Secret meeting in the Bundestag: Haenel boss wants to save assault rifle order

Olaf Sauer is the managing director of C.G. Haenel, who had won a Bundeswehr order for 120,000 new assault rifles

picture alliance / dpa-Zentralbild

The Thuringian armory C.G. Haenel wants to fight for her controversial Bundeswehr contract to build 120,000 new assault rifles.

While the Suhl company has not officially heard anything about the allegations that it allegedly infringed the patents of its competitor Heckler & Koch and made illegal agreements with the procurement office, Haenel boss Olaf Sauer wants to meet the members of the Bundestag in two weeks to explain. According to information from, there will be a meeting of defense and budget politicians with Sauer on the morning of November 24th.

The whole thing is organized by the Thuringian member of the Bundestag, Mark Hauptmann, in whose constituency the company is located. The 36-year-old has been in the Bundestag since 2013 and is currently on the Economic Committee.

C.G. In mid-September Haenel had received the bid for 120,000 new assault rifles from the Bundeswehr. As revealed, the company asked for 152 million euros, which was 27 million euros cheaper than the previous home and court purveyor to the armed forces, Heckler & Koch.

Strange, however: According to internal reports, a rifle offered by Heckler & Koch actually performed better in the Bundeswehr’s internal weapon tests than the assault rifle by C.G. Haenel. Heckler & Koch was initially in first place in the internal evaluation. After the procurement office later in the process, despite warnings from in-house lawyers, C.G. Haenel was still negotiating accessory rails and the offer price was thus significantly reduced, the Suhl-based company suddenly won the tender.

Another point: C.G. Haenel is said to have violated the so-called “Over the Beach” patent from Heckler & Koch with the weapon he was offering. This means that a weapon can be fired again quickly after it has been under water.

With the planned secret meeting, Haenel managing director Olaf Sauer wants to comment on these allegations for the first time and save the order. Since the contract value is above the threshold of 25 million, Parliament still has to give the green light for the contract so that it can finally take effect.

But the process is currently still on ice. The Ministry of Defense first wants to commission a patent attorney to examine the allegations. Politically, the opposition is now putting pressure on to repeat the tender because of the many allegations. That would mean a delay of around one to one and a half years. In the meantime, the soldiers would continue to shoot with the G36 from Heckler & Koch, which experts consider to be problem-free.

The FDP defense expert Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann rejects the offer to talk. She wrote to Hauptmann: “I very much understand that you, as a Thuringian member of parliament, have a great interest in the future of the successor to the G36 being manufactured in your constituency. However, I am primarily not interested in who makes the rifle for our soldiers, but who meets the relevant tendering criteria or to what extent it can be clarified whether and to what extent patent rights have been violated. ”Now courts would have to deal with this. Strack-Zimmermann continues: “Therefore, there is no interest in a conversation at this stage.”


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