The SOCOM SCAR program is cancelled


Christian Lowe, the managing editor of Military.com, has published a blog post categorically stating that he has it on record that the SCAR Mk-16 has been cancelled

And the meme that that Mk-16 wasn’t “cancelled” and that only hyperbolic “reportage” “interpreted” the fact that the command had decided to stop buying the Mk-16 and have all those in the field returned as a “cancellation” is borderline delusional. Give me a break. It’s CANCELLED! Live with it!

UPDATE: I removed the photo from the article. The photo was of a SCAR Mk-17 (SCAR-H) which has not been canceled. My apologies.

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Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • AP

    So, you’re saying it’s canceled?

  • http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.com/ Sven Ortmann

    Clarification:
    This is about the 5.56mm SCAR, not the 7.62mm SCAR.

  • Rijoenpial

    Huh, Steve, the title of this blog entry is wrong: the SCAR program is not cancelled, the Mk16 part of the program has been ‘redirected’ for the original SCAR requirement: ONE weapon with the capability for multi-caliber and multi-barrel (the MODULAR bit)…

    So, I think that practically, the parts will still be manufactured, just in lesser numbers for the Mk16…

    The SCAR will FINALLY be the MODULAR weapon they envisioned…NO TWO guns (always found that ridiculous), but ONLY ONE…

    I read the SCAR requirements and it clearly stated they wanted ONE weapon with Modular capability, not the two weapons they ended up with…

    I am against conversion kits… I think that unlike the M4, the SCAR has been BUILT to be modular… Patching it up is just gonna create a whole set of new problems…

    So, given the Mk20 SSR, the SCAR-H PR and, of course, the SCAR-H Mk17, and the survival of the polymer Mk16 lower receiver parts for the Mk17 upper, I think the SCAR program is FAR from being over…

    Cheers!

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Rijoenpial, Christian is saying that there is no evidence that they will be using 5.56mm conversion kits and his contact at SOCOM, a senior officer, has stated that it is canceled.

  • Rijoenpial

    Small correction: When I said the Mk 16 parts would still be made but in lesser quantities, I meant the lower receiver Mk16 parts for the Mk17 upper, not for the Mk16, as I stated above… Sorry about that…

    The Mk16 as a system, is gone… But the Mk16 parts will still be used: bolt, barrel, lower polymer receiver,… Basically, the 85% parts commonality of the two SCARs is preserved…

    We just won’t have a 5.56 system, aka weapon, anymore…We’ll just have the Mk17 upper with Mk17 and Mk16 lower receivers, bolts, barrels, etc…

    This was a mess altogether, but at least, they got back to thei first concept: the SINGLE, MODULAR weapon , which was what the SCAR was all about, actually…

    So, the weapon will still be able to have 5.56 capability, but it will be dependent on the mission requirements, like FNH stated…

    So, actually, some of the Mk16 parts will still be manufactured (the barrels, the bolts, the lower receivers), just not the full system itself…

    Finally, we are starting to see the original specs being fulfilled…not that 2 weapon nonsense… They look cool, but I always thought that with the same upper, it was a wate of resources making two guns instead of one, truly modular one…

  • Josh

    You know this is starting to make me mad with these people. How many damn times have they spent money on new and better guns just to dump them later saying well its gonna cost to much. The FN Scar L is a great rifle. And its dumb to waste that much damn money on stupid crap but Socom won’t take the time to waste money on something that matters.

  • subase

    Well a Socom reject is still a Socom reject. The Scar 16s is a tacticool must have rifle.

  • Redchrome

    @Rijoenpial,
    the problem with that logic is that the Mk17 will be a notably heavier rifle than the Mk16, which was already a pound heavier than the M4. Can’t avoid it, there’s just more mass there to accommodate 7.62×51.

    I suspect one of the reasons for the Mk16 cancelation is (as jdun1911 talks about a lot) that light weight is very important to the users of these systems; and let’s face it, the AR15/M16/M4 design is all about light weight at the expense of a lot of other things… but it’s been improved and tweaked enough that it’s acceptably reliable.

