Military Approves FN SCAR System for Full-Rate Production


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chieftain
August 17, 2010, 06:48 PM
For your consideration:

August 17 : 2010

Military Approves FN SCAR System for Full-Rate Production

McLean, Virginia -- The U.S. Special Operations Command notified FN that the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR) family of weapons-the MK 16 (5.56mm) and MK 17 (7.62mm) combat assault rifles and MK 13 grenade launcher-was approved for full-rate production. The Full-Rate Production Decision Review by the Milestone Decision Authority occurred on July 30, 2010.

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.

FN firearms manufactured in the United States are produced by FN Manufacturing in Columbia, SC. The Herstal Group is represented by FNH USA, FN Manufacturing and Browning within the United States and directly employs more than 1,000 individuals. U.S. operations are located in Virginia, South Carolina, Utah and Missouri. FNH USA is the sales and marketing arm of FN. Its corporate mission is to expand the company's global leadership position in defense, law enforcement and commercial markets by delivering superior products and the finest in training and logistical support. For more information, or to view the entire line of FN products, visit www.fnhusa.com. FNH USA, LLC, P.O. Box 697, McLean, VA 22101 USA.

Media Contact:
Tes Salb (703) 288-3500X125 or tess@fnhusa.com

Fred

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docnyt
August 17, 2010, 06:53 PM
Hopefully FN lowers the price for civilians.

Ragnar Danneskjold
August 17, 2010, 07:03 PM
SOCOM authorizing the rifle for their troops and "military full rate production" are not the same thing. Regular 11B and 31B soldiers aren't getting SCARs.

fireman 9731
August 18, 2010, 01:43 AM
I wonder if the dancing pony will be able to stay in business now...

nwilliams
August 18, 2010, 04:35 AM
delete

Medusa
August 18, 2010, 06:37 AM
I like the SCAR. I have had the pleasure to handle the Mk.17 with GL under it a little, when FN representatives had a presentation here. The whole deal with the GL was lighter than our main .308 cal Swedish HK G3 clone as a blank. Not to say more ergonomic and easier to use (I mean loading, working the charging handle etc. I've also understood that the SOCOM likes the .308Win cal SCAR more, since it's a more bigger improvement than .223 version over the M16/M4. Cannot comment on accuracy or reliability, as I haven't shot one that much. But I am looking forward to the instance when the FN would decide to sell SCARs in Europe too, I'd be happy with the civilian .308 model and 20' barrel, even.

TexasBill
August 18, 2010, 07:27 AM
Hopefully FN lowers the price for civilians.

Dream on: Now the price will probably get even more ridiculous. :cuss:

I think I will just be happy with my FNP-9, which I still think is one of the best 9mm pistols on the market today.

crossrhodes
August 18, 2010, 08:08 AM
That SCAR is nice! but for a range gun and safe queen it's a little to much $$$. I'll stick with the AR platform for now. My preference would be the H&K 417, but again, to much $$ for a range or a 3 gun match rifle.
I'm just wonering why Colt didn't put the gas piston rifle out, they develop it and then put it on the back burner about 3 years ago.

Tirod
August 18, 2010, 10:57 AM
Gotta ask, what is full rate production when SOCOM amounts to a few thousand soldiers? It's not like a DOD contract for 400,000 units over 5 years, with follow ups over the next 15.

Don't get too worked up over it. It's FN's announcement, and sounds more like hype and damage repair for SOCOM dropping the MK16, a decision that seems to still stand.

Don't forget, SOCOM's reasoning was 1) the MK16 doesn't do anything remarkably better than the M4, and 2) Whatever DOD issues is what their soldiers bring to shoot. SOCOM bears the expense of retraining. The Army is going through the Improved Carbine trials now, with results later. No since spending money for a potential orphan. SOCOM can wait.

Hatterasguy
August 18, 2010, 11:03 AM
Cool, now they will be even more expensive. Should have bought one sooner.

sonrider657
August 18, 2010, 11:05 AM
Not impressed.

LeonCarr
August 18, 2010, 11:17 AM
The old questions still have to be answered. What does the SCAR do that the AR15/M16/M4 doesn't do?

What makes it that much better a rifle than the current one?

Just my .02,
LeonCarr

billfrombyron
August 18, 2010, 12:21 PM
Fan boys are now stroking their rifles quietly by their self's over the triumphant news.......... J/K :neener:

But on a serious note, its too expensive for what it is in my opinion for the civilian market.

