By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
All photos contained in this article are copyrighted by DefenseReview.com (DR) and the photographer.
December 16, 2010
Updated on 1/08/11
DefenseReview (DR) recently contacted USSOCOM Public Affairs Media Relations Officer, Major Wes Ticer, USAF, and requested a status update on the SCAR (Special operations forces Combat Assault Rifle) program. Major Ticer graciously replied to our inquiry with the following information (slightly edited for readability):
Here is an update for you:
After completing testing, US Special Operations Command decided to procure the 7.62 mm Mk 17 rifle, the 40mm Mk 13 grenade launche and the Mk 20 Sniper Support rifle [SSR] variants of the Combat Assault Rifle (CAR) manufactured by FN Herstal for Special Operations Forces. The command will not purchase the 5.56mm Mk 16. All variants have been approved for full rate production.
The Mk 17 will fill an existing capability gap for a 7.62 mm rifle. The Mk 16 does not provide enough of a performance advantage over the M4 to justify spending limited USSOCOM funds when competing priorities are taken into consideration. Three of USSOCOM’s components currently receive the M4 from their parent service as a service-common piece of equipment.
The objective of the SCAR program was to develop a single weapon capable of complete caliber modularity. USSOCOM will complete development of a conversion kit that allows the operator to fire either 7.62mm or 5.56mm ammunition from the Mk 17 which meets the objective of the program. The system was designed and manufactured especially for special operators to replace the M4, Mk11, Mk12 and M14.
USSOCOM’s FY11 budget submission includes $3 million for SCAR variants. USSOCOM will use the existing contract with the manufacturer to procure the weapons. USSOCOM is in the process of determining the exact quantities of the Mk 17, Mk 13 and Mk 20 variants that will be
Approximately $19 million has been spent on research, development, and procurement of CAR variants. Included in that figure are the low rate initial production weapons purchased: approx 850 Mk 16 and 750 Mk 17.
Wes Ticer, Major, USAF
Media Relations Officer
USSOCOM Public Affairs”
Defense Review is curious about the compatibility between the FN Mk16 SCAR-L (SCAR-Light) assault rifle/carbine/SBR and the new SureFire MAG5-60 HCM (High-Capacity Magazine) 4179 STANAG 60-round 5.56mm NATO AR rifle mag (AR-15 rifle magazine) and Lancer L5 AWG (Advanced Warfighter Magazine) Translucent Polymer 30-Round AR rifle mag (4179 STANAG) with regard to insertion/seating and drop-free aspects. One of our U.S. military SOF contacts, the same contact who supplied the (sterilized) photo above, wrote the following to DR about an FN Mk-16 SCAR-L magwell issue (edited for readability):
Magwell on the SCAR Light is too tight. Mags don’t drop free. You have to pull them out like an AK [mag]. This totally negates the Ambi-M4 style mag release since you have to pull the mags out anyways.
DR hopes that FN has either already addressed this issue, or at least plans to address it on the FN SCAR 5.56mm trigger module/lower receiver module when they go into production on the SCAR common receiver/universal receiver upper receiver.
Our SOF contact also wrote the following (edited for readability) about the Predator Tactical / Matt Burkett Offset Sight Mount GEN 2 (pictured) and FN SCAR Mk16 bore axis height:
Offset mounts were created from 3-gun [competition], but are not really known in tactical worlds. Dual Optics like Jpoints mounted on ACOGS (current issue is ELCAN with JPoint on top) are not new to SF [U.S. Army Special Forces]. Problem with SCAR is the bore-to-optic [height/distance] is way greater with the SCAR. Jpoint on a Elcan is 5-inch [5"] hold-off at room distance (way too much to be practical). I put it on my SCAR. It is 1.7 inches off the bore. Most guys who I have showed it to so far who aren’t into 3-gun have no clue how to use it. These are Army SF dudes,,Im going to start a new trend. I also talked to PRI [Precision Reflex Inc.] and SAMSON [Samson Manufacturing Corporation] at the expo my guess if we go SCAR, we will need a whole new line of optics mounts. All the current AR-based ones are too high. Yes, the butstock on the SCAR adjusts for good eye relief, but again the bore-to-optic offset is way too much. To get a 200-meter point of aim/point of impact with the SCAR and a Eotech, it gives you a 4-inch [4"] hold-off at 25 meters. M4 [Colt M4A1 Carbine] is just at 2 inches.
Pictured above is a U.S. military-operational FN Mk-16 SCAR-L 5.56x45mm NATO (5.56mm NATO)/.223 Rem. assault rifle/carbine/SBR (Short Barreled Rifle) set up with some of the “latest and greatest” combat optics and tactical rifle accessories currently available. Click on the (sterilized) photo above to view it full-size. The above (sterilized) photo was sent to us by one of our Special Operations Forces (SOF) contacts. The weapon is outfitted with the following optics and accessories:
- AAC Blackout Open-Prong Flash Hider (Flash Suppressor)
- Raytheon ELCAN SpecterDR 1-4x Dual Role Combat Sight (Combat Optic/Optical Gunsight) a.k.a. “dual-field-of view (DFOV) sight”. Elcan also offers the more powerful Elcan SpecterDR 1.5-6x Dual Role Combat Sight.
- Predator Tactical / Matt Burkett Offset Sight Mount GEN 2 for JP Enterprises JPoint Micro-Electronic Reflex Sight or Docter USA Docter Red Dot Sight (a.k.a. DocterSight) Mini Combat Optic
- MagPul Dynamics Angled Foregrip (AFG1) or Angled Foregrip 2 (AFG2)
- DR contributor Chen Lee (a.k.a. “SMGLee”) has identified the left-side-mounted weapon light/tactical white light as a SOCOM-specific (USSOCOM-specific) Insight Technology M3X-type unit. Part number is M3X-200-A9, while the standard on the shelf M3X is part number M3X-000-AXX, XX, so they have different part numbers. The SOCOM number is SU233/PVS, NSN: 5855-01-533-0966. This is the same as the standard M3X with regard to light output (125+ lumens) but with a different rear cap featuring a plug with the Insight dual switch, and a rotary knob switch that has a push button in it. The rotary knob can go from “Off” to Momentary to “On”. I can’t remember if it has a strobe feature, but most likely does not. The body is desert tan, and the attachment is the standard pull-down tab.
Photo Credit: U.S. Military SOF Assaulter/Operator
Company Contact Info:
FNH USA Military Training Operations
Raytheon Elcan Optical Sights and Night Vision Systems:
Product Manager, Rifle Sights
Cell: 912 655 0617
Email [email protected]
Website 1: http://www.elcan.com/Sighting_Systems
Website 2: http://elcansightingsystems.com/Specter_Family_of_Sights/Combat_Sights
Advanced Sighting System Products, USA Tel: 972-339-0422
Email: [email protected]
Product Manager, International and Homeland Security
Email: [email protected]
JP Enterprises, Inc.
P.O. Box 378
Hugo, MN 55038
[email protected] Orders and Customer Service Email
[email protected] Information and Technical Support Email
Knight’s Armament Co. (KAC)
701 Columbia Blvd
Titusville, FL 32780-7902
For Domestic Calls: 321-607-9900 ext. 1330
Foreign Sales: 321-607-9956
Military Sales Email: [email protected]
Commercial Sales Email: [email protected]
PO Box 17697
Boulder, Colorado 80308-0697
MagPul Industries Corp.
PO Box 17697
Longmont, Colorado 80308-0697
877-4MAGPUL (877-462-4785) Toll-Free Office
[email protected] Customer Service/Orders Email
[email protected] General Email
DUNS # 076925788
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