Our Bureau
11:50 AM, January 11, 2017
RS556 assault rifle (Image: Rheinmetall)

Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher are eying the German armed forces’ contract to replace standard G36 assault rifle with a 5.56mm x 45 cal RS556 rifle.

Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher, have joined forces to manufacture and market the RS556 modular assault rifle based on STM556, which Steyr Mannlicher first unveiled in 2012. The German-Austrian partnership has its sight set on the German market. This innovative weapon is a possible candidate for the new "System Sturmgewehr Bundeswehr": The German armed forces intend to replace their standard G36 assault rifle with a more advanced system starting in 2019, Rheinmetall said in a statement Wednesday.

The weapon is being offered by Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher as a jointly produced product, made in Germany, with a German valued added share of 60%.

Featuring an adjustable short-stroke gas piston system and rotating bolt, the gas-operated RS556 is based on the Steyr Mannlicher AUG, a design concept.

With a 16" barrel (406 mm) and a fully loaded, 30-round magazine, the RS556 weighs around 4.2 kilograms, just over 9 pounds. The adjustable-length light-weight stock clicks into seven different positions, meaning that operators can adjust the RS556 to match their individual equipment profile in optimum fashion.

In a matter of seconds and without tools, the hammer-forged barrel can be easily exchanged. A number of standard barrel lengths are available (14.5", 16", 18" and 20"); however, customer-specific barrel and rifling lengths can be easily created.

The RS556 features several standard and optional NATO accessory rails with receiver systems designed in accordance with MIL-STD-1913, STANAG 2324 and STANAG 4694. This means that the weapon can be fitted with various optics and night observation devices or laser light modules.

A 40mm grenade launcher can also be mounted on the new assault rifle. Moreover, the RS556 is compatible with Rheinmetall’s modular "Future Soldier - Expanded System" (IdZ-ES), and can also be connected to other soldier systems.

A special breech system with an emergency operation feature ensures that the weapon always functions reliably even in extreme operating conditions, e.g. in severely hot and cold environments.

Also Read