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The German armed forces are replacing their assault rifles. Two companies, Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher, have joined forces to manufacture and market the RS556 modular assault rifle.

This German-Austrian cooperation project adds a key item to Rheinmetall’s growing array of infantry products, according to a statement on Rheinmetall’s website,

The RS556 is based on the STM556, which Steyr Mannlicher first unveiled in 2012. Outstanding modularity characterizes this easy-to-use, future-proof 5.56mm x 45 cal. weapon.

The two companies are offering the RS556 assault rifle as a jointly produced product, made in Germany. This innovative weapon is a possible candidate for the new German armed forces intention to replace their standard G36 assault rifle with a more advanced system starting in 2019.

The RS556 project underscores both companies’ commitment to supplying military and security services around the globe with reliable, future-proof, state-of-the-art systems and equipment.

Featuring an adjustable short-stroke gas piston system and rotating bolt, the gas-operated RS556 is based on the tried-and-tested Steyr Mannlicher AUG, or Universal Army Rifle, a design concept that has proven itself in decades of service on every continent.

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. This means that the RS556 can be readily modified for various missions.

A number of standard barrel lengths are available; 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 standards. 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.