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U.S. Seeks New SCAR Magazines

In support of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM), Naval Sea Systems Command’s Naval Surface Warfare Center – Crane Division has released draft performance specifications for new “Lightweight, Durable, Reliable” magazines for the MK 16 and MK 17 variants of the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle (SCAR).

Noting that the release of the draft requirements “is part of the full and open-competition process, which encourages industry and academia to help shape Government specifications to match what is possible, affordable, and timely,” it adds, “The anticipated procurement concerns the acquisitions of the Government’s intent to procure commercially available Lightweight, Durable, and Reliable, Magazines (LDRMags) for SCAR MK16 “Light” and MK17 “Heavy” variants. The scope of this particular acquisition includes the provision of up to 100 products sample systems for evaluation (50 each for “Light” and/or 50 each for “Heavy”). The LDRMags will be used primarily by USSOCOM units as alternative magazines to the OEM products. This endeavor will culminate in the award of one or two ID/IQ type contracts and the intended acquisition synopsis will be posted at a later date once responses to input regarding the draft performance specification are received and evaluated resulting from this synopsis.”

The “Light” LDRMags for the MK 16 series 5.56mm NATO SCAR will be available in two configurations – with 20 and 30 round capacities – and designated as L20 & L30 mags. According to the draft overview, “These magazines will maintain or exceed the reliability of the existing issue magazines (steel body) while being lighter in weight and durable. The magazines must not interfere with use of the under-slung MK 13 EGLM (Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module) to include its “wrap around” trigger mechanism.”

Draft Threshold (T) and Objective (O) physical requirements include: “All LDRMags shall have a unitized magazine body (T). The follower should be of anti-tilt design (O) (as defined by no tendency to tilt more than 10 degrees or stick in the magazine body no matter where pressure is applied on its top surface or how far it is depressed into the body). The spring and follower should be removable for cleaning/inspection (O). The L30 magazines should weigh at least 0.20 lbs less than the MK 16 OEM 30 round magazine (O), but shall weigh at least 0.10 lbs less than said magazine (T). The L20 magazine shall weigh less than the MK 16 OEM 20 round magazine (T). The OEM MK 16 20 round magazine weighs 0.380 lbs and MK 16 30 round magazine weighs 0.492 lbs. Any polymer based LDRMags shall not “off-gas” in excess of acceptable limits for Submarine/Seal Delivery Vehicle/Dry Deck Shelter use with prolonged exposure to hot environments (T).”

The SCAR Heavy LDRMag will be available in two or three configurations covering the MK 17 and SSR [sniper security rifle] 7.62mm NATO versions of SCAR: 10 round (H10); 20 round (H20); and possible (O) 25 round (H25) capacities.

As described in the draft requirements, “The intent is to provide for an alternate magazine source which can provide lighter weight magazines which maintain or exceed the durability and reliability of the existing issue magazines (steel body). The magazines shall not interfere with use of the under-slung MK 13 EGLM (Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module).  The H20 / H25 must also be easily inserted and removed with the MK 13 installed. The H10 is primarily intended for use in the SSR variant and does not require MK 13 compatibility.”

Cited physical Threshold and Objective characteristics include: “All SCAR Heavy LDRMags shall have a unitized magazine body (O). The follower should be of anti-tilt design (O) and spring and follower should be removable for cleaning/inspection (O). The threshold 20 round H20 magazine shall weigh at least 0.10 lbs less than the current OEM SCAR Heavy magazine (20 round capacity at 0.550 lbs) (T). If provided instead to meet the objective 25 round capacity, an H25 magazine shall not exceed the weight of the current OEM SCAR Heavy magazine (T). A 10 round H10 magazine shall weigh at least 0.05 lbs less than the current OEM “Heavy” 10 round magazine (at 0.376 lbs). As a goal, a form of dust cover for the feed lip area should be available as a separate line item (O). If it will improve durability when subjected to repeated drops on the magazine base during training, a supplemental base bumper should be available as a separate line item (may be integral with a replacement magazine floorplate) (O).”

The current closing date for receipt of industry comments on the LDRMags performance specifications is May 11, 2010.

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Scott Gourley is a former U.S. Army officer and the author of more than 1,500...