Heat resistant polymers are a thing, given the high prices H&K has a reputation for you'd hope they'd be using such materials.
Anybody here speak German? The translation of this document gets a bit too messy to understand in parts. There is something about "The theory that the material or combination of materials of the G36 housing" that seems to be of interest.
Statement No. 4 by Heckler & Koch regarding Assault Rifle G36
Heckler & Koch demands independent clear-up of irregularities in Bundeswehr tests
Heckler & Koch demands independent forensic investigation of all G 36 trials by the Federal Criminal Investigations Office
Basics of weapon and ammunition technology ignored in Bundeswehr tests
Heckler & Koch presents combat value enhancements for G36
Heckler & Koch welcomes the stated will of the Federal Ministry of Defense to follow up the accusations made against the company with far-reaching consequences for our technical reputation with a substantial investigation. Nebulous accusations are not only damaging our company's renown, but most of all spread insecurity among our deployed soldiers and undermine the credibility of our deployed forces with Germany's allies.
We also regret that our company has not been contacted, much less informed by any source within the Bundeswehr about the proceedings to this day, even though we offered open and constructive dialogue at any time. It has so far not been specified under which conditions and with which objectives the tests of the G36 were conducted. We have no indications that soldiers have come into danger because of a lack of shooting precision of the G36 rifle. It remains true that an increased warming of the G36 does not lead to malfunction or even failure of the weapon. The material consistency of the HK50 rifle trialed by the Bundeswehr, which was introduced in 1995 under the designation G36, was known to the Federal Government at any time. The alleged deficiencies now discussed, as they are here attributed to the comparatively few combat missions of the Bundeswehr, should have emerged and become known very much earlier with other forces, which are engaged in combat in various places - this is however not the case.
Analysis of the information which have become known to Heckler & Koch through the media makes it clear among other things that the current discussion is contributing little to a clear-up of the issue. From the view of Heckler & Koch, the recent establishment of an internal commission of the Federal Ministry of Defense gives raise to the worry that an independent and credible investigation and clear-up of all proceedings in the discussion about the G36 which has been going on for five years in the Bundeswehr will be hardly possible. Members of the commission are not independent due to being close to the Bundeswehr and have in part already made negative statements about the G36 in public. In view of the most recent public comments of the Federal Ministry of Defense about the G36 rifle as well as of the as-yet unclear mandate of the announced investigation, the conditions for transparent and fact-based work of the internal commission now established seem insufficient.
Heckler & Koch therefore demands an evaluation and clear-up of all proceedings regarding the G36 topic independent of the Federal Ministry of Defense, as well as the forensic investigation of all raised accusations and alleged subject matter expertises by the Federal Criminal Investigations Office.
In view of our entrepreneurial responsibility as the employer of more than 700 employees we see ourselves by now forced to consider public liability claims against the Federal Government due to the emerged and continuing defamation and endangerment of credit with Heckler & Koch. In our opinion these result from the erroneous and one-sided trial arrangements of the Bundeswehr with the G36 and the relating "secret reports" illegally leaked to the press time and again.
Hecker & Koch therein sees probable cause for a liability of the Federal Government, since these issues can obviously be traced to and insufficient or lacking official and technical oversight of subordinated Bundeswehr stations, in particular the Ordnance Station for Weapons and Ammunition (WTD 91) as well as the Defense Science Institute for Materials and Fuels (WIWeB). Among other things, the administrative principles of "bad prejudice" were not upheld. Additionally the repeated publication of confidential or documents classified as part of the protection of secrets with in part obviously preliminary findings has revealed grave gaps in the data security of the Federal Government.
Above this, the court-ordered surrender of all evaluation documents of the Bundeswehr about the G36 to Heckler & Koch on the base of accessory contract obligations is currently subject of considerations.
The issue is completely muddled at this point due to the release of competing statements and technical reports as mentioned in the above release. I have a bloody stack of paper going back to 2012 on my desk, including the WTD 91 tests with pages upon pages of tables and graphs about behavior of different ammunition at different temperatures, etc.; I need to pack the affair into a speech for the upcoming floor debate of the defense ombudsman's annual report, since the outgoing office holder Helmut Königshaus was instrumental in kicking it off.
HK is of course right in lambasting the typically clueless media coverage; this is not helped by press reports that "bullets may deviate by up to 50 centimeters" (oh yeah? At what range?). Initially the opinion in our circles was largely "well of course a rifle will lose accuracy if hot - it's not a machinegun, d'uh" (even though the point of the barrel being held by plastic was debated). The MoD has repeatedly pointed out that there has been no actual instance reported from deployments where detrimental effects were observed, and I have heard the private opinion that some of the tests were rather unscientific and there is some guy in the Federal Auditing Bureau who has made fighting the G36 his personal crusade.
Everybody was quite satisfied when a particular ammunition sort was made the culprit, and I was surprised when Defense Minister von der Leyen suddenly announced she was launching a new multi-pincer investigation including the renowned Fraunhofer Institute and a blue-ribbon committee including the outgoing defense ombudsman and former Green MP Winfried Nachtwei (who has a reputation as a straight and knowledgeable guy, frequently visited Afghanistan and keeps being committed to defense issues).
Of course there are allegations that not only shooting, but also ambient temperature and humidity will affect the rifle, which some say was because overseas deployments were not considered at the time of the original order - which I find really hard to believe, since by 1995 we had had Cambodia and Somalia, with Yugoslavia on the horizon. At any rate HK maintains they met the requirements at that time, though there are also reports they used less heat-resistant ingredients in the serial rifles. As I said, the issue is reasonably muddy at this point.
Of course von der Leyen might be just using this to look pro-active and caring again, or bust another good-old-boys industry-ministry network; she has gained a bit of a reputation for cleaning house by now. If the G 36 was really found wanting, it's anybody's guess what would succeed it; the HK 416 would be an obvious choice, but it would look kinda weird to give another order to HK in reward for messing up the previous one. But then some have alleged that HK are really behind the G 36 allegations themselves because they want to sell the Bundeswehr a new design ...