Rheinmetall and Steyr Partner for Rifle Contract

SHAH ALAM: Rheinmetall and Steyr. Back in 2006 when the Army announced it was adopting the Colt M4 Carbine, many including myself criticised the decision saying it was a move in the wrong direction. Most of the criticisms were about adopting an M16/AR-15 pattern when every body else were ditching it.

For me, it was mostly about the “local production and exporting” fantasy that became the reason for the adopting the firearm and also of reports of the US ditching the M4 – which at that time – were very credible.

With the benefit of hindsight, my concerns about the “fantasy” is truly justified while the M4 remained in service with the US forces although its now the M4A1 Carbine version just like the ones we bought from SME and Colt.

A typical Army platoon on the move with their rifles and other weapons. The unit is soldiers with the 4th RAMD at Eks Haringgaroo 15.

And although the M4 Carbine has become the standard rifle of the Armed Forces, other security agencies continue to be rather coy about the adopting the gun.

Two VAT69 operators at the 2015 open day. One is armed with a FN Herstal SCAR H for DMR while the other is armed with the Bushmaster Carbine.

Interestingly ten years after we decided on an M16/AR-15 pattern rifle, other countries have also done the same thing. France and New Zealand like us, ditch the bullpup design to the M16/AR-15 pattern rifles. The French chooses the piston-operated system HK416 while New Zealand chose the direct-impingement LMT CQB16.

RMAF personnel shooting the M4A1 Carbine, MAF Standard Rifle.

And now its likely that the M16/AR-15 pattern rifle may well be adopted by Germany. As you might be aware, Germany is looking to replace its HK G36 assault rifles.

Hk G36 Carbine

In September last year, H&K won a court case against the government. From Reuters

A German court ruled on Friday that the government has no right to compensation from Heckler & Koch (IPO-HIK.L) for what Berlin has said were faulty assault rifles, handing a victory to the gunmaker.

Berlin has said that the G36 rifle, which is standard issue for militaries across the globe and has been used by the German army for nearly 20 years, does not shoot straight in hot weather or when it heats up through constant firing.

The first suggestions that the gun might be faulty date back to April 2010, when 32 Bundeswehr paratroopers were ambushed by Taliban fighters in northern Afghanistan. Three German soldiers were killed in a nine-hour firefight. The G36 was reported to have overheated, forcing the Germans to retreat.

Berlin, which has bought about 180,000 of the rifles since 1996, eventually decided to replace the G36 as the German army’s standard rifle from 2019 and sought compensation for some rifles it had received from Heckler & Koch.

While HK is also expected to bid for the new rifle tender, likely with the 416, it will faced stiff competition from other manufacturers. Steyr (the manufacturer of the AUG) has teamed up with Rheinmetall to offer another M16/AR-15 pattern rifle for the tender.

RS556. Steyr/Rheinmetall picture

Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher offer new RS556 assault rifle system
Two of Europe’s most respected defence companies, Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher, have joined forces to manufacture and market the RS556 modular assault rifle. This German-Austrian cooperation project adds a key item to Rheinmetall’s growing array of infantry products.
The RS556 is based on the highly regarded STM556, which Steyr Mannlicher first unveiled in 2012. Outstanding modularity characterizes this easy-to-use, future-proof 5.56mm x 45 cal. weapon.

This innovative weapon is a possible candidate for the new “System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr”: The German armed forces intend to replace their standard G36 assault rifle with a more advanced system starting in 2019.


Featuring an adjustable short-stroke gas piston system and rotating bolt, the gas-operated RS556 is based on the tried-and-tested Steyr Mannlicher AUG, or Universal Army Rifle, a design concept that has proven itself in decades of service on every continent.

With a 16″ barrel (406 mm) and a fully loaded, 30-round magazine, the RS556 weighs around 4.2 kilograms, just over 9 pounds. The adjustable-length light-weight stock clicks into seven different positions, meaning that operators can adjust the RS556 to match their individual equipment profile in optimum fashion.

RS556 with optic mounted. Steyr/Rheinmetall

In a matter of seconds and without tools, the hammer-forged barrel can be easily exchanged. This means that the RS556 can be readily modified for various missions. The RS556 features several standard and optional NATO accessory rails with receiver systems designed in accordance with MIL-STD-1913, STANAG 2324 and STANAG 4694.

This means that the weapon can be fitted with various optics and night observation devices or laser light modules. A 40mm grenade launcher can also be mounted on the new assault rifle.

So will the RS556 have any future in Malaysia? Your guess is as good as mine.

— Malaysian Defence

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