German Exports of Small Arms, Ammunition to Arab States Increase 32 Times

HK G 36 guns are pictured at a show room of arms manufacturer Heckler & Koch 's company headquarters in Oberndorf, Germany.

 

German exports of small arms and ammunition to the Arab region reportedly has reached almost $9 million for the first half of 2015.

 German exports of small arms and ammunition to the Arab region has reached 7,9 million (almost $9 million) for the first half of 2015, a figure 32 times greater than for the same period of 2014, Bild am Sonntag newspaper said, citing German Ministry for Economic Affairs.

The issue was revealed after representatives from the left-wing Die Linke party had made an inquiry to the ministry, the media outlet reported.

According to a response from the German Ministry for Economic Affairs, German exports of small arms to the Arab states for the first half of 2014 stood at some 246,000 euro, while for the same period of 2015 the volume of exports has reached 7,9 million euro.The newspaper reported that German exports had included not only small arms but also spare parts for it, as well as ammunition.

The left-wing party has criticized German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel for exports of weaponry to the Middle East, citing ongoing conflicts and civil wars in the region, the media outlet reported.

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Serbia to Buy Military Helicopters From Russia, Germany

Russian Mi-8

 

The helicopters due to be delivered are perfectly equipped for search and rescue operations, the Serbian defense minister said.

Serbia will buy four military helicopters from Russia and Germany in the near future, the country’s Defense Minister Bratislav Gasic said Thursday.”We are approaching the final stage of the purchase of two Russian and two German military helicopters. The first delivery [of the helicopters] is expected soon,” Gasic said in an interview with Tanjug news agency.

According to the minister, the helicopters that are due to be delivered have excellent performance capabilities and are perfectly equipped for carrying out search and rescue operations, even at night.

Gasic specified that the purchase of the first two helicopters was planned for 2015 with two more to be bought in 2016, adding that their procurement was a priority for the Serbian Army.Commenting on the possible renewal of the country’s fighter jet fleet, he said such a move would require huge sums of money.

Belgrade is also currently involved in negotiations on the purchase of a transport aircraft from Airbus, a French-based aircraft manufacturer.

German missile battery receives orders from… unknown ‘hackers’ – report

Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr stand next a Patriot system in Kahramanmaras, Turkey (Reuters / Osman Orsal)

Soldiers of the German armed forces Bundeswehr stand next a Patriot system in Kahramanmaras, Turkey (Reuters / Osman Orsal)

 

The German Patriot air and missile defense systems, stationed at the Turkish border with Syria, have carried out “unexplained” commands allegedly issued by unknown hackers, according to a German media report since rebutted by the government.

The US-produced missile systems, belonging to the German Bundeswehr armed forces and based on the territory of NATO ally Turkey since 2013, have been compromised, according to a report in the German Behörden Spiegel.

As a result, the systems, consisting of six launchers and two radars, reportedly carried out “unexplained” orders, the publication claimed, providing no further information on the kind of commands.

A spokesman for the Federal Department of Defense however rebutted the report on Tuesday, saying that “there is no base data” for an extremely improbable attack, Die Welt newspaper reported.

According to the magazine, there could be two weak spots in the system, which was first used by the US army over 30 years ago. The first one is the Sensor-Shooter-Interoperability (SSI), which stands for the information exchange between the missile launcher and its control system. Another weakness could be in computer chips, which are responsible for the guidance of the weapon.

Compromising military systems is not something that an amateur hacking group would have the skills to do, or would want to admit doing, believes computer security consultant and former UK-based computer hacker Robert Jonathan Schifreen. He told RT that the “unexplained” commands from the hackers mentioned in the report, while “certainly worrying,” could not possibly be anything of much significance.

“These systems are not linked to public networks, they require special codes to fire the missile, which only a certain number of people have, and you generally need the code from two or three people to fire it, or to do anything that is of significance,” Schifreen said. “I don’t think it’s actually happened, which is not to say that some of these systems are not hackable in some way. It is possible in some way perhaps to detect the presence of it, but anything more than that is going to take some serious skills.”

“It is certainly the case that foreign governments, intelligence agencies do try to hack into these systems, and it may well be that the software built into the missile has been compromised in some way by some foreign government,” he added.

But the main risk, says security expert Billy Rios, stems from software upgrades that provide smart weapon capabilities to the weaponry, along with incompetence of local operators who have only basic understanding of how these military systems work and connect to each other.

“Each individual weapons system presents a different set of systems that someone would have to penetrate in order to take control of it,” Rios told RT. “It is surprising how these things eventually get connected to the internet or to the network. Normally it does not start off that way, normally it’s during an upgrade of some type. One day it’s not connected and the next day it is.”

“It is a good question for commanders to be asking themselves: Hey, are our systems connected? Are they somehow connected to the Internet? Have we had any recent upgrades that made these things smart, like smart weapon, where it can transmit data to and from other places?”

“And it’s probably a question they are not very comfortable asking themselves,” he added.

