On July 25, the Council of Ministers approved a decision that may open the door to a new assault rifle in the Army.
The reference of that Council of Ministers reported on the approval of "the celebration of the framework agreement for the acquisition of at least 5,800 rifles and 5,900 units of pistols, for the Army with the purpose of renewing the weapons of the units that intervene in peace missions, the improvement of special equipment and weapons with which to carry out the tasks of this type of missions (security, convoy escorts, protection of personalities and others), as well as the units to be projected, which are being prepared in the National Territory".
In 1999 the Spanish Army began to be equipped with the G36E, caliber 5.56 mm, a version manufactured under license in Spain of the German Heckler & Koch G36 rifle, one of the largest European assault rifles. spread throughout the world. The G36E replaced the CETME L, also of 5.56 mm caliber, a Spanish rifle that caused many problems due to the low quality of the materials with which it was manufactured. Not even 15 years passed from his entry into service until the election of his replacement. 75,000 G36Es were manufactured at the Santa Bárbara factory in La Coruña, which, unlike the German models, did not cause overheating problems in continuous use tests.
To purchase those 5,800 rifles, the Spanish Army could choose to continue with the G36, a weapon that is still in the repertoire of Heckler & Koch assault rifles, or it could choose another rifle of the same brand: the HK416, also of 5.56 mm caliber and equipped with Picatinny rails to attach accessories.
The HK416 shares is a weapon of enormous prestige. Like the G36, it has a short-stroke gas piston system, which prevents it from reducing the heating of the weapon, lengthens its useful life, prevents dirt from entering the weapon and reduces misfiring. It has a high manufacturing quality and is one of the favorite weapons of special operations groups, including the famous US Navy SEALs, who used this rifle to kill Bin Laden. In addition to the SEALS, the HK416 appears in the arsenals of the special forces of Poland, Portugal, the Netherlands, Italy, Estonia, Slovakia and Japan, among others.
The only drawback of the HK416 is its cost, higher than that of other similar rifles such as the M4 or the G36 itself. That has until recently been a barrier to their incorporation into military units beyond special operations forces. However, it has recently been chosen as a regulatory assault rifle for the armies of Germany, France and Norway, which have ended up surrendering to the excellent quality and performance of this assault rifle.
In Spain, the HK416 is operated by the Special Naval Warfare Force (FGNE) of the Navy and by the Special Operations Command (MOE) of the Army. The good experience acquired with this weapon led the Navy in December 2022 to the purchase of a batch of HK416A5 rifles in its variant with a 14.5-inch barrel for the Marine Corps Force, in addition to HK417 rifles (a 7.62 mm caliber variant of the HK416) and Heckler & Koch GLMA1 40 mm grenade launchers, which can be attached under the handguard of the HK416.
After this purchase of HK416 for the Marine Corps, for an amount of 1,226,261 euros (without the number of weapons acquired having been specified so far), the Navy acquired another batch of HK416 rifles in August, HK417 and G36, as well as GLM grenade launchers, for the Marine Corps, for an amount of 1,032,036 euros, as reported by Defense magazine, which noted that the HK416 will be the new regulatory rifle of the Tercio de Armada, the Marine Corps Expeditionary Force. This purchase could open the door to his election also by the Army.
Main photo: Heckler & Koch.
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