It will defiantly impress a few at a range, but for 2,500 bucks I could buy my weight in Mil Surps and feed them at the same time. :rolleyes:

I might bite at about 1K to 1400, but 2500? No way.


It seems to me not to be the penultimate answer to a question of improving battlefield survivability and firepower superiority. Yes its cool, yes its modular and yes to many it even feels good. But are those factors enough to pry the mean green away from Eugine Stoner's creation? Most likely not any time soon.

The regular army will stick with the M16 family because it works and still fulfills the role for which it was intended.


-Bill

Justin
August 18, 2010, 12:58 PM
For the cost of a civilian-legal SCAR, you could buy a JP-15, easily a much better rifle.

I've handled the SCAR, and, for the price, find it to be unimpressive.

Zerodefect
August 18, 2010, 01:44 PM
Why is the SCAR foreend so darn short? Are SOCOM guys midgets or something?

KW
August 18, 2010, 02:43 PM
The foreend is short so you can interchange a shorter barrel - 10" for the SCAR-L and 13" for the SCAR-H.

PvtPyle
August 18, 2010, 04:07 PM
They may be going into full production, (yeah, ok) but there is no money in the 2011 SOCOM budget to buy them, and the fielding for SF Groups has been postponed indefinitely. So they can make all they want, there is no money for them.

HorseSoldier
August 18, 2010, 05:44 PM
+1 what PvtPyle said. It's fully approved and basically unfunded, so it doesn't mean much when it's all said and done.

chieftain
August 18, 2010, 06:48 PM
Exactly how the M4A1 came into existence.

The SpecOps community received the M4 in drips and drabs. Then suddenly the "BIG ARMY" jumped on board.

Of course in the SpecOps community at least at one time, when they didn't have the money they needed for gear, they would "acquire" it via the intelligence community funding. Unless someone here knows "absolutely for sure". Otherwise it may still work that way.

Unlike others here, I cannot read the future. Just a couple months ago the Anti-SCAR crowd cheered that the SpecOps folks were NOT buying anymore Mk16s, just the Mk17's.

The WAG continue's to prevail.

Go figure.

Fred

nwilliams
August 18, 2010, 07:27 PM
delete

AR-15 Rep
August 18, 2010, 07:34 PM
I do not think the M4 or M-16 will go away anytime soon, however, There was some foresight for an improved weapon system. The SCAR seems to have been the answer SOCOM has found. The price will likely drop down with time just like others but since this seems to be the latest and greatest I wouldn't expect it in the near future.

KW
August 19, 2010, 07:20 PM
Does the SCAR really weigh less than an equivalent AR? FN lists their SCAR-L standard (13.8" barrel) at 7.24 lbs, while the M4 (14.5" barrel) is listed at 6.5 lbs by the US Army. The KAC RAS only weighs about 2-3oz more than the M4 handguards it replaces. Obviously different barrels, stocks etc. would have an impact but it seems that in an apples to apples comparison the AR would be lighter.

F-Body Demon
August 20, 2010, 11:27 AM
.....Posted by Leon Carr "What does the SCAR do that the AR15/M16/M4 doesn't do?".....

Answer: Fire 7.62.

In my opinion as long as we adopt a larger cartridge we will be good. I think they just need to pick up the 6.8 SPC already. It was purpose built to fit all of our M16s and M4s, all we need are new uppers. Heck I'd bet they could get by with just the barrel change and bolt change.

But what I think we REALLY need is this....

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2010/08/marine_iar_080810w/

....chambered in 6.8

UniversalFrost
September 8, 2010, 12:23 PM
F-Body

I am in total agreement with you on the 6.8, but the m27 is nothing new, just a copy of existing technology from Barret and PRI. I can't remember which developed it, but there is an open bolt AR variant that has a unique ability to accept the 249's belt fed capabilities (and existing belts and carriers),but can also take AR mags. Futureweapons did a review on it awhile back and I even saw a couple of them at one of the weapons expos back in 2005. I personally would like to have had one of those guns (in 6.5 or 6.8) with each squad back in 03, 04 or 05 when I was in the sand box.

for the common AR the change to 6.8 is simple and easy change over (like when we switched from the old 1:7 barrels to the 1:8 and 1:9 for the "newer" ammo back in the 90's on the old A1's and A2's (one of my master sergeants back at my first posting was one of the folks that got the $25k innovation and cost savings award for recommending this simple swap of barrels instead of new rifles).

anyway, to convert an AR/M4/M16 to 6.8 you need 3 things : barrel, bolt and mags (the 6.8 mags are stainless steel (to prevent bulging) and have smaller ribs internally and have a different follower. c-products mags which are cheap (and already have an NSN and are on GSA contract for the 5.56 and the 6.8) are good to go and no need to spend 3 to 5 times as much for PRI or barret mags.

