By David Crane
defrev (at) gmail (dot) com
June 27, 2011
Shooting Illustrated associate editor Ed Friedman sent DefenseReview (DR) a heads-up on their latest blurb on the SCAR program, which contains a message from FNH USA’s Military Operations VP Mark Cherpes as follows:
“In the early stages (presolicitation) of the SCAR program, the draft requirement defined a single weapon platform capable of adapting to multiple calibers (i.e. 5.56×45 mm, 7.62×51 mm, and 7.62×39 mm). FN had proposed and offered a single-platform system to USSOCOM that would adapt via conversion kit to SOF current and future ammunition. During the requirements finalization phase, the SOF operators took the decision that the weapon should be split in two platforms, one gun for 5.56 and a second gun for 7.62. The reason this decision was made at the time is that the SOF operators did not like the fact that the 5.56 base platform would have an increase in weight over the M4. The weight difference between the MK 16 Standard and the SCAR H Standard is about half a pound. Upon completion of the developmental test (DT), the operation test (OT), and the full Fielding and Deployment Release (FDR) authorization, AKA Milestone C, a new group of operators reversed that initial decision and said that they wanted to move back to the original spirit of the program: a single weapon platform capable of converting between 7.62 and 5.56.
Basically, to accomplish a multi-caliber system requires that we develop the gun on the basis of the largest caliber and then scale down the conversion kit to go to a smaller caliber. The MK 17 receiver is a little larger to accommodate the 7.62×51 mm ammunition. It is not possible to scale up a smaller receiver to accept 7.62 ammunition, thus the MK 17 was chosen as the base platform. This was almost seven years after the initial decision to split the platform and a new group of operators had rotated into the SCAR program effort. FN finalized the 5.56 conversion kit in late 2010 and it has passed all DT and OT testing, and an initial delivery order has been placed for the conversion kit.”
To which I, your humble correspondent, commented:
“A MK17 SCAR-H multi-caliber “common receiver” has actually been under development for several years. I first wrote about this in my 2008 “Combat Tactics” article on the SCAR program. It was just a matter of time.
The problem with SCAR is that when you swap barrels, even within the same caliber, you have to re-zero your optics, no matter what they tell you. This is why I personally prefer the Colt CM901 AR-format rifle/carbine/SBR, which is truly modular in the sense that when [you] swap uppers (upper receivers), you can have your optics already pre-zero’d to them, so it’s swap-and-go. No re-zeroing required.
All the SOF assaulters/operators I’ve spoken with prefer swapping the whole upper with pre-zero’d optics as one unit.”
While Defense Review prefers the Colt CM901/SP901 modular, multi-caliber AR platform with universal lower receiver concept, Defense Review still likes the FN MK17 SCAR-H (SCAR-Heavy) and its multi-caliber upper receiver/semi-quick-change barrel concept, provided the MK-17’s relatively thin extruded aluminum receiver and thin-profile barrel can hold up to both the 7.62x51mm (7.62mm NATO)/.308 Win. caliber at high round count and adverse combat envirornments, which has yet to be proven. The FN MK-17 SCAR-Heavy may indeed have some legs with SOF forces and SOCOM procurement, and competition between the MK17 and CM901 is a healthy thing. Let the best gun/weapons platform win.
Company Contact Info:
FN Herstal USA (FNH USA) Military Operations
PO Box 896
McLean, VA 22101
E-Mail: [email protected]
FNH USA Military Training Operations
Hat Tip: Shooting Illustrated
© Copyright 2011 DefenseReview.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without receiving permission and providing proper credit and appropriate links.
DR Action Video! More FN SCAR PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) Prototype Live Fire Videos: Left-Side View Shows Reciprocating Charging Handle Cycling Back and Forth
DR Exclusive Video: FN SCAR PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) Prototype 5.56mm NATO Assault SBR Fired on Full-Auto at NDIA Infantry Small Arms Systems Symposium 2011 Range Day Shoot!
FN SCAR PDW (Personal Defense Weapon) Compact Select-Fire 5.56mm NATO SBR for Special Operations Forces (SOF) Applications: DR Handles the Weapon at SOFIC 2011 and NDIA Small Arms Symposium 2011 (Photos!)
Falcon Security Group (FSG) Demonstrates FERFRANS HVLAR (High Volume Light Automatic Rifle) Lightweight Mag-Fed Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR)-Type Piston/Op-Rod AR Carbine: Who needs an FN M249 SAW Belt-Fed Light Machine Gun? (Video!)
FN SCAR Weapons Program Status Update, and Special Operations Forces (SOF) Mk-16 SCAR-L 5.56mm NATO Assault Rifle/Carbine/SBR Combat Optics and Tactical Accessories Setup (Photo!)
DR Exclusive First Look!: SCAR Who? Meet the Colt Modular Carbine (CMC) Model CM901 Multi-Caliber 7.62mm NATO Battle Rifle / 5.56mm NATO Assault Rifle for U.S. Military Special Operations Forces (SOF) and General Infantry Forces (GIF). DefenseReview (DR) Reports (Photos and Video!)
FN HAMR (Heat Adaptive Modular Rifle) Introduced at AUSA 2010: FN SCAR Meets IAR (Infantry Automatic Rifle). FN MK16 SCAR-L goes open-bolt for sustained full-auto fire capability.
Can the FN MK17 SCAR-H (SCAR-Heavy) 7.62mm Common Receiver and 5.56mm Caliber Conversion Kit Save the SCAR Program?
SOCOM Cancels FN Mk-16 SCAR-L (SCAR-Light) 5.56mm NATO Rifle/Carbine/SBR Weapons Program. Will the FN Mk-17 SCAR-H (SCAR-Heavy) 7.62mm NATO Variant Survive? Only the Shadow Knows.
The Big M4 Myth: “Fouling caused by the direct impingement gas system makes the M4/M4A1 Carbine unreliable.”
Are the FN SCAR Weapons (MK16 and MK17) Necessary? And do we really need to replace the Colt M4/M4A1 Carbine?
DefRev Exlusive: FN SCAR Update: NAVSEA/NSWC-Crane Division and FNH Tri-Folds