Office of Air & Marine Air Interdiction Agent J.P. checks the ELCAN SpecterDR optic on his issued FN SCAR Heavy MK17 Air Crew Rifle participating in an OAM Black Hawk helicopter mission along the U.S./ Mexico Border in Arizona.
For several years after the terrorist attacks of 9/11/01, a modified M14 rifle with a Sage stock, an EOTech optic and a PQ 14 Laser was the OAM (Office of Air and Marine) ACR (Air Crew Rifle) that was carried in harm’s way during interdiction operations, enforcement actions and air-space security missions. After using the modified M14 Air Crew Rifle for several years, the day was soon approaching when the OAM inventory of modified Vietnam-vintage M14s would have to be replaced.
Selected For Its Ability
Eventually, the decision was made to adopt the FN SCAR Heavy MK17 because this modern modular battle rifle had been thoroughly tested and eventually adopted as the official 7.62×51 caliber SCAR (Special Operations Combat Assault Rifle) for use by USSOCOM personnel. A second FN SCAR rifle known as the SCAR Light in 5.56 x 45mm caliber was also adopted by the U.S. Special Operations Command.
According to SAIA (Supervisory Air Interdiction Agent) Scott Pilon, a former USAF Special Operations Command aerial gunner and ACR instructor who is the current national program manager of the ACR and ADF (Air Disabling Fire) programs in Washington, D.C., “The Office of Air and Marine Air Crew Rifle Program exists to provide an enhanced airborne precision marksmanship capability for law enforcement operations domestically and abroad. The Office of Air and Marine identified a need for a new weapon system to support LE operations and replace the aging M14 platform. The new weapon system was required to have outstanding accuracy in all conditions, reliability, and be mission adaptable from the aircraft to dismounted operations. This transition required more than just changing the weapon system. OAM recognized the need to adopt a dual-role optic that would be capable of meeting our diverse operational requirements. The optic that met these needs was the ELCAN SpecterDR.”
OAM Tests All The Best
Even though the MK17 was “good to go” as far as USSOCOM was concerned for SOF purposes, OAM decided to conduct its own ACR T&E, to ensure their final selection from available platforms would be the best for their purpose as well. According to Aviation Enforcement Officer Todd Sager, each OAM evaluator took a turn testing various rifles including the MK17 and filled out a questionnaire that was tallied at the end of the field test. Even though some of the other rifles performed satisfactorily in many regards, the group of OAM testers selected the FN SCAR Heavy MK 17 with the 16-inch standard barrel as their new Air Crew Rifle.