I just built a 6.8 AR (search my threads for the specs and pics) as an intermediate between the FAL and Hk91 that I own in 7.62 and my other AR's in 5.56 ..

the 6.8 keeps the weight of a "battle rifle" down to AR specs versus the more heavy 7.62 guns, allows the user to have maintainable and controllable full auto fire (only in a military application) and the 6.8 has the mid range capabilities for lethality and ballistics are a good mix of 5.56 and 7.62 plus the 6.8 gives the shooters that are responsible for CQB the advantage of a round than can shoot thru obstacles (like the 7.62) but limits it's lethality to the surrounding immediate area.

also while the 7.62 is a great long range round the 6.8 loaded with hornady OTM (hollow point boat tail) are doing amazing things on bad guys in the 600yd distances in the real world right now. if the 6.8 would be carried by a majority of the folks in a squad you would open up a whole new ability and limit the need for the SDM's and their m-14's

ColdDeadHand
September 8, 2010, 12:53 PM
LeonCarr,

Short stroke piston operation is a serious improvement over the Stoner design. Think VC crawling around in mud tunnels, but their SKS doesn't stop. On the other (our) side you had M16s that had some issues with jungle conditions.

I love the SKS for its reliability. It's not accurate or far-reaching, but it is a man-stopper. The idea of putting a short-stroke piston on an accurate, high-quality rifle is an advance for our military.

I will never subscribe to the Stoner idea of routing your gas into your action. I look at that setup and always picture my truck with a hose on it to funnel my exhaust into my air intake. Doesn't take a genius to figure that might gunk something up.

Stoner fans: Please don't run me out of town. I know it's not his fault about the direct-gas thing.

crossrhodes
September 8, 2010, 01:06 PM
MK16 was granted production but it's not going into service because it ballistic ally doesn't even up to the M4 in the carbine mode, it has a shorter barrel in carbine length. The MK17 in 7.62 is the one they decided on because of it versatility. The army has ordered 12,000 upgrade kits for the
M4, heavier brrl, stronger rail system, full auto and a gas piston system. The second round will be 65,000 upgrade kits.
I found this info in the Marine Corps Times, Sept 6th addition on page 24. The Marine Corps has no plans on upgrading the M4's and will be staying with the M16A4 for ground pounders. M4's will go to tankers, air crews and motor T drivers.

mljdeckard
September 8, 2010, 01:45 PM
I agree with Ragnar. The headline is quite misleading. I don't plan on ever seeing one in my support job.

And remember, the Marine Times (as well as the sister papers,) DO NOT speak for actual DOD policy. They have a different promise every month that doesn't happen.

Bartholomew Roberts
September 8, 2010, 02:16 PM
MK16 was granted production but it's not going into service because it ballistic ally doesn't even up to the M4 in the carbine.
The army has ordered 12,000 upgrade kits for the M4, heavier brrl, stronger rail system, full auto and a gas piston system. The second round will be 65,000 upgrade kits.

Crossrhodes, you've misunderstood some key details in the M4 improvement program. The Army has 12,000 M4s on order. They have asked Colt to add the M4A1 barrel and ambi safety to these models and future models. That is it. The remainibg items are possible changes that are being considered but have not been made.

Second, the Mk16S barrel is only 1.5" shorter than the M4 barrel. In terms of ballistics, that is maybe 100fps difference in muzzle velocity. I find it difficult to believe that SOCOM ditched the Mk16S over a 100fps difference - especially when they are already using 10.3" CQBRs and 10.5" HK416s with even shorter barrels. And of course you can replace the barrel on a Mk16S in a matter of minutes. That argument is so nonsensical I am curious where you heard it?

HorseSoldier
September 9, 2010, 12:55 AM
+1 -- M4A1 parts for Big Army doesn't have anything to do with SCAR procurement for SOCOM/USASOC. The possibility that Big Army might adopt something besides the M16/M4 does enter into the equation, however.