    So the Mk17 is being retained where it makes sense (high reliablility DM rifle) and M4 is being retained where it makes sense according to the users (lightweight individual rifle). We can second-guess these people all we like; but I’m going to suspect that they aren’t stupid and really do know things we don’t. Armchair generalling has gotten millions of people killed and we should beware doing it ourselves.

    Armchair engineering on the other hand is a completely different matter, and I still think the M4 is broken by design in numerous ways and we need a new intermediate cartridge and rifle and magazine. :)

  • Rijoenpial

    Ok, Steve, thanks for the clarifications…It sounds very odd though…But what doesn’t sound odd about this SCAR program?

    I actually dug a little deeper and the common Mk17 receiver they mention is actually ONE receiver to accomodate both calibers, 5.56 and 7.62×51… If they can do that, it would be awesome…! So far, the piston ACR and XCR systems require changing bolts, barrels, lower receivers, etc…

    The HK idea behind the HK 416 was to enable the selling fo only the upper receiver parts to decrease the purchase costs for the Military…

    The reason I stated that the 5.56 components might still be manufactured is because even if the lower receiver is fully modular, I doubt the 7.62 barrel will be able to shoot the 5.56…they would need a new bolt for that as well…hence why I deduced they would need conversion kits (meaning 5.56 parts including bolts, barrels) to complete the 5.56 conversion… The conversion kits I was stating above were the Ar-15 M4 version conversion kits…

    If they could manage to find an engineering wonder barrel, bolt and lower receiver able to fire both calibers and/or even more calibers, one bolt and one lower receiver, that would be more than just awesome, it would be historic! But I seriously doubt it…

    Regarding the cancellation, I am sure that FNH will be able to convert the Mk16s to 16Ss for the civilian market anyway, but still… All I know is that this prolonged hesitation has resulted in the civilian 16S not being done and sold in enough quantities still, preventing any lowering of the prices, and this has become an epic saga, full of desinformation, misinformation, partial information and subjective interpretation of partial information…Basically, a mess! lol

    Thanks again, Steve…

  • Shootin’ Buddy

    Latest from Crane, not cancelled, more like re-directed.

    Focus on .308s and just uppers for the .223s.

  • http://booksbikesboomsticks.blogspot.com Tam

    Rijoenpial,

    If they could manage to find an engineering wonder barrel, bolt and lower receiver able to fire both calibers…

    I am asking you this in all seriousness: Do you actually own any firearms?

  • SpudGun

    I’m sure that the FN PR department are furiously typing as we speak –

    ‘Reports from various Tweets, Facebook pokes and overhearing two men talking in a lavatory suggest that the SCAR 16 has been cancelled. This couldn’t be further from the truth, in fact SOCCOM ditched the rifles because they were too nice to be used in combat and that normal soldiers just wouldn’t be able to appreciate them properly from an artistic, cultural and design standpoint, vis a vis, the re-interpretation of DI and piston based asthetics in a medium that best explores the relevence of both, I believe the original artist Eugene Stoner once said…etc., etc.’

  • http://bit.ly/9L8dJ0 leopard

    The picture is a SCAR-H and an X over it. I said to myself, “aww f***!”

    Thanks to the commenters for correcting the picture contradiction. At least SOCOM didn’t pull the plug completely.

  • Vak

    Steve, I think that picture is misleading. The SCAR in the picture is obviously a mk17, which has not been cancelled, unlike his little brother, which has been.

    Also that only means that the US military wont purchase any Mk16s, but they are other armies that might want to buy some, like France (the Famas isn’t aging well) or Belgium (the FNC is good and all, but hey, they own FNH, they can get all the goodies they want).

    • http://www.thefirearmblog.com Steve

      Vak, so it is! I have removed the photo. LOL, I must be going blind.

  • William C.

    The guy used the word “meme”, I can hardly his statement seriously now. The program clearly isn’t cancelled, it has just been decided not to buy more Mk.16s.

  • Big Daddy

    This is typical of anything coming from the US armed services and the US government in general, just listen to the news. Confusion, contradiction and massive wastes of money, time and people’s hard work. That has become the American way and that’s why nothing gets done, nothing improves and this country is stuck in a quagmire of 1960s mentality.

