Infantry Weapons

Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher unveil RS556 assault rifle

05 January 2017

Rheinmetall and Steyr Mannlicher have partnered to offer the RS556 assault rifle in 5.56 x 45 mm to the Bundeswehr as a potential replacement for the service's G36 standard issue rifle.

The RS556 (RS stands for Rheinmetall Steyr in 5.56 mm calibre) is a derivative of the AR-15 and a variant of Steyr's STM556 rifle, which was announced in 2012 and manufactured since May 2016.

The RS556 uses a short-stroke gas piston system, driving an operating rod to force the bolt carrier to the rear, and is locked by a rotating bolt.

The upper and lower receivers are made from aluminum, strengthened with steel bolt carrier guides to prevent the bolt tilting. The fire selector, magazine catch, and bolt catch are located on both sides of the weapon to support right and left handed shooters. The RS556 is equipped with a seven-position telescopic polymer butt-stock.

The rifle will be offered in a variety of barrel lengths, with the standard issue featuring a 406 mm barrel. (Steyr Mannlicher)The rifle will be offered in a variety of barrel lengths, with the standard issue featuring a 406 mm barrel. (Steyr Mannlicher)

The rifle features a cold-hammered, chrome-lined quick-change barrel, which can be exchanged without tools by the shooter in just a few seconds - a design based on the Steyr AUG bullpup rifle. The barrel and all steel parts are Mannox coated.

A four-position gas regulator is featured with settings for normal use, heavy use, suppressor, and gas off.

The RS556 will be offered with a variety of barrel lengths from 293 mm and 330 mm (personal defence weapon); 370 mm (carbine); 406 mm and 455 mm (rifle); and 505 mm and 550 mm (designated marksman). Other barrel lengths can also be implemented.

It is planned to offer the RS556 in other calibres, such as 7.62x35 mm (300 BLK), .300 Whisper, and 7.62x39 mm, and with a "heavy duty" barrel for use with hard core ammunition.

The RS556 features a modular upper receiver with NATO Accessory Rails (NARs) in the 12 and six hour positions, and optional accessory rails that can be located on the handguard sides.

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