And SCAR having a shorter barrel than the M4 in one configuration has even less to do with the story.

crossrhodes
September 9, 2010, 07:54 AM
Just quoting Army Brig Gen. Peter Fuller. Now on barrel length. The 5.56 ballistic kiss of death is when you go shorter then 16 inches. Yes, there are short barrels ranging from 7.5 to 14.5, but you would be a fool to use them for the standard infantry weapon. If I remember correctly, the M4 was originally developed for the Spec Ops community. It was the intent to give them a compact weapon and still allow them some fire power if decisively engaged. It was not, nor ever intended to be a standard issue infantry weapon. There is one exception and that was back in 92 when the marine corp was tinkering with the idea of issuing the carbine to platoon commanders and platoon sergeants. Obviously, alot has changed since 92.

Semper Fi.

Guns - out

Bartholomew Roberts
September 9, 2010, 08:43 AM
Just quoting Army Brig Gen. Peter Fuller.

No, you are either misquoting him (http://www.armytimes.com/news/2010/08/army-seeks-better-carbine-082810w/) or quoting him from an article done in September 2009 where the changes you listed were proposed to Congress but not approved. The first phase is changing the existing 12,000 M4s on order to the M4A1 barrel and adding an ambidextrous safety. They will then order 25,000 more rifles and as many as 65,000 conversion kits for existing M4s.

The second phase of the M4 improvement program is to look at the bolt and bolt carrier and try to improve those; but the article doesn't mention any suggestions. The third phase is to look at the gas system and it mentions both direct impingement and piston as a possibility.

The 5.56 ballistic kiss of death is when you go shorter then 16 inches. Yes, there are short barrels ranging from 7.5 to 14.5, but you would be a fool to use them for the standard infantry weapon. If I remember correctly, the M4 was originally developed for the Spec Ops community. It was the intent to give them a compact weapon and still allow them some fire power if decisively engaged. It was not, nor ever intended to be a standard issue infantry weapon.

How does the statement I quoted support your assertion that the Mk16 was dropped because it was ballistically inferior to the M4? I'm confused - is your assertion that the Mk16 was dropped because of inferior ballistics just your personal opinion or do you have a source for that?

crossrhodes
September 9, 2010, 09:09 AM
Not trying to start and argument and I'm not going to claim to be an expert. Just wanted to clarify that. I read it in the 6 Sept 2010 Marine Corps Times on page 24. "Corps decides not to adopt Army carbine enhancements" and "Corps' special operators to get new rifle". I made the barrel length comment in response to another post.

Tirod
September 9, 2010, 09:36 AM
I'm interested in knowing why this was resurrected to discuss things unrelated to the SCAR?

Let's see, 6.8, ok, I'm a fan, not the subject. Off topic.

.308, right, they kept the Mk17. What other choices are out there? Not much.

Then we bash the Stoner DI system and say it wasn't his fault? Again, off topic. I'd sure like to read about how Stoner wasn't "at fault" for the DI design he worked on for a decade, intentionally, because it was exactly what he wanted to do. I'll pass tho, because of the silly directs exhaust into the intake crap. Obviously someone doesn't have a clue what's under the hood on either.

The MK16 was dropped by SOCOM. Regardless of the press releases, they have stated in the open, no more purchases at this time. The M4 improvement program is a completely different thing, multistage, with the Improved Carbine trial as part of the Bigger picture. Gas Piston? Maybe - because the LSAT is out there, too.

Parse the details as you wish, the program will be what the Army conducts, and the results could be surprising. They don't look at it from the shooter's view, but as one tool in the tool box of assets a platoon has, and how to supply it logistically in the field.

For ex: SCAR is ambidextrous, but SOCOM - who pushed for the fielding - drops it because the M4 is just as good.

Don't get too focused on the details, the decision makers might likely ignore what favorite topic trips your trigger.

UniversalFrost
September 9, 2010, 10:47 AM
the reasons for the early model 16 was the fact that it was originally designed with chromed BCG and bore/chamber, but the yahoo's in D.C. decided it was a cost savings not to chrome plate those parts, and it was also designed for a round with spherical powder, not the stick powders (like 4895) and that is what caused a lot of the jamming.

modern AR variants have no problems going past the 5 or even 10k rounds mark without cleaning. we have an instructor at the SCG that leaves his loaner carbines uncleaned the entire year and documents over 8k rounds thru them each season and has never had an issue with reliability due to the direct impingement design.

also, your scenario of routing exhaust back to the intake is a reality. the auto makers have been doing this for decades and use it to burn off excess unspent fuel and to warm up the motor in cold environments.

when you actually own and shoot an AR let me know.

