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.