    This is 2010 and our government is still working in the same wasteful ways of the post WWII mentality. That’s because the people running the show are from the post WWII era. Time to pass the baton to the younger generation and hope they can and will put out the effort to do a better job in modernization of our armed forces and the country as a whole.

  • Brian

    Rijoenpial, given that last comment, I think you play too many video games.

  • Elektrobug

    They are always canceling for the same reason …. no better performance then M4. My guess is they wont approve a new weapon system until there is one with a new, better performing caliber.

  • Lance

    @ Rijoenpial

    To clarify this. The SCAR L or MK-16 is history the program is canceled. There is NO NO multicaliber receiver. Never can be since the size difference between 5.56 and 7.62mm is so great in the mag well alone that you couldn’t fit a 5.56 mag into a 7.62 mag well. And if the receiver was a breakdown type it be too fragile and dangerous to use in combat. Theirs not point in switching caliber once in the field. if you carry a 5.56mm weapon your job in the mission is different from a 7.62mm sharpshooter.

    My final words on this whole issue!

    But the MK-17 is going to be in use to supplement M-110 and M-14s already in service. The point is a 5.56mm pea shooter is a 5.56mm pea shooter no matter what body or DI or Piston you put into one. I think investing into M-14 upgrades M-110s and MK-17s for SOCOM will help SOCOM alot more than investing into since they do fight outside of close support. They need heaver weapons to make up for this. I think the hype over this was from the typical AR haters who thought the Military was going to adopt the SCAR and get ride of all the AR in service. This wasn’t going to happen anyway. This was for SOCOM only and this design had issues. The fact is even SOCOM admits M-4/M-16 is all you need for 5.56mm weapon. The regular Army and USMC chose to upgrade the M-4 not replace it anyway. The need to fill in from the regular Army’s swap of SOCOMs M-14s meant they need a 7.62mm rifle for some none M-14 needed Ops, so they chose to buy the MK-17. Good they need some big guns. In they end I think the Military will us the AR as long as we use 5.56mm NATO. But hay look at the Bad guys out there there using AK-47 style weapons which are ALOT older and outdated the AR is and I think this proves there not much of a need to get new rifle as long as we are current with whats out there. For the western world we use 5.56mm so well use a 5.56mm. If caseless or plasma weapons in a few decades from now come well need to switch then.

    Any way that’s my final two cent on this issue its over.

  • pbj

    the scar is stupid anyways. we can do better

  • jdun1911

    Hahhahahahaha

    It’s like a narcissistic guy just got dumped by his girlfriend. “You can’t dump me I’m too awesome!!!!”

    hahahaah

    Cry some more.

    I haven’t gone into the universal receiver debate in previous threads. I need to clear up some confusions on it.

    Before we start lets look at this video: Hot chick shooting M169.

    http://rpginn.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=122&Itemid=39

    For those that don’t know what a magwell is:
    http://mcb-homis.com/xd/magwell3.jpg

    It’s an Ar15 that is shooting 9mm. Very easy to do. Just attach the 9mm upper to the lower and modify the mag to fit the AR magwell. As long as the caliber is the same size or smaller in length and width than the AR15 magwell.

    You could also put a larger caliber than the magwell allows but it will be single shot and will be hand feed. Could the magwell be put on the upper? Sure but that will add more weight, it’s not good for close spaces, etc.

    The SCAR mk17 is a 7.62. It will be easy to put a 5.56 upper on it. There should not be any problems because the 7.62 magwell is larger then 5.56. Right? The US military have a lot of 7.62 AR. It will not be a problem to make 5.56 upper for these guns. The questions is why didn’t they do it?

    Do you want a 7.62 rifle to shoot 5.56 in combat? Do you want to hump a 7.62 rifle that is chambered 5.56 in Afghanistan or any place in the world? Fuck no. Why in God name would you want to carried all that extra weight and a larger rifle for 5.56? You have to go full retard to do that.

