Tag Archives: SCAR

Army wants soldiers to have improved carbine

7 Sep

The Army Times published an article recently about the Army’s “dual strategy [for]…… a more accurate, durable and lethal weapon that will be the mainstay for the next 40 years.”

The article describes a two part strategy: 1. overhaul the current M4 platform and 2. Simultaneously begin looking for a new carbine that can outperform the M4.

M4 Overhaul: An overhaul of the M4 platform is planned to occur in 3 phases outlined below:

  • Phase 1: To begin immediately, distribute what is essentially an improved M4A1 carbine (heavier barrel and full auto capability) to all troops. Would include ambidextrous controls and an improved magazine design for better reliability.
  • Phase 2: Beginning Fall 2010, host an open competition for a new bolt assembly and/or different materials or coatings to enhance the bolt life. Also calls for a strengthening of the forward rail assembly on top of the receiver, possibly with a free floating rail.
  • Phase 3: To begin in about 18 months (which would be March 2012), improve the gas system by allowing less gas and dirt in or replacing it with a a piston! (yes folks, a piston M4!).

The next carbine: The Army’s open, industrywide Individual Carbine Competition was approved Aug. 4 by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council. Here are a few highlights of the Army’s carbine request:

  • No caliber restriction has been placed on a new design.
  • It will be at least a 500-meter weapon.
  • This weapon will be modular and able to carry all the existing attachments soldiers use.
  • It can have a gas or piston system.
  • Interchangeable barrel sizes, such as those seen in the SCAR, are not required but certainly won’t be a negative thing.

A draft request for proposals (RFP) will go out late this year (2010) with the official RFP to go out early in 2011. Manufacturers will then have a few months to respond with their proposed weapons. After that a period of function and durability testing will begin and last for 12-18 months.

So it could be 2013 or later until we see a new carbine, if the project doesn’t get delayed or cancelled…..

For more information, be sure to check out the full article in the Army Times.

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FN Admits US SOCOM Not Buying SCAR MK16

20 Aug

As reported on the Firearm Blog, Gabe Bailey (Marketing Director, Combat Rifles, FNH USA) admitted on M4Carbine.net that US SOCOM does not plan to buy the MK16 combat rifle:

You are correct and I am not hiding any facts. And, as the main customer has stated, they do not plan to buy the MK 16…in my humble opinion, this has nothing to do with performance but rather smartly-weighed budget decisions.

Performance fact: As I previously noted, the MK 16 (and MK17, MK 13) met all requirements. Those requirements ARE well above and beyond the weapon(s) it is intended to replace. Neither the MK 16 weapon nor the program were ever cancelled as we all have come to realize through factual evidence (MS C & FRP).

Thanks for participating.

Sincerely,
Gabe

As reported previously on Military.Com, the MK17 could well serve as a common receiver platform for both 5.56 and 7.62. Doing so would eliminate any issues with parts commonality between platforms which makes a lot of sense, although there already was a pretty high degree of commonality of parts between the MK16 and MK17.

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.

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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.

More on the SOCOM SCAR Saga….

23 Jul

It’s hard to keep up with the “he said, she said” debate that is going on around the SOCOM SCAR program these days. But a recent post over at DefenseReview.com discusses using the FN MK-17 SCAR-H (heavy) as a common receiver able to interchange with a 5.56 conversion kit. It’s a good article with lots of related info and links.