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FNH USA Responds to End of SOCOM SCAR Mk 16 Procurement

FNH USA posted the following press release following the news over the weekend that SOCOM will not be allocating further funds to the 5.56 mm SCAR Mk 16 and will instead reallocate the money to buying Mk 17 SCARS in 7.62 mm.

Speculation as to the reasons for the reallocation of SOCOM funds to the SCAR Heavy continues. One of the more popular theories is that 5.56 mm just doesn’t have the stopping power needed in the longer range fights in Afghanistan, and therefore SOCOM wanted to move toward 7.62 mm. Another is that, with other M4-related programs ongoing, from improvements to replacement, as well as two different kinds of 5.56 mm ammunition now being issued, that there were too many programs, limited funding, and duplication of efforts. If SOCOM could ride the coattails of the big services’ modifications to or  replacement of the M4, it could save a lot of money, which could also be invested in 7.62 mm weapons as well as other things.

We’re curious here to hear what other information might be out there.

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-218">

    I agree that our smaller units with lighter firepower need a new assault rifle that will allow our special forces to engage targets at greater ranges while still being effective. The military has now recognized that our forces operating in areas such as Iraq and Afganistan need the extra firepower that will allow smaller units to be more effective against larger numbers insurgents. This will in turn allow our forces the safety of distance while giving them the firepower to engage larger targets with the effectiveness of a larger unit. I agree that a new weapon is needed for our special forces units.

    li class="comment odd alt thread-odd thread-alt depth-1" id="comment-219">
    Chuck Oldham (Editor)

    People will be debating the merits and the failings of the M16/M4 until doomsday, and you won’t convince any of the true believers either way, but I can’t forget the comment of one soldier who said something along the lines of: “I feel like I’m going to war with a varmint rifle.”

    li class="comment even thread-even depth-1" id="comment-220">

    FNH has done a great job with the SCAR program and they’ve managed to produce an excellent family of weapons. However, the question – what benefit will another 5.56 mm platform bring to the table – remains, a valid argument when diminishing budgets require a more thoughtful allocation of funds. The answer is none. FNH will face other challenges that will influence the MK17 SCAR. USSOCOM is composed of SOF units from all of the services. The U.S. Army SOF is the largest subset.
    As you know, the U.S. Army has standardized on the KAC M110 SASS (Knight’s Armament Company, Vero Beach, FL) as their 7.62 platform, of choice, for sniper application. What benefit does the SCAR MK17 deliver over the KAC M110 SASS – probably not a great deal, and for that matter what, significant benefit, does the MK17 bring over the SR25 that has been in use by the U.S. Navy for quite some time -all good questions that SOCOM has to answer.
    With competing priorities for budget dollars, there must be a compelling benefit to justify those funds.
    This is a story that will unfold over time but it merits following.