    Keep in mind this is in the context of combat, patrol, etc. There are some benefits to going smaller caliber in a large gun. For example, my ar15 has a .22lr conversion kit. The conversion save me a lot of money on ammo but when it comes to combat I’ll switch it back to 5.56.

    What the US military wanted was the mk16 to go 7.62 and NOT mk17 to go 5.56. In other words, they wanted a 5.56 rifle to be able to shoot 7.62. The magwell is one issue in a long list of problems needed to be solve. FN couldn’t do it. That’s why they broke it down into two type.

  • Lance

    I agree with JDUN1911

    The who problem is that trying to make a gun shoot many calibers that are differnt sizes is impossible. Thats why it died.

    As Per the MK-17 its supplament not replace M-14s and M-110s. Its need more by SOCOM because the regular military bught all of ther M-14s from them in 2001-2004.

  • TheAmdMAN

    “… and overhearing two men talking in a lavatory suggest that the SCAR 16 has been cancelled. ”

    Best line all week….

  • Rijoenpial

    lance,

    technology does not die…it becomes dormant or silently evolves… some things cannot be achieved unless the available tech enables it…And the only way to achieve tech developments is to keep trying…

    The ultimate goal is a multi-cal weapon, adequate for all kinds of missions, from CQB to long-distance shooting… The SCAR, the ACR, the XCR…that’s the trend…

    Now, there have been attempts, the SCAR being one of the latest… with the introduction of electronics in the gun system (FN had it in it’s IAR and the FN Black Box grip presented at Milipol 2009 are the latest examples) together with the advancements in nanotechnology and new alloys (the introduction of polymer in actual weapons parts and not just accessories, was unthinkable a few years back) will enable the minaturisation of components, weapons engineering is always alive and kicking…

    I would not be surprised to have a barrel made of more durable alloy and lightweight… With nanotech, we can have a weapon that can automatically change parts required to enable the caliber change and we can even have a weapon that can actually have the two barrels already in place, kinda like a lightweight OICW…Come to think of it, if the weight problem and the size problem are solved, and I think they can, then there are no limits to what people can achieve…It will all come down to creative ways to make it work… They discovered that high-resistance polymer could be usefukl for sights, for grips, for lower receivers, for stocks… So, the weight problem is being adressed and can even go further…

    I am doing a whole lot of futurology here, but with nanotech and new alloys, weapons can do and have a whole lot more in a single package… Weapon components can go smaller, meaning they can have more inside the same package; they can go more electronic-driven, can have dual barrel capability provided the achievement of new heat-resistant and lighter alloys…

    The OICW is just a practical (hear me out) idea that with miniaturisation, can be achieved…a 5.56 or 6.8 on top of a 7.62…This way, you can’t even need to affect the internals… The only problem would be size and weight, but with new alloys or advancements in polymer tech, as well as nanotech, this could happen… Imagine a M4 sixed weapon with lighter 16″ barrels,

    I mean, the possibilities are endless…The OICW did not work because it was a monster, but the theory sounds and down the line, it will be picked up again when new alloys and nanotech developments become available…

    One thing is for sure…Given the current missions and the current scenarios the soldiers are facing in Afghanistan, a weapon with just one caliber and a myriad of various weapons for various purposes, is no longer viable… Scenarios may change unexpectedly, a 5.56 scenario (door-to-door, CQB) can become a 7.62 scenario very quickly [long(er) range shooting or just situations requiring greater stopping power) and the SCAR was an attempt to allow a common platform to be able to have the capability to rapidly switch from one caliber to another, to go long range with just a few changes and etc)…

    The idea behind the SCAR program is sound, but the current tech still prevents from having just ONE weapon doing all those jobs (CQB, LOnger distance shooting, even longer shooting, etc)… hence why the two, three variations of the same SCAR-H Mk17…

    This is far from meaning it cannot be achieved in the near future… I bet the FNH R&D is trying right now to not just overcome the shortcomings of the SCAR weapon as it is now (there are a few), but also go further and develop ways to make the SCAR original idea of a single weapon system firing multi-cal a reality…

