Germany’s Federal Ministry of Defence (Bundesministerium der Verteidigung, BMVg) announced in a press release on 2 March that C G Haenel has been disqualified from the competition to replace the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle after an external law firm found alleged patent infringements. This was followed by a patent law assessment by an external patent law firm. The ministry said that Haenel had been given the opportunity to respond to allegations of patent infringements and that the company’s comments were taken into account. It is now intended to award the contract to Heckler & Koch. C.G. Haenel has won the contract for the delivery of 120,000 MK556 assault rifles to the Bundeswehr (German Army), a contract worth around 245 million euros (over $290 million).
In the bidding process initiated in 2017, C.G. Haenel presented a weapon that, in extensive tests, was somewhat better tailored to the requirements of the military and also proved to be economically advantageous. A third bidder – Sig Sauer – had withdrawn from the current tender. C.G. Haenel’s rifle also beat out the RS556, an entry from Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher. Haenel Defense’s MK 556 is a short-stroke piston operated AR-based design available in 10.5, 12.5, 14.5 and 16 inch barrel lengths with a STANAG 4694 quad rail or 3 and 9 o’clock keymod mounting points and ambidextrous controls – a 45-degree rather than AR-pattern selector. MK556 is a fully automatic assault rifle especially developed and built for military requirements.
The C.G. Haenel GmbH develops, produces and distributes high quality hunting, sporting and law enforcement weapons – originating in the old gun maker’s town Suhl, rich in tradition, into the whole world. Suhl can refer to the expertise of excellent engineers, weapon technicians and gunsmiths – and on staff that carries weapon-engineering in their genes and memes. The Suhl Company was founded in the year 1840 by the Prussian commissioner for firearms manufacturing Carl Gottlieb Haenel. Since the 16th century, located at the gate of the Thuringian forest, firearms were produced. One of the developments of Schmeisser at C.G. Haenel is the machine carbine 44, the first machine gun in the world.