Die Munitionen sind daran schuld.

Blame the bullets.

Problems with the Bundeswehr’s standard assault rifle, the Heckler & Koch G36, occurred during fighting in Afghanistan. Its accuracy could deviate by up to half a meter during sustained firing because the plastic-seated barrel heated up; this was confirmed by testing at the military’s Wehrtechnische Dienststelle [“military technology service center”] not long after troops reported the first problems in 2011. Germany’s defense minister at the time, Thomas de Maizière (C.D.U.), was criticized for not putting a moratorium on new orders for the G36 despite these unresolved problems. Instead of replacing the G36, they decided to tell German soldiers in Afghanistan to avoid sustained fire and to allow hot barrels to cool to “hand warmth” for more accurate shooting.

Now Metallwerk Elisenhütte in Nassau, a Rhineland-Palatinate firm that has “traditionally” supplied bullets to German military and police forces, meaning for a long time, has accepted blame for Heckler & Koch’s overheating gun barrels. Two palettes of bullets from a different manufacturer were shipped to Afghanistan, the defense department announced. More G36 rifles have been ordered from Heckler & Koch.

Many people would assume the Wehrtechnische Dienststelle’s tests in 2012 would have used bullets from multiple manufacturers. Yet the bullets were not identified as the source of the G36’s overheating until December 2013, a time between German governments when e.g. state secretaries seem to have been running the show at the defense department.

Update on 22 Jun 2014: Germany’s defense ministry will not be buying more of its G36 standard assault rifles from Heckler & Koch, for the time being, in response to a report by the German Federal Court of Auditors [Bundesrechnungshof] doubting the gun’s accuracy. The defense ministry said they will be retesting the gun, and that they disagree with the doubts of the auditors.

Update on 28 Jun 2014: The 23 Jun 2014 report from Federal Court of Auditors is highly classified and very critical. Since 2012, the Bundeswehr has “only unassertively accepted” the findings from G36 testing, has “not responded to the ongoing criticism to the appropriate degree” to the present day and “reacted too late in any case.” Even under the new defense minister von der Leyen, the problems with the G36 “have been neither consequently processed nor clarified doubt-free.” The defense ministry “has not ordered an investigation suitable for clearing up the existing doubts about the weapon.” The experts do not believe the bullets are to blame for the gun’s problems according to the report—it’s unclear from the Spiegel article whether these are experts consulted by the auditors, auditors evaluating all the data available to them, experts outside the government, etc.

A Green party politician said now the defense ministry must not only illuminate, fix and explain the G36 problems but also how it could make such an error in judgment for so many years, “deviating so dramatically from the opinions of its own experts.”

(Dee   moon eats YO! nen   zinned   dah ron   SHOOLED.)

Kollisionsschutz

“Collision protection.” In a surprise move ~14 May 2013 the German Defense Ministry [Bundesverteidigungsministerium] cancelled its Euro Hawk drone development cooperation with the USA because the drone was not going to receive permission from civilian authorities to fly in European airspace. When the cancellation was announced, GDefense said they’d spent 550 million euros on the project, but now they’re saying 660 million. The F.A.Z. Sonntag reported GDefense knew about the “Euro Hawk” civil-airspace permission problems in 2004, three years before they signed the procurement contracts to purchase the drones. Airspace permission was denied to the unmanned surveillance drone because it lacked an adequate “collision protection” system [“fehlende Kollisionsschutz“]. Air safety authorities, business people in the aerospace industry and the German Defense Department’s own licensing office warned the Defense Ministry about the paperwork problems in 2004. Furthermore, the opposition SPD and Green Party accuse, GDefense subsequently “massively interfered” in the German Federal Court of Auditors [Bundesrechnungshof]’s attempt to do their job by investigating what the hell was going on there. On 18 May 2013 the Bundesrechnungshof auditors said they’d still not received all the documents they’d requested and some of the status reports they did receive were blacked out by censors.

Half the project’s money was spent on developing the drone vehicle in the USA and half on developing the drone’s special electronic surveillance system in Germany. The surveillance system is supposedly too large to go in other drones but could be carried by a normal plane. One Euro Hawk prototype was delivered and four more drones were going to be ordered.

The F.A.Z. Sonntag reported that serious problems occurred during the drone prototype’s delivery flight from California to Bavaria in 2011, when contact with the controlling satellite was lost twice for about ten minutes at a time and the drone deviated from its course. But the Defense Ministry did not report these problems to the Bundestag. US air safety authorities also had refused to issue airspace permission to the drone, before its 2011 transfer flight. Anti-drone activist Medea Benjamin, author of “Drone warfare: Killing by remote control,” said in a 24 Sep 2012 interview that the US air force admits about one-third of these drones have been crashing. She said apparently it’s OK for them to crash on some countries but not other countries.

The German Defense Ministry’s reason for refusing to share the information requested by the controlling authorities, the Bundesrechnungshof auditors, was agreements made with “industry partners” not to share information with third parties. A spokesman for the federal auditing authority said not receiving all the information they needed to do their jobs was “unusual. We don’t experience something like that very often.” And: “The Bundesrechnungshof has an unlimited right of inspection which the Defense Ministry cannot nullify via agreements with third parties. We can and will not accept the Defense Ministry’s limitations of our access to the files.”

On 22 May 2013, Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) said he will let the federal auditors see all documents now, even despite putative contractual conditions agreed with the USA.

Germany has also contributed ~483 million euros to NATO’s Hawk drone (“Global Hawk”?) which is based on the same US drone and thus might also have civil airspace licensing issues.

(Coe LEE zee OWNS shootz.)

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