by David Crane
This just in: DefenseReview has been told by one of its sources that FN Herstal’s/FNH USA, Inc.’s SCAR/SOFCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) program competition winner utilizes an updated/upgraded FN FNC upper receiver w/M1913 Picatinny rail system, mated to a modified M4/M4A1 Carbine-config/type lower receiver. Supposedly, the M4/M4A1 Carbine-config/type lower features an HK M4 (a.k.a. HKM4) carbine-style flared mag well (magazine well). At this point, this information is unconfirmed/unverified. In other words, it’s just a rumor, at present, albeit from a trusted source.
If the the above information proves to be true, however, it makes some sense. The FN FNC assault rifle and its Swedish cousin, the AK-5/CGA5 assault rifle (manufactured under license by Saab Bofors), represent a proven system that’s known to be reliable under adverse conditions, from jungle, to desert, to arctic environments. This is because the FN FNC and AK5/CGA5 are based on the AK-47/AKM (Kalashnikov) operating system, which can handle dirt, mud, sand, etc., no problem. The only negative DefRev’s ever heard about the FN FNC is that the firing pin tends to break prematurely, but this problem can be easily corrected.
This story is still developing, as new information continues to come in. The reason everything is rumors and innuendos right now is because SOCOM and FN Herstal/FNH USA, Inc. (under orders from SOCOM) are both…
extremely tight-lipped a about the FN SCAR/SOFCAR winning candidate. They’re simply not talking–to anyone.
So, while we wait for an update and a pic of the FN SCAR/SOFCAR (Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle) program winning candidate, the following is an email message that DefenseReview received yesterday regarding the ATK/HK XM8 and FN SCAR/SOFCAR program candidate/winner:
Sent: Friday, November 26, 2004 9:45 AM
To: David Crane
Subject: Re: FN SOF SCAR Candidate.
"David, Yes. Here is what I received. There is no info as to which Times this is, but it’s a copy of the actual article. However, there are two by the same guy, one referring to the XM8 reporting that the Army wants to see if other arms makers can match H&K’s new XM8, a prototype now being tested to replace the M16. It quotes Col. Michael Smith, head of Project Manager Soldier Weapons which is testing the XM8.
It goes on to quote that the XM8 is easier to operate, lighter and more reliable, and that late last summer the Army began testing a second generation XM8 prototype that has more than a dozen soldier-inspired refinements Smith hopes will help them convince the Army to adopt it.
However, it goes on to quote Smith that before this can happen, other small arms companies must be given a chance to match the Army’s requirements (except for the Special Ops who have already selected an alternative to their "unique and compelling requirement")….
It then goes into requirements of hitting targets at different ranges, types of rifles required & etc."
The message goes on to read…
"The second story is as follows exactly as it was written:
Army Special Operations Troops to get new rifle
by Matthew Cox
Times staff writer
Special operators will soon take a new rifle into battle. The U.S. Special Operations Command has awarded FN Herstal USA, Inc., a contract to produce SOF Combat Assault Rifles, or SCAR, for its elite forces. (While the rest of the Army has selected the M-8 from Heckler & Koch. I am sure the marines can find a "unique and compelling requirement for a third alternative. McD).
"We are pleased to announce that FN has been officially informed that our SCAR prototype has been selected from a field of competitors through a full and open competition by the U.S. Special Operations Command," Paul Evancoe who is our Director for Military operations at FNH USA, stated in a written release announcing the contract.
SOCOM, which currently uses the M4 Modular Weapon System, put out a request for proposal to arms makers in the spring for a modular weapon system consisting of two rifles – the SCAR light in 5.56mm and the SCAR Heavy in 7.62mm and an Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module a 40mm grenade launcher with a fire control system.
In the request, the grenade launcher would have to work with both rifles and as a stand alone weapon.
The Nov. 5 contract award, which is known as an indefinite delivery-indefinite quantity agreement, is funded for fiscal 2005, according to FNH USA officials who would not comment on the dollar amount of the contract.
The company offered little information about the SCAR except that "It is designed around a very rugged and reliable short stroke gas operated system with a rigid metal receiver …that provides exceptional accuracy," Evancoe stated in the release."
The message ends with…
The above was contained in the fax I received as two separate articles. I just took highlights from the first. The date on both is Nov. 12, 2004. I’ll get you more when I can."
End of (email) message.
For background, here’s the original PRESOL (Presolicitation) Notice "Description" for the USSOCOM SCAR/SOFCAR (SOF Combat Assault Rifle) requirement (as it originally read):
"The United States Special Operations Command is issuing a solicitation for the procurement of SOF Combat Assault Rifles (SCAR). The program will use full and open competition to fulfill the joint USSOCOM SCAR requirement. The SCAR will be developed in two threshold configurations, a SCAR-Light (SCAR-L, 5.56x45mm) and a SCAR-Heavy (SCAR-H, 7.62x51mm) with the SCAR-L being the priority.
Both the SCAR-L and H will possess the capability for barrel modularity and thus will be available in the following variants: Standard (S), Close Quarters Combat (CQC) and Sniper Variant (SV). The SV can be a modular enhancement or a separate weapon. The barrel modularity can be accomplished via complete upper receiver changes or just the barrel. The SCAR-L shall be optimized for 5.56x45mm and thus shall use an enhanced 5.56mm magazine. The SCAR-H will provide an open architecture design to accommodate changing calibers from the standard 7.62x51mm. The initial caliber change is projected as the 7.62x39mm.
The ergonomic and parts commonality between the SCAR-L and H shall be maximized to create a family of SCAR weapons. This commonality is essential for training time reduction, enhancing mission effectiveness, and improving the SOF operator’s ingrained operational and emergency procedure autonomic responses that are critical during high stress situations. The SCAR system will be rugged, highly reliable, controllable in full automatic fire, have no unsafe failure modes, be highly ergonomic, corrosion proof (objective)/resistant (threshold), capable of lube-less firing (objective)/minimal lube firing (threshold), and capable of being operated and maintained by a single man.