I own AK's, AR's and SKS's and several other guns that I would call superior to all of them (like my hk91 or DSA FAL) , but the AR is proven and with the newer chamberings it will finally be a proven work horse. Chamberings such as the 6.8 SPC allow the use of shorter barrels and mid or carbine length gas systems and still maintain lethality way past the 5.56 realm ( you need to realize that most conflicts take place at under 60 meters and we must dis mount our vehicles with the carbine or rifle in a some what stowed position so the need for a short barreled carbine with retracting stock is necessary). the 5.56 round was designed to create a large inner shock channel in the body cavity (and to decrease the size and weight an average person would have to carry for a full ammo compliment) while the 7.62x39 was designed to spawl or tumble once inside the target. The 6.8 and other modern rounds are designed not just with the human target (and the wound channel) in mind, but also the surrounding obstacles the round might encounter on its way to the intended target.

so put a modern round like 6.8 or 6.5 in the AR platform and leave the gas system alone and you have a weapon that will be able to take on another 30 or so years of use (or until we get lazer guns....lol)...

just my 2 cents from a been there (3 times) and done that perspective.

Tirod
September 9, 2010, 11:50 AM
Ah, no, the ball vs. stick powder thing is overblown. What BRAND NAME of the powder had nothing to do with any problems with the M16. Most approved powders were of the same type, and the competition supplied theirs, too. They were all of the same type, as the Army had final say.

What really caused the problem was tight chambers from a Colt subcontract barrel maker. Armorer teams were sent into the field, gaged them, and replaced the bad rifles. That's what actually happened, documented and witnessed, not the myth about powder, or residue jamming the BCG. It didn't help that soldiers were being given M16's with no training, no lube, and no way to replace bad magazines in service.

Exhaust gas recirculation does not burn excess fuel left over. Emissions controlled engines run lean, and exhaust gas is recycled to dilute the incoming charge with non-combustible gas from a higher pressure source. That reduces the peak of the temperature in the chamber, which lowers NOx levels. Catalytic converters aren't that good at reducing NOx, so a different answer had to be applied.

Later model engines simply use more valve timing overlap to leave exhaust gas in the chamber, and accomplish the same thing. Case in point, the 90 Jeep Cherokee has EGR, the 92 HO motor doesn't. And because of the NOx cam, the factory had to add power through intake and timing modifications. Therefore, the 90 cam and 92 up head are the better power combination.

BS in Management Tech, Asc. in Auto Tech, IN/OD/MP, Retired Reserves.

Why, yes, I have made more than one living on technically accurate knowledge, and still do.

HorseSoldier
September 9, 2010, 11:05 PM
The MK16 was dropped by SOCOM. Regardless of the press releases, they have stated in the open, no more purchases at this time.

Strangely, if I read the article right, Army Times ran with the SCAR being adopted story and you'd have to read closer than I did to catch anything about the Mk16 not being part of the bargain -- which is par for their journalistic quality.

taliv
September 9, 2010, 11:18 PM
tirod, i'd love to see where your story is documented and also where you have documentation to refute the "myth"

kwelz
September 9, 2010, 11:20 PM
Maybe when the SCAR stops killing optics it will get heavier consideration.

Tirod
September 10, 2010, 12:06 AM
Military Times and Kit Up! have both done follow up stories. I've been keeping up reading them and the FN press releases posted in full on other blogs, all which quote SOCOM stating they aren't buying more 5.56 versions.

As is typical when someone doesn't hear what they want, the messenger is questioned, not why someone hasn't kept in the loop.

The upshot of the whole SCAR episode is that SOCOM will still buy the MK17 because they need the .308 version. FN responded by saying they would be happy to supply caliber adapter kits so they could also use 5.56. Like an overloaded soldier would want a carbine two pounds heavier than needed.

As for Ball vs Improved, I didn't have it right for years, and believed the newspapers and word of mouth. After a while the truth will come out, reference this history: http://www.thegunzone.com/556prop.html

Powder wasn't as much a problem as 1) issuing a weapon to untrained troops 2) not issuing cleaning equipment - which includes LUBRICATION. No oil, no maintenance, FAIL.

