K with its 45-degree selector throw. According to Heckler & Koch’s Head of Business Unit Military & Police, Michael Fiedler, this was one of the Bundeswehr’s specification criteria. In an interview with ESUT, Fiedler explained the A7’s selector change: “soldiers have become accustomed to certain processes and special ergonomics through numerous practice. It is now found in the new assault rifle. A time and cost-intensive retraining of the muscle memory is not necessary. A switch to the new rifle can be made so much easier.”
The G95 uses HK’s new style of forend featuring 12 and 6 o’clock picatinny rails and HKeyMod holes at 3 and 9 o’clock. The new profire handguard also allows easier access to the HK416A7’s gas system. In the photo below we can see the G95 equipped with a Brügger & Thomet Rotex-V .223/5.56mm quick detachable suppressor and what appears to be an EOTECH XPS2.
Fiedler confirmed that that the high round count demanded by Germany’s special forces was a challenge, especially when equipped with a suppressor. However, he confirmed that HK’s goal was “to provide an assault rifle which the Kommandosoldat can rely on at any time.” With the Bundeswehr’s service rifle trials ongoing HK have submitted both the HK416 (likely the A7 given its selector configuration) and the new HK433. It remains to be seen what impact, if any, HK’s selection for the special forces contract will have on the wider competition.