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C.G. Haenel Issue Statement On The Selection Of The MK556 As The New Bundeswehr Rifle

Gungho Cowboy

CG Haenel MK556/CR223

Whilst we wait for Heckler & Koch if they will be filing an appeal on the selection the Haenel MK556 rifle over their offerings, the HK433 and the HK416, we have not heard of any officially statement from C.G. Haenel ever since it was confirmed that by German Defense Ministry that their entry has been selected as the replacement of the G36 rifle that was supplied by Heckler Koch.

Finally we get to hear from there as they issued an official statement via their website (in German, of course).

The MK556 may not be a familiar rifle for many firearms enthusiasts, especially for airsoft players, but it has a civilian semi-auto version, the CR223, which is not to be confused with the CR223a battery. It is already in use in some German police and special operations units.

The statement goes to explain about the company for those who are confused with its ownership via the Merkel Group as well as the investments made by Caracal of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The investments are used in Suhl, the location of the company in Germany to ensure the company’s long term viability.

In terms of production, 90% of the MK556 will be produced in Germany though the company did not disclose where the 10% will be produced and which parts are to be produced elsewhere.

As we read the statement at the company’s website, we see a photo of the MK556 which probably is the modified version that meets the requirements of the Bundeswehr and the pistol grip and stock are different. You can see previous photos of the MK556 here.

CG Haenel MK556

Below is the official statement as taken from their website which we used an online translation tool so our readers can read it.

Haenel MK 556 - the assault rifle. Developed and produced in Suhl, Germany

Statement by CG Haenel on the decision of the Federal Ministry of Defense of September 15, 2020 on the new assault rifle of the Bundeswehr:

After several years of demanding selection process, the Haenel MK 556 prevailed against well-known national and international competition in the tender for the new assault rifle for the Bundeswehr. The product best meets the requirements of the Bundeswehr Procurement Office as defined in the tender; it is convincing in the sum of practical testing, product performance and the most economical overall offer. CG Haenel managing director Olaf Sauer points out that variants of this weapon have already been successfully introduced by German police authorities and special units and have proven themselves in practice.

Haenel, the development specialist

CG Haenel is a specialist in the development of firearms. As part of the Merkel Group, Haenel manufactures at the Suhl location in an efficient and modern production company with a high level of vertical integration. With 120 specialized and highly qualified employees, the group of companies ideally represents all core competencies in weapons manufacturing. Olaf Sauer: "In particular, pipe production as one of the essential factors for high quality is available at the Suhl location in the Merkel Group with the necessary capacities". CG Haenel and the Merkel Group enjoy an excellent reputation in official circles for product quality, delivery reliability and the responsible handling of weapons law and weapons exports.

The Merkel Group has a company history that goes back to the 19th century; Merkel Jagd- und Sportwaffen and CG Haenel are the last remaining industrial producers in the historic arms city of Suhl. At the same time, the group of companies cultivates the culture of gunsmithing for hunting with sophisticated, handcrafted hunting rifles and innovative hunting weapon concepts.

High investments in Suhl since 2007

In the post-reunification period, the group of companies went through a lot of turmoil and ultimately only found a secure and long-term perspective with the takeover by Caracal LLC from the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Substantial investments have been made in the Suhl location since 2007: the building infrastructure, machine park and product portfolio (hunting and government business) have been expanded and continuously improved in order to ensure long-term competitiveness and growth of the company. The companies of the Merkel Group nevertheless work independently and economically "Made in Germany" and have proven this in detail in the tender.

MK 556 is 90 percent Made in Germany

The corporate strategy, which is oriented towards long-term goals - in connection with high investments in the location - secures and creates industrial jobs in Suhl. The production of the assault rifle for the German Armed Forces is carried out with a production share of around 90 percent in Germany and especially benefits the economic region of Southern Thuringia.

Haenel, a historic brand from the Suhl Merkel Group portfolio, started business in 2008 with the development and production of hunting rifles. Due to increasing export restrictions for hunting weapons, Haenel expanded its corporate strategy to include the government market. This was inevitable in order to secure the sustainable development of the company and the jobs associated with it. Haenel quickly made a name for itself in this specific business area too.

As for the next chapter in the search for the new Bundeswehr rifle, it will probably be in the legal arena if Heckler & Koch will move forward with their appeal.

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