Add in the rude introduction and fielding of a weapon that completely bypassed the chain of command, and made no effort to educate anyone in it's proper use. Bolt action Generals weren't asked, op rod M1/M14 staff and company commanders weren't even in on it. Soldiers were just given M16s and told to go shoot them by a decision maker in DC who increased Colt's previous careful assembly four fold.

One of Colt's barrel makers got the spec a little off, because the heat was on to field hundreds of thousands right now. Production jumped from a 8 hour a day 5 day a week shift to nearly 24/7, with hundreds of additional new hires with no previous experience making parts and assembling rifles.

Things aren't as clear cut as we sometimes like. Reality is like that, but what comes next is accurately assessing causes. What happened was untrained troops were told to use a weapon they didn't know, and given no way to properly maintain it. Commanders with a difficult new low intensity conflict that had no front lines or even an enemy distinguishable from friend, using draftee troops, were getting their butts kicked in someone else's back yard. Something had to be blamed.

I was learning how to tear down the new M16 in high school ROTC by 1970, it seemed to be different from all the stuff I had grown up watching at the movies. What I learned is that all the stuff in the movies, media, and press is always suspect and usually full of misinformation. In fact, I was taught in the Army that the first report is always suspect, and what the public has been doing for 45 years is believe anything they are told.

Reality is not summed up in 30 second sound bites. There is more to truth than that.

Bartholomew Roberts
September 10, 2010, 11:23 AM
FN responded by saying they would be happy to supply caliber adapter kits so they could also use 5.56. Like an overloaded soldier would want a carbine two pounds heavier than needed.

The Mk17 is only about 0.5lb heavier than the equivalent barrel length Mk16. So the weight difference is small enough that a caliber conversion kit might actually be a very good answer - especially if you want to leave your future options open by having the longer action and magazine well to work with for any future ammunition developments.

crossrhodes
September 10, 2010, 01:36 PM
It's amazing that I had to run for cover when I mentioned something I had read, plus some insulting PM's to boot. I see someone else read and mentioned the same article as I. Hope he doesn't get the treatment I received.

HorseSoldier
September 10, 2010, 02:32 PM
What really caused the problem was tight chambers from a Colt subcontract barrel maker. Armorer teams were sent into the field, gaged them, and replaced the bad rifles. That's what actually happened, documented and witnessed, not the myth about powder, or residue jamming the BCG. It didn't help that soldiers were being given M16's with no training, no lube, and no way to replace bad magazines in service.

I used to know a guy who'd done three tours in Vietnam as a Marine, including being in country when the unit he was with switched from M14s to M16s. His account was that a couple civilian tech reps from Colt showed up with a CONEX or truck full of rifles and started handing them out. Basic standard for being issued was the guy who got the rifle would then head over to the firing line and see if he could get the rifle to run through a couple magazines on auto. Any that choked got tossed back on the truck and the guy got another rifle to repeat the test with.

The guy in question also maintained that the issue with the early rifles was bad QC at the factory. The go-no go test he described with brand new rifles would support that idea also.

Personally, I'm of the belief that the the early issues with the M16 in Vietnam probably has multiple causes, and bad QC, issues with powder, inept leadership/poor training on keeping the weapon working probably all played a part.

taliv
September 10, 2010, 02:35 PM
Tirod, the article you linked to explains in some detail that the propellant was a major issue. It describes in some detail which powders had problems and what the problems were, and why those powders were selected and then abandoned or changed.

Bartholomew Roberts
September 10, 2010, 02:47 PM
It's amazing that I had to run for cover when I mentioned something I had read

I can't speak for everyone; but I'm not looking for an argument with you. I am just looking for good information. In your post, you were stating that the M4 improvement program was something different than what Brig. Gen. Fuller had indicated in his most recent Army Times article.

Now, for all I know you are Brig. Gen. Peter Fuller and I would do better to listen to you than trust the Army Times reporting on that issue. My questions aren't meant to make you feel insulted, they are me trying to figure out which source of information is more valid.

The second point you raised (Mk16 ballistically inferior) makes absolutely zero sense and since you haven't given a source where you heard/read that, I can only assume you reached the conclusion yourself. Again, not trying to make you feel bad, just trying to make sure we all have the best information available by pointing out all the reasons that "ballistic inferiority" is an extremely unlikely reason not to purchase the SCAR.

