An expert report doubts the legality of the new assault rifle of the German armed forces from the manufacturer “Haenel”. Criticism of the ministry is voiced by the opposition.

An expert report reinforces legal doubts about the assault rifle of the Thuringian manufacturer “C.G. Haenel” which was initially selected by purchasers from the Bundeswehr. After the investigation became available Friday, the Ministry of Defense in Berlin announced: “The company in question will have the opportunity to comment on the results of the patent reviews in mid-January.” Surprisingly, “Haenel” won against the traditional supplier “Heckler & Koch” in the bidding process for 120,000 weapons.

The award has been withdrawn for the time being

The Ministry of Defense initially withdrew the award from “Haenel” in October. It justified the decision with possible patent infringements at the expense of the unsuccessful bidder “Heckler & Koch”. These were special boreholes from which water that has penetrated can escape again (“over the beach”). The weapon is ready to fire faster. However, there were also other objections to the tender procedure.

Assault rifle “Haenel”: it could have infringed a competitor’s patent rights. (Source: dpa / Thomas Lange)

“With the withdrawal of the award, we have indicated that we have doubts about patent law. And the report that has now been submitted strengthens our position,” said a Defense Ministry spokeswoman for the German Press Agency on Friday. The report has yet to be reviewed by the registry. “All parties will be given the option of a position,” she said.

A “bad certificate” for the Ministry of Defense

Meanwhile, an expert opinion confirms that the purchase of a new assault rifle will take a long time and will eventually be decided in court, criticized FDP defense politician Alexander Müller. “The fact that we can’t even get the straightforward tenders on the chain is a bad sign for the Department of Defense; it recently joins a slew of failed tenders.”

Green defense politician Tobias Lindner stated that behind the “very dry words” of informing parliament there is “nothing short of a disaster” for an award procedure. The award to “Haenel” is no longer sustainable. “It is alarming that the current knowledge of a highly likely patent infringement could have been obtained more than two years ago if the purchasing office had only consistently followed up on public and known information at the time,” says Lindner. Years of delays due to a legal dispute are now to be expected.

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