US SOCOM Approves FN SCAR for Full Production

17 Aug

After news of it’s cancellation on June 28 (and a July 1 press release from FNH USA defending the SCAR MK16 and MK17 and then a July 7 release from FN Herstal refuting the cancellation), FNH USA announced yesterday the FN SCAR family of weapons (including the MK16, MK17 and MK13 grenade launcher) have been approved by US SOCOM to go into full production.

So can we assume this really only applies to the MK17 and MK13 when we consider reports that US SOCOM has decided not to purchase the MK16? I posted an excerpt below on yesterday’s release from Military.com. Be sure to read through the reader comments at the Military.com link for additional perspectives.

The company says it has “ramped up production and assembly at its manufacturing facilities to meet the delivery orders placed by USSOCOM.” I shot a note to their spokesperson asking for clarification on this, but haven’t gotten a response yet. How much has it “ramped up” and what are SOCOM’s orders?

Again, as we wrote exhaustively about in June, SOCOM has decided not to purchase the Mk-16. So how much the company is “ramping up” for a relatively limited buy of Mk-17s and Mk-13s is unclear.

The full press release on the announcement from FNH is below.

—————————————————————————————————-

FN SCAR™ systems approved for full-rate production

McLean, VA, The U.S. Special Operations Command notified FN that the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) family of weapons—the MK 16 (5.56mm) and MK 17 (7.62mm) combat assault rifles and MK 13 grenade launcher—was approved for full-rate production. The Full-Rate Production Decision Review by the Milestone Decision Authority occurred on July 30, 2010.

FN Herstal, a worldwide recognized firearms supplier to generations of soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines since 1897, has ramped up production and assembly at its manufacturing facilities to meet the delivery orders placed by USSOCOM.

Following a worldwide solicitation to the firearms industry in 2004, nine vendors submitted a dozen designs for a new modular, multi-caliber weapons system. In November 2004, FNH was awarded the contract by USSOCOM for its SCAR submission after passing the Go/No-Go criteria required by the solicitation and being selected by a source selection board composed of senior operators from every SOF component.

The SCAR weapons system is modular and easily adaptable to future enhancements and calibers. It is built with an eye to careful economic stewardship and the small logistical footprint required of today’s highly mobile military. Overall life cycle costs are reduced by features such as a chrome-lined, hammer forged steel barrel with a service life of far more than 15,000+ rounds. Each component of the SCAR weapons system is built for years of dependable service while minimizing maintenance downtime.

The heart of the FN SCAR system consists of two highly adaptable modular rifle platforms and a grenade launcher. Type-designated as the MK 16 and the MK 17, both rifles are available with three different barrel lengths optimized for conducting operations in close-quarters combat, standard infantry and longer-range precision fire roles. All SCAR barrels are tightly attached to a monolithic receiver and can be easily interchanged by the operator in minutes to instantly meet virtually any mission requirement. The MK 13 40mm Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module (EGLM) easily mounts under the barrel of either SCAR platform, providing another useful tool for the warfighter and is easily configured for use as a stand-alone weapon as well. Because of the SCAR system’s modular design, ergonomic (100%) and parts commonality (greater than 80%), it represents a significant reduction in training costs and life-cycle support. The weapon system’s open architecture supports future enhancements and modifications in operational requirements including ammunition, aiming devices, sighting systems and other mission critical equipment.

The MK 17 (7.62mm) is also the base of the SCAR common receiver currently under final test and evaluation by USSOCOM. The SCAR common receiver can accommodate multi-caliber conversion kits.

The SCAR weapons system is the first new assault rifle procured by the U.S. Military through a full and open competition since the M16 trials held in the mid-1960s. It was tested for reliability, accuracy, safety and ergonomics from August 2005 to September 2008 in a variety of environments including urban, maritime, jungle and winter/mountain operational test scenarios. The SCAR weapons system successfully endured more than two million rounds of ammunition during these trials thereby making it the most heavily tested weapons system in the history of small arms. No other current so-called modular weapons system has endured even a fraction of this degree of strenuous testing, and none are in use by U.S. forces.

FN firearms manufactured in the United States are produced by FN Manufacturing in Columbia, SC. The Herstal Group is represented by FNH USA, FN Manufacturing and Browning within the United States and directly employs more than 1,000 individuals. U.S. operations are located in Virginia, South Carolina, Utah and Missouri. FNH USA is the sales and marketing arm of FN. Its corporate mission is to expand the company’s global leadership position in defense, law enforcement and commercial markets by delivering superior products and the finest in training and logistical support. For more information, or to view the entire line of FN products, visit http://www.fnhusa.com. FNH USA, LLC, P.O. Box 697, McLean, VA 22101 USA.

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