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.)