Owen
September 10, 2010, 03:04 PM
The 5.56 ballistic kiss of death is when you go shorter then 16 inches. Yes, there are short barrels ranging from 7.5 to 14.5, but you would be a fool to use them for the standard infantry weapon. If I remember correctly, the M4 was originally developed for the Spec Ops community. It was the intent to give them a compact weapon and still allow them some fire power if decisively engaged. It was not, nor ever intended to be a standard issue infantry weapon.

How does the statement I quoted support your assertion that the Mk16 was dropped because it was ballistically inferior to the M4? I'm confused - is your assertion that the Mk16 was dropped because of inferior ballistics just your personal opinion or do you have a source for that?


moot point becaue the SOST 5.56 is optimized for short barrels, and terminal performance is not yaw/frag dependent.

crossrhodes
September 10, 2010, 06:28 PM
I guess the Army Times and the Marine Time had some variation??.. My comment was more directed the the PM's I received.
Owen, I still stand on the short barrel issue but with the respect that the SOST was developed for the short barrel. Now, from what I read ,not gospel, the SOST was developed with the SCAR carbine 13.5 barrel in mind. Do any of you have any insight on this. I understand it's a pretty good round and has been put into service by the USMC too. My eyes/mind maybe failing me so would some else read the article I was referring to and point out the misquotes/mis interruptions I have made. Not said with sarcasm.

HorseSoldier
September 10, 2010, 10:33 PM
moot point becaue the SOST 5.56 is optimized for short barrels, and terminal performance is not yaw/frag dependent.

Also a completely moot point because fragmentation is just bonus, not how you kill people with 5.56mm rounds. Put a round or two through a 10.5" barrel into the center of mass of the bad guy and you've got a fight stopper the vast majority of the time. Fragmentation navel gazing is so overblown on the internet you'd think that if someone gets hit by a round that doesn't fragment it peps them up like a can of Redbull with a nicotine patch soaked in it.

Tirod
September 10, 2010, 10:47 PM
Taliv, the article explains it a lot better than the myth "It was designed for Improved but they used Ball and it choked!" The article dispels a lot of nonsense repeated over the years. Improved was actually older than Ball, and the particular problem was the high amount of calcium carbonate that settled out of reprocessed powder.

It was actually about using a newer type of powder, it just happened to be an older batch.

Again, 1) don't train the troops 2) don't give them lubrication 3) a bunch go out the door with tight chambers. The post on a truckload getting sorted out by running a few mags thru to check for decent "QC" hits the spot. The weapons would do that very well if properly made - run thru a handful of mags on full auto. It was what they did best, and were viewed poorly by shooters trained in a previous generation who didn't like it at all. It was not aimed fire they way they thought it should be.

We all might well ask if that episode is also a reason why the M4 is still being used in this conflict. Do we suddenly introduce the SCAR into the fight when it's really doesn't offer SOCOM anything they don't already get? Is retraining for familiarity getting them superior hit ratios and more lethality with the SCAR? Doesn't seem to be getting mentioned.

So, SOCOM is retaining the .308, but not in the short barrel version. It's primary role is the longer version to reach out further. It may be within a half pound, but the ammo isn't, and the recoil slows reaction in CQB. It stays where it's wanted, 600-800 yards, because SOCOM apparently doesn't want a bunch of relic M14's with expensive SAGE stocks for the job.

It's come back around, the old guns once again don't do the job after all, and direct impingement is once again validated. You just build it right, lube it, and shoot it a lot.

taliv
September 10, 2010, 11:00 PM
yep, that's a good point about not introducing the SCAR at the moment, too.

I am often amazed at what people assume are "the lessons from Vietnam" and how different they are from the lessons I've read about in books like Col. Moore's.

Still, socom doesn't seem much opposed to trying out the latest toys. At least, they don't let retraining inhibit them often.

I wonder about the accuracy of the SCAR if it got to full production, too. The civilian versions I've shot were pretty dang accurate off a bench, but if they had to make millions of them, I wonder if the average would drop off.

Tirod
September 11, 2010, 12:16 PM
The barrel is the main point - buttons wear out in production. Hammer forging, not so much, as the mandrel is only compressed. They are replaced at intervals, I hear.

I would suspect FN would have no problem maintaining accuracy, or even improving it, over the life of a contract. Once the initial assembly tips are settled on, all the parts would hold to that pattern. It's what Colt does with the TDP - make the small adjustments that fall under their purvey.

