As I suspected, the new joint evaluation report by the Fraunhofer Ernst Mach Institute, WTD 91 and WIWeB announced for yesterday came out only after office hours when everybody in the business had gone home. Haven't seen it yet either, but the press is talking about some bits which obviously have to be treated with caution as they may have been cherry-picked from the reported 372 pages. Allegedly after firing two magazines (how fast?), only 53 percent of rounds hit (which?) target (at what range?); after three magazines it was just one in three. A quoted aim was 90 percent hits at 300 meters which may have been the range here, which the test rifle(s) failed at while another (type of?) rifle met it.
Quoted conclusions are that "precise engagement of the enemy" is not possible in "challenging fights", the rifle is only of "limited fitness for deployments", and there is "a considerable capability gap in the sense of survival and sustainance capabilities". The Bundeswehr Plans Office is reported to demand the immediate procurement of appropriate assault rifles and ammunition as an interim solution for current deployments, the G 36 only to be continued in use until an alternative to equip all soldiers has been found. The Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Usage OTOH seems to suggest "regenerating" the G 36 for use beyond 2016, even including acquisition of additional rifles, since introduction of a successor might take up to ten years (this appears not the contradiction to me it's made out to be by the typically clueless media).
The question of who's fault it all is remains unresolved for now; yesterday it was reported that the MoD is investigating the possibilities of damage compensation from HK itself. Today another of the ubiquituous "internal reports" was cited in which the procurement office of the time stated in 2006 that HK were putting official proof marks on their guns by themselves; apparently the local proving authority was simply trusting the company with that, but the practice was ceased after the complaint. Of course the opposition in the Bundestag is already threatening another investigative panel and would like to nail Defense Minister von der Leyen's head to a wall next to those of several of her precessors; the claim is she should already have known things were wrong when she stated the opposite last May or so.
Meanwhile the blue-ribbon committee established by the minister to investigate any possible instances where soldiers might have been endangered by malfunctioning rifles is to start its work on 1 June. A separate group headed by current Commerzbank board chairman Klaus-Peter Müller (head of the German Corporate Governance Codex government commission until 2013) is to shine some light on the proceedings surrounding procurement, evaluation and use of the G 36.
ETA: Found the executive summary online. 25 rifles of variants G 36 A0, 1, 2, 3 and K A4 were selected from 304 and tested against "a range of comparison weapons of different makes" with seven different ammunition sorts including service DM11. All long-barrel G 36s met the targets in cold condition with standard ammunition, but accuracy subsequently dropped continuously and significantly; even the latest A3 variant didn't fare better. The K A4 met none of the requirements at all. Four factors were determined to influence results:
- Ammunition; accuracy differed by over 35 percent with some sorts.
- System temperature; G 36 becomes hotter than all comparison rifles and loses accuracy even at low shot counts.
- Type and variant; accuracy differed over 50 percent with same ammunition. One of the comparison weapons met all requirements, showing that they could be reached.
- Individual weapon; G 36 showed up to 30 percent difference in accuracy, regardless of time of production.
Even changes in ambient temperature affected accuracy considerably. Changes were most pronounced at a change from 15 to 45 degrees Celsius regardless of ammunition, but the G 36 did not meet requirements across the complete temperature band while comparison rifles did. Changes in humidity led to similar restrictions, just more slowly. Asymmetric warming through sunshine led to a reversible warping of the receiver and thus the barrel centerline. All in all, pretty damning.
Edited by BansheeOne, 18 April 2015 - 1150 AM.