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Tony Williams

Jan 5, 2004

"Last year, the U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) issued a specification for the SOF (Special Operations Forces) Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR). At the time, the U.S. Army was also developing a new assault rifle, the XM-8, and it was thought that SOCOM might use a version of the XM-8 for its own needs. SCAR, however, is somewhat different from the XM-8. For one thing, SCAR must be able to quickly change barrels and receivers so that it can fire 5.56mm, 7.62mm (large cartridge, like the M-14 and American medium machine-guns) or the short, AK-47 7.62mm rounds. Moreover, SCAR has to be even more rugged and reliable (and expensive to build) than the XM-8. As a result, the XM-8 lost out to a custom weapon from the Belgium firm, FN Herstal.

SCAR is actually two different rifles, the “light†version (5.56mm) and the “heavy†(7.62mm). Maximum number of weapons to be ordered will be 155,000 (84,000 standard lights, 28,000 closer-quarter combat versions of the light rifle, 12,000 light sniper types, 15,000 standard heavies, 7,000 heavy close-quarters combat conversions of the heavy rifle and 12,000 heavy sniper rifles.)

Meanwhile, the U.S. Army has given all other rifle manufacturers one more chance to submit weapons to compete with the current Heckler & Koch XM-8. This is a sign that official acceptance and mass production is not far away. However, not all of the senior army, or Department of Defense, brass are willing to spend the billions of dollars it will cost to reequip the troops with the XM-8. There should be a decision by next year, however. Meanwhile, SOCOM will have SCAR, even if the army ends up not getting the XM-8."

No mention of 6.8x43, I see.

Tony Williams: Military gun and ammunition website and discussion
The actual requirements are a change of barrel, magazine, and bolt. And there are two size guns, the big one (.308, and a fatter cartridge, not sure which) and the little one (.223, 7.62x39, 5.45 6.8)
GG from Lightfighter said:
Gents, This contract is a big deal and SOCOM still has not announced the winner. Posting pictures and rumours online at this point put the program at risk of protest by every other competitor not to mention industrial espionage against FN by competitors for other upcoming tenders.

GG speaks truth.
I think the point is that some people are saying its been announced. One posting on another board says its in the Army Times, though I can't find it yet.

It also matches the original timeline. Back in febuary, this was published in National Defense:

"The command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base, Fla., expects to award a contract for a Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle in November, according to SOCOM spokesman Chet Justice."

So, the time mates up nicely. Some vendors have talked openly about competing, in the past tense, in the competition, indicating its over and now is time to award the contract.

So, in case anyone thinks I have insider info, back to idle speculation:
FNMI makes a lot of sense because they have done well with the Mk46 and Mk48 programs of late. Not just because of the weapon, but because of the way they got the team together and worked with the government to meet the needs, quickly.

My only weirdness is that FNMI has no suitable platform, at least in .308. However, since there was no announcement of people like Robinson or LMT participating, I assume that those various designs were picked up by experienced vendors like FNMI who acted almost like systems integrators.

So, when we see pictures of the SOFCAR winner, I'll bet its more or less something we've all seen before. And probably a minor AR-15 variant for the "small" gun at least.
My only weirdness is that FNMI has no suitable platform, at least in .308.

The parent company of FNMI, FN Herstal, made the FAL. Not to mention that the M240 series, also made by FNMI, is based on the original M1918 BAR JMB designed action.

I'm sure with modern metallurgy and composites, you could do some interesting things with those.
I just spoke with Alex Robinson. As far as he knows the SCAR trial is over and FN has won. Unknown what the winning rifle is based on.
Well sure, and I have a FAL. My thinking:
  • FNMI is not FN Herstal. A FAL would be a totally new product to FNMI.
  • FN Herstal doesn't make FALs anymore either. Not for like 10 years. Still under contract various places though.
  • If there is an AR-15 like platform for the Small gun, the Large probably needs to be as similar as possible. So, that implies an AR-10 sort of thing for the Large, with as many interchangable parts as possible.

Either that, or I just plum forgot, and you caught me. You will never know.
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Daniel Watters, how did you find that? I actually went to the FBO site looking for a posting (that's where it would be) and could not find it. Was it just posted moments ago or something?

Also, anyone notice that the release is dated tomorrow? Today is still the 18th, right?
Andrew, how does the dude from Lightfighter speak the truth?

Do you honestly think SOCOM gives a crap what rumors circulate on I mean come on, seriously. :) And what would rumors have to do with the foundations of lawsuits? Industrial espionage? Huh?

Edited to say that I just read that thread over there and now my brain hurts.
shoobe01 said:
Daniel Watters, how did you find that? I actually went to the FBO site looking for a posting (that's where it would be) and could not find it. Was it just posted moments ago or something?

Also, anyone notice that the release is dated tomorrow? Today is still the 18th, right?

I went right into their Search page and typed in SCAR. To be fair, I don't think it was there this morning when I first surfed through. However, I had already seen a copy of the announcement on another FBO-style site.
The skinny from lightfighter is that this is the SUPER-FNC, gas piston operated, monolithic upper, rails everywhere.

It's unlikely civilians in the US will ever get their hands on it unless it's manufactured here and FN sees fit to ???? a semi-only trigger group.

From here:
"November: USSOCOM awards FN a contract for the SCAR. The only info released by FN indicates that their weapon uses a short-stroke gas system and a metal receiver."

Notice also, that its not FNMI, its FNH:
"FN Herstal, S.A.(FN), Rue Voie De Liege, 33, 4040 Herstal Belgium,, Delivery order 0001 issued in the amount of $634,390.00 on 11/05/04,"


What's a super-FNC. I thought FHN had dropped production of the FNC years ago. You'd have to go to Bofors or someone to get one. An MRPized FNC seems like a lot of effort.

Yesterday I didn't know they existed, but I need one now!
Several companies invented/developed new rifles for the SCAR-L bid. For example, look at the Robinson XCR.

We haven't seen pictures of the SUPER-FNC because of the non-disclosure agreements as part of the bid, however, we can probably guess that it's based on the FNC operating system with modifications to support the SCAR requirements.

Zak, while I'm thinking of this, and you are participating in this thread. Remember when we discussed the relative lowness of the stock on the XCR vs. the M4? I bet that this FN has the same stock level as the XCR. Apparently that was one of the things that the military wanted, and it was because of something that I wouldn't have thought of with my civvy background. Helmets. You can't get as low a cheek weld with a helmet on.
I don't think it was part of the reqs as much as personal comments from the testing staff.
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