Germany’s Ministry of Defense said Monday it selected C.G. Haenel for its $296 million program to replace its G36 rifles, beating out incumbent manufacturer Heckler & Koch (H&K), which has supplied the weapon since the mid-1990s.

Heckler & Koch was considered the favorite to win the program, with the company’s CEO announcing plans to “examine the legality of the decision” and exploring a potential protest.

German soldiers with the G36 at the Tag der Bundeswehr 2019 event. Photo: Tim Rademacher

“This announcement comes as a surprise considering Heckler & Koch’s historically leading position in the German light arms market, as well as its global successes, which, among others, include the recent HK416 contracts with France and Norway where it serves as the main rifle,” Stelios Kanavakis, a defense analyst with GlobalData, wrote following the announcement. 

German defense officials sought a replacement for the G36 after soldiers detailed alleged issues with the weapon overheating and experiencing accuracy problems after extensive firing, according to Kanavakis.

C.G. Haenel offered its  MK556 as its new assault rifle, while H&K’s unsuccessful bids included both the HK416 and the HK433. 

U.S. Special Operations Forces currently use the HK416. 

The G36 rifle replacement is expected to cover 120,000 new weapons.