    I bet they all are: FNH, HK, COLT, MAGPUL (their Massoud demonstrates they can’t do it in one weapon as well), etc…

    NOW, whether these developments will be financially sound for mass production, that is a whole other can of worms…Actually, given the current state of affairs worldwide and especially in the US, I don’t see this becoming a thing for the short-term, more for the long one…

    Thanks for putting up with this long ramble about how I see the future of weapons, but I do believe that manufaturers and their R&D department are and will always be the future of weapons…When nanotech becomes more functional, the uses will be endless, the advantages will be long-reaching… New alloys, a polymer evolution or a substitute with more heat-resistance and less weight could be down the line…

    If you so desire, Steve, just read it and discard it… I won’t hold it against you! LOL

  • JoeB

    Eh, this stupid SCAR issue is starting to get very annoying. The Mk.16 looked like a nice rifle, but I agree with previous statements, the M16/M4 platform is really all we need in a 5.56 rifle. People can argue all they want that “The M4 isnt as reliable as the Mk.16!!! The M4 will jam to much and kill a quadrobillion of our soldiers!!” That may be true but looking at previous comparisons of the M4 and Mk.16 lead me to my conclusion that the Mk.16 is not a drastically better platform than the M4′s we use now. The Mk.17 on the other hand, looks like an excellent DM rifle! Gee, if anything the Mk.17 would still be better just for the chance to get multicaliber fireteams. Im kinda dissapointed that the Mk.16 is being cancelled but hey, SOCOM isnt stupid.

  • zincorium

    As long as we’re restricted to conventional cased ammo, the possible improvement over the M16/M4 platform is minimal. Physics does not care about marketing jargon.

    Any agency that spends it’s budget on new guns or a new caliber before the LSAT program gets it’s final results is going to regret that decision. Brass cased ammunition will not allow the weight/lethality/reliability/range requirements that everyone wants, and although the results aren’t in, maybe caseless ammo will.

  • subase

    Seriously the only reason the army wants a gun that can retrofit to fire 2 calibers is the following reasons.

    1. It’s cheaper.
    2. It’s more convenient (logistically it’s cheaper)
    3. identical manual of arms (training wise it’s cheaper)

    But they also want it to not be too heavy. In other words they just want the lightest, cheapest gun they can get their hands on. Hardly a revolutionary concept.

    It’s my belief that FN could very easily have made a single gun able to fire both calibers but they would not make as much money, hence the reason why they split the gun into two versions.

    A strengthened but still comparably light lower could very easily have been made by FN, but the research costs would have been much higher and production costs would have been much higher. (interchangeability would increase manufacturing costs) They would also suffer when trying to market the gun in the civilian world, since there would be lighter guns who didn’t need to accommodate switching between 2 calibres. FN is in the gun business to make money and is no dummy and SOCOM government run and stingy. (unless someones getting kickbacks)

    The Scar heavy is great since it would replace M14′s and AK-47′s. Making the weapon platform cheaper, both logistically and training wise, as well as being lighter. Just the things SOCOM wanted in the first place.

  • Lance

    The LSAT progam is haveing alot of problems with caseless ammo they and the army are testing teliscopic ammo which may have its own problems.

  • Rijoenpial

    Subase,

    the fault I find in your reasoning is that this weapon was CUSTOM MADE, meaning that FN could try to pull the wool over SOCOM’s eyes and wouldn’t achieve nothing…The Specs were defined and the prototype was chosen in an OPEN competition (XCR controversy aside) out of various contenders… The dual weapon system was presented since the first prototypes:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nGJeWxvGBM

    You can see both systems in the original design, still with the FNC type lower receiver (Ithink it was still metal at that time) and all… So, the idea of having two systems was defined from the get go or very early on in the development stage…

    The rest of your reasoning I can agree with… The R&D and production costs have always been and always are the cunundrum of weapon procurement and acquisition…

    Hence why the retrofit conversion idea started floating round… I have read different versions of this one, by the way: one, that it was SOCOM demanding it and working on it, and another that it was FN offering to SOCOM…Which one is the true one?

    Not a rethorical question, I just wanted to know…

    Cheers, guys!