The Bundeswehr and the dubious assault rifle order – what was really going on behind the scenes at the Bundeswehr Procurement Office?
Tomorrow, Friday, top officials from the Ministry of Defense and the Procurement Office will have to justify themselves in the Defense Committee of the Bundestag. In a secret meeting from 7.30 a.m., they should explain: Why did the small company C.G. Haenel from Thuringia received a million order for 120,000 new assault rifles and not the previous house-and-yard supplier Heckler & Koch? The job had to be stopped for the time being because C.G. Haenel patents of Heckler & Koch infringed, as previously claimed – or are there possibly other reasons?
NewsABC.net reported two weeks ago that there had been illegal agreements between the procurement office and C.G. Haenel is said to have come. Lawyers at the office are said to have classified the award to the company as illegal. The alleged patent infringements would only be a pretended reason to cover up the failure of the office.
A secret note dated July 14, 2020 from the legal department of the procurement office now seems to support this thesis. According to information from NewsABC.net, the lawyer responsible for awarding the assault rifle, Galina B., explicitly warned the agency’s department against the final price offers from C.G. Haenel and Heckler & Koch (Best and Final Offer, Bafo) to negotiate again with the bidders on June 22nd.
B. has been working at the procurement office since 2013. There she is responsible for the implementation of review procedures and handling complaints, so she knows exactly about possible weaknesses in the award process.
However, when B. went on vacation shortly after the note, the specialist department tried the legal department again. Specifically, it was about price requests for so-called Stanag rails. These are NATO-wide standardized rails on the rifles, on which accessories such as special telescopic sights can be installed. B.’s vacation replacement, which is said to have not been entrusted with awarding the assault rifle, has now given the go-ahead, according to sources familiar with the process.
After research by NewsABC.net, the procurement office at C.G. Haenel asks whether the price calculation offered for 215,000 Stanag rails is actually correct. Then C.G. Haenel have corrected the price sharply downwards. As a result, the company’s assault rifle range was suddenly significantly cheaper.
Heckler & Koch also apparently asked about the price calculation for the Stanag rails, but the company is said to have merely referred to its offer. The inquiry was ultimately fruitless.
The Stanag inquiry at C.G. Haenel, however, had even more serious consequences: As NewsABC.net reported this week, officially all of C.G. Haenel and Heckler & Koch offered assault rifles the performance requirements of the German armed forces. According to the secret final report of the Bundeswehr internal weapon tests (available to NewsABC.net), the HK 416 was in direct comparison to the MK 556 from C.G. Haenel, however, is more accurate and less prone to failure. Heckler & Koch was initially the winner in the tendering process – right up to the Stanag inquiries from the procurement office.
Because after C.G. Haenel had adjusted the price, the company was suddenly the winner. In mid-September, the Department of Defense also officially announced that the C.G. Haenel should get the job.
Officially, nobody wants to comment on the process. So it is to be hoped that at least tomorrow the dubious award will be presented transparently to the MPs.