Meanwhile a former MI5 agent and whistleblower, Annie Machon, noted the reports of unauthorized access to US-made military systems “is a parallel with some of the disclosures that Edward Snowden has come out with.”

“The US based software is often very closed, very proprietary, nobody is allowed to see what their codes contain and the NSA has lent on companies to make sure that back doors are built in, which is for NSA to look at and its vassal states,” Machon told RT, talking on the vulnerabilities of the military hardware, governed by American software.

Last month, Germany announced that it planned to replace Patriot missiles with MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defense System), a new air defense system developed by the USA, Italy and Germany. The cost of the move is estimated at more than €4 billion.

“Who actually has their finger on the trigger? This is a basic problem for partners of the US. If they buy US software, if they buy US military hardware, do they really have control of it?” Machon wondered.

“Now, any country that is serious about its national security, its national interests should surely be building its own weaponry. And it should be making sure it’s developing its own population knowledge base, its skills base – to be able to do that, too.”

Too Hot to Handle: UK Calls to Review Rifles That ‘Can’t Shoot Straight’

A soldier carries a German gun G36

Police chiefs in the UK have called for a review into an assault rifle used by anti-terror officers and some military forces after a report claimed that the German-made weapons did not shoot straight when hot.

A report commissioned by the German defense ministry investigating the effectiveness of the weapons revealed that the G36 rifles become very inaccurate when they overheat.

The report found that the rifles could miss targets after being exposed to hot conditions, high humidity or by being fired in rapid succession.

The leaked report, as seen by UK newspaper The Sunday Times, found that the rifles reportedly missed targets when temperatures got to 30C, while other reports in German media claimed that some shots from 500m missed their targets by as far as six metres.

Meanwhile, it was also reported that the G36 rifles became hot and unreliable after firing just 60 rounds of ammunition.

Germany Has ‘No Use’ For G36 Rifles

 

The issue of whether to use the rifles has also been debated recently in Germany, with German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen  — who commissioned the tests — saying that the G36 has “no future” in the German military.There are thought to be between 2,000 and 3,000 G36 rifles used by British counterterrorism forces, while Special Air Service (SAS) teams in Iraq have also used them during certain operations.

Police officials were unsure of the cost of the weapons used in the UK, however the German military has spent $195 million on 178,000 G36 rifles over the past two decades.

Despite the widespread use of the rifles, which are used in more than 50 countries, the leaked reports have led to calls to have the weapons re-tested in the UK, with police chiefs asking the Home Office to investigate the results in Germany.

National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) lead for armed policing, DCC Simon Chesterman said that officers in the UK using G36 rifles and their ammunition had “not experienced any problems with accuracy” despite being put through a “stringent set” of tests by the Centre for Applied Science and Technology (CAST).

However, Mr Chesterman has called for a review into their use and safety, following the concerning reports in Germany.

“The reliability of any weaponry that the police service uses is of paramount importance. As a result we will refer the matter to CAST and ask them to consider the recent findings in Germany and advise us accordingly.”

Findings ‘Incorrect, Irrelevant And Possibly Illegal’

Following the criticism of the G36 rifles, manufacturer Heckler & Koch (H&K) have defended the weapons, saying the German defense force’s decision to fit the G36’s barrel with a tin covering lead to the overheating.

“H&K views any negative statements with regard to the accuracy [of the G36] as factually incorrect, irrelevant and possibly illegal.”

“Decades of use by the Bundeswehr validate that the G36 was — and continues to be — fully operational,” the statement read.

As part of a detailed response to the report, H&K officials also criticized the German army’s decision to purchase the G36 in favor of the MG36 — a more expensive, heavier rifle.

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‘Nicht Gut’: German MPs Cancel Orders for G36 Rifle

German soldier holds a Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle at a military training ground near Weisskeissel,  Germany

The German parliament canceled G36 rifle orders for lack of precision in hot climate and when overheated, German media reported on Sunday.
 

A study commissioned by the Ministry of Defense revealed serious flaws in the mass-produced G36 assault rifle. Reportedly, the rifle tends to heat up during continuous fire and becomes unreliable under changing ambient temperatures with the hit probability decreasing after just a few shots.Moreover, a change from dry to moist environment leads to problems, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported.

The revelations contained in the 372-page report may come as a serious blow to Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a close ally and confidante of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The German military leads a NATO rapid response force in Eastern Europe to defend European countries, including Poland, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia against an imaginary threat from Russia.  The formation of the elite intervention force is part of a systematic military buildup by NATO in Eastern Europe, aimed directly at Russia. Ursula von der Leyen said some 4,000 of the corps’ troops will soon be taking part in a joint military exercise in the Baltics.

However, it now appears that the Bundeswehr has little to fight with amid reports of serious flaws found in its armored vehicles and now in the mass-produced G36 assault rifle.

A special commission has been set up to determine whether the rifle poses a real threat to a soldier’s life.