What hasn't been improved is hit ratio by tweaking the gun parts. It's an operator interface and experience issue. Optics have improved that more than anything. I experienced that after shooting .22 International in high school, then buying a HK and mounting a 1Gen Aimpoint on it. For field use, a red dot was a huge improvement. If you could see it, you could red dot it, and if you could red dot it, you could hit it. That means faster target acquisition, and higher hit probability.

It may very well be we have hit a plateau on weapons development. Even going to the LSAT round is just carrying more ammo, not making the gun more likely to hit better. We seem to be finessing the gun less, and what we put ON the gun more - optics, lights, etc. That's where all the expense has been for the last ten years.

Intermediate caliber, gas operated, light weight carbines with rails and polymer parts are pretty much all alike, right down to using the infamous M16 magazine. SOCOM is saying one's as good as another. They can spend their budget money on something else more needed for the total package they field.

JR47
September 11, 2010, 03:51 PM
also, your scenario of routing exhaust back to the intake is a reality. the auto makers have been doing this for decades and use it to burn off excess unspent fuel and to warm up the motor in cold environments.

Sorry, but I just couldn't let this lunacy pass. The air used to warm the engine rapidly, while insuring better atomization of the cool fuel, has nothing to do with the exhaust gases.

In fact, the introduction of minute amounts of exhaust gases via the EGR valve is absent in a cold engine.

The use of exhaust gas is to reduce efficiency in the combustion chamber via reducing peak operating temperatures. This, in exchange, reduces the amount of nitrous oxides produced by the engine.

It has nothing to do with achieving operating temperatures. In fact, if the Congress were to remove nitrous emissions from the EPA list, as it's well proven that combustion is less than 3% of the total, rotting vegetation making up the rest, gas mileage would increase markedly.

The analogy was bad enough when comparing the DGI of the M16 with improved systems, without the fact that it was 100% wrong technically.

crossrhodes
September 12, 2010, 03:04 PM
No comment on the two articles in the Army or Marine Times ???? Bart? Owen?

Owen
September 12, 2010, 04:51 PM
I haven't read the articles. Both pubs are little better than gossip when they've reported on things in my lane, so I quit reading them.

HorseSoldier
September 12, 2010, 05:45 PM
I'm not sure on the time lag between news happening and making it to the pages of Army Times, so I can't say for certain that their SCAR story is shoddy journalism or just superseded by later events (though with the source, shoddy journalism is always a safe bet).

crossrhodes
September 12, 2010, 07:40 PM
I'd like to find a good information source but I understand that dealing with Gov/Mil contracts info....I'd have better luck trying to buy the Brooklyn bridge. LOL
Thanks for your input gents.

Chindo18Z
September 13, 2010, 01:39 AM
Multiple Choice Quiz:

Q: When it comes to front-page military small arms articles, the Army Times has a track record of being:

1) Factually Innacurate
2) Wildly and Speculatively Wrong
3) HK's Advertising Mouthpiece
4) A Mouthpiece for Wishful Congressional Constituent Job/Contract Agendas
5) All of the Above

I choose #5.

Tirod
September 13, 2010, 09:48 AM
The entire premise of the OP is in the title: Just because the miltary says, FN is going into full rate production.

Name the contract, by number, and exactly who's buying them.

If there has been anything at all consistent with FN's press releases, it's a complete detachment from reality on the existence of an actual contract stating the number of weapons to be built, and who's getting them.

In the meantime, they are hitting all the military arms shows and doing the sell, sell, sell.

The first to post a contract number and details on the quantity and recipient will be the first to have actual facts there is one. Otherwise, "Full Rate Production" is just another media blitz to spin the simple statement by SOCOM they are not buying any more MK16's, because the M4 does it already. There is no improvement in effectiveness or hit ratio.

Owen
September 13, 2010, 12:47 PM
They already have a contract. Full Rate Production is a milestone of the contract process. With the contract in place, no new contract is required, units simply send money to the contract manager to put the guns on order.

HorseSoldier
September 14, 2010, 01:55 AM
Except that SOCOM hasn't allocated any money to procure the Mk 16. The end result is currently looking kind of like the SAW version of the M14 -- type standardized and all but never fielded.

rtz
September 14, 2010, 06:11 AM
Why is the AR-10(.308) not an option as an upgrade/replacement to the 5.56? Just convert the existing arsenal.

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