The SCAR-L with stock collapsed or folded shall not exceed lengths of 29.9"/33.6" extended with standard barrel. The SCAR-L shall weigh no more than 7.25 lbs unloaded. The SCAR-H shall be collapsible or foldable to lengths not greater than similar configurations of currently available 7.62mm battle rifles (30.3" folded/40.2" extended with standard barrel). The SCAR-H shall weigh no more than 9 lbs.
The following are the Key Performance Parameters for the SCAR: Adaptability, Modular/Family of Weapons, Reliability and Accuracy. The SCAR barrels/caliber will be readily exchanged at operator level, without head space/timing adjustments, within 20 minutes, threshold (T), 5 minutes objective (O). The SCAR-L and H, in threshold caliber configurations (5.56mm NATO and 7.62mm NATO) with M855 and M80 ball ammunition respectively (T), spirally developed/alternate caliber configurations (O), shall have a Mean Round Between Stoppages (MRBS) of 2,000 rounds (T), 8,000 rounds (O). The SCAR-L and H, in threshold caliber configurations (T), spirally developed/ alternate caliber configurations (O), shall have a Mean Round Between Failure (MRBF) of 15,000 rounds (T), 35,000 rounds (O). The SCAR-L and H, in threshold caliber configuration/ball ammunition (T), spirally developed/alternate caliber configurations (O), will have a fully functional service life without overhaul for a minimum of 15,000 rounds (T), 90,000 rounds (O) for the weapon and 15,000 rounds (T), 35,000 rounds (O) for the barrel. The SCAR, in threshold configuration (T) and all caliber/barrel configurations (O), will not add more than 1.0 MOA at 300 meters (T), .25 MOA at 300 meters (O) to baseline (M855, MK262, M80, M118) ammunition performance.
The SCAR shall also be compatible with the SOPMOD Accessory Kit components via MIL-STD 1913 rails. It is envisioned that the SCAR weapons will be available with a sling, bipod, forward handgrip, blank firing capability and an operator’s manual. Offerors will be required to provide product sample SCAR-Ls as part of the proposal. The product samples will consist of 3 each SCAR-L rifles with standard barrels, 1 each CQC conversion and a SCAR-H technical approach.
After evaluation, the government will have the flexibility to award multiple contracts for follow-on test/evaluation quantities. The contract type will be an eight-year, Firm-Fixed Price Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (IDIQ). The minimum quantity is projected to be 12 each SCAR-L Engineering Test Units with standard length barrels, 6 SCAR-L CQC conversions, 1 each SCAR-L Sniper Variant and 1 each SCAR-H standard.
The government will conduct an evaluation of the test units that may result in subsequent delivery orders for the SCAR family of weapons. The contract(s) minimum quantities are delineated above. The contract(s) maximums are 84,000 SCAR-L Standard; 28,000 SCAR-L CQC conversions; 12,000 SCAR-L SV; 15,000 SCAR-H Standard; 7,000 SCAR-H CQC conversions; and 12,000 SCAR-H SV. The contract will contain a Provisioning Item Order (PIO) contract line item number (CLIN) of $10,000,000 for both the SCAR-L and SCAR-H. The contract will also contain a CLIN for Engineering Services for product improvement/caliber modularity development for a not to exceed amount of $4,000,000. The contract will also contain CLINs for magazines and tool and gage kits for both the SCAR-L and SCAR-H. The contract will also have provisions for ordering technical data. The contract is F.O.B. Destination (NAVSEA Crane – Crane IN).
For the minimum quantities delineated above the delivery is required 180 days after order. Subsequent deliveries of the SCAR-L will require deliveries to commence 90 days after order. The delivery schedule for the SCAR-H is 180 days after order for the first deliveries and once in production will be 90 days after order. The ordering parameters (quantities) for all SCAR variants and magazines are a minimum quantity of 10/ea and a maximum quantity of 20,000/ea. The maximum monthly delivery rate is 2,000/ea for the SCAR L weapon type and 500 per month for the SCAR H weapon type. The solicitation will require delivery of 3/ea SCAR-L (5.56x45mm) product samples; 1/ea SCAR-L CQC conversion and a SCAR-H approach included in the concise technical proposal by the closing date of the proposal.
The solicitation will be evaluated on a best value basis and the Government will reserve the right to award to other than the lowest priced offeror and other than the highest technically rated offeror. The SCAR L product samples are not required to meet the specification in its entirety. The technical proposal shall address any differences between the product samples and the production units; must address any known deficiencies where the product samples do not meet the specification; and shall have a separate section addressing the vendor?s SCAR-H approach. The Government cannot guarantee the condition of the product samples after testing. All responsible sources may submit a proposal, which shall be considered by the agency.
All offerors are responsible for monitoring the Federal Business Opportunities website at http://fedbizopps.gov/ for release of the upcoming solicitation and any notices. Any questions may be directed in writing, to the following: email@example.com or via facsimile to the attention of Mr. John Pfender at (812) 854-5198."
Original Point(s) of Contact:
POC Susan Griffin, Contracting Officer, Phone 813-828-7411, Fax 813-828-7504, – Susan Griffin, Contracting Officer, Phone 813-828-7411, Fax 813-828-7504 – POC John Pfender, Contract Specialist, Phone 812-854-5198, Fax 812-854-5095, firstname.lastname@example.org- Jessica Tucker, Contract Specialist, Phone 813-828-7334, Fax 813-828-7504, email@example.com.
Place of Performance:
Click here to read a StrategyPage.com page that includes information about SCAR/SOFCAR