Ursula von der Leyen knew about the problems with the G36 already in late March and planned to recall 167,000 faulty units.

The rifle’s manufacturer, Heckler & Koch Company rejected the experts’ criticism though and threatened to sue the government.

The G36 was designed in the early 1990s by Heckler & Koch Company (HK). It was intended to replace the ageing G3 rifle in service with the Bundeswehr.

In April 2012, reports surfaced that G36 rifles used in Afghanistan would overheat during prolonged firefights after several hundred rounds were fired.

Overheating affected the accuracy of the G36, making it difficult to hit targets past 100 meters, ineffective past 200 meters, and incapable of effective fire past 300 meters. The G36 has been called unsuitable for long battles.

HK said the rifle was not designed for sustained, continuous fire.

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Anger as Merkel Sells German Sub to Israel Without Consulting EU

 

Germany’s Federal Security Council has approved the export of a fifth submarine to Israel.

It’s the penultimate submarine promised to Israel by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and will be handed over by the company Thyssen Krupp.

Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper revealed the approval, citing the Federal Security Council’s report to the parliamentary Economics Committee.

Germany’s Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft (HDW) builds the new Air Independent Propulsion Dolphins and the decision to sell them has been criticized for two reasons. One, in that German taxpayers are shouldering a third of the cost.

Secondly, the vessels are reportedly capable of being equipped with nuclear weapons.

Peter Roberts is an expert in sea power and naval weapons systems at the Royal United Services Institute in London and told Sputnik News that Israel will want to produce and develop nuclear capability on the new submarines.

“That’s the long term aspiration”, says Roberts. “But does it have it right now? No.”

“These are new batch of submarines that Israel is receiving which have a markedly increased capability on what they’d had previously in terms of range, covertness and ability to reach different parts of the world then they had previously been able to do.”

Roberts adds that the submarines have the capability to become nuclear armed, “but probably not right now.”

“Several hurdles have to be overcome before it can be armed with a nuclear warhead.”

He explains that the key to being able to arm the submarines with nuclear weapons is down to the delivery mechanism.

“The Israelis rely on the fact they could fire the Popeye submarine missile — a system that the Americans successfully launched in 2002. But traditionally the Israelis only keep the Harpoon anti-ship missile.”

 

“These are the first submarines that will be able to fire this missile, the size of the torpedo tubes allow it to be fired, they have a bigger tubes for bigger missiles.

“The submarines would have the ability to launch them [missiles] — it’s the weapon itself that is the critical part and developing that weapon and navigation system for the guidance from within a submerged submarine is a further challenge.”

Peter Roberts says it’s difficult to say whether the submarines are distinctly designed for nuclear weapons.

“The Israelis will want to add this to their golf bag of capability which will give them huge resilience in their nuclear forces — but they’re not there yet.”

According to an article written by Anthony Bellchambers for Global Research, the Dolphin Class nuclear powered submarines “that have already been converted by the Israeli navy to being armed with ICB nuclear missiles…has given the Israeli state ‘deep sea dominance’ that is now virtually irreversible.”

Adding that German Chancellor Merkel agreed to supply Israel with the vessels “without any prior consultation with the EU.”

A recent report titled ‘German Submarines — Capabilities and Potential’, written by Captain Raimund Wallner, and published by the Royal United Services Institute in London, says:

“To sum up, one may say that due to their characteristics of compactness, covertness, sustainability and high combat power, submarines made in Germany are already able to meet the majority of the demands which today’s and future scenarios pose to underwater platforms.

“They do have their price, but they extend the maritime capability spectrum of the Bundeswehr in a unique way, and thus the military options in the hands of the political leaders…

“And it is no exaggeration to claim that the German Navy today disposes of nothing less than the best non-nuclear submarines in the world.”

Newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung also reported that Germany’s Federal Security Council has consented to the export of six sonar systems to India that can be used to detect submarines and torpedoes. Spare parts to produce small-caliber ammunition have also been sent. The council also approved the delivery of 336 unarmed military trucks to Algeria.

Germany to Put 100 Mothballed Tanks Back Into Service

A Leopard 2 tank is pictured during a demonstration event held for the media by the German Bundeswehr in Munster near Hannover, Germany. (File)

The German military plans to bring 100 mothballed tanks back into service amid speculation the move is in response to increased demands from the Ukraine crisis.

 

Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said Friday that the military will pay 22 million euros to buy back the Leopard 2 main battle tanks from the defense industry, which has kept them in storage, The Associated Press reported Friday.The modernization of the Leopard 2 fleet is scheduled to start in 2017.

“The ministry has decided to raise the upper limit for the future to 328,” Flosdorff told a government news conference, confirming a report by German magazine Spiegel.

The decision to equip the Bundeswehr with a maximum 328 tanks nearly reverses a four-year-old decision to cut the total from 350 to 225.

The announcement came as NATO attempts to increase the response time of its 5,000-strong rapid reaction force amid the ongoing crisis in eastern Ukraine.