Scar




 
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November 13th, 2006  
bulldogg
 
 

Topic: Scar


Quote:
pecial Operations Command just got a $2 million boost toward getting its new rifle.

Congress included that amount when it passed the fiscal 2007 Pentagon spending plan to pay for an operational test phase of the Special Operations Forces Combat Assault Rifle program.

SOCom awarded a Nov. 5, 2004, contract to FN Herstal to develop a highly reliable, modular weapon system for its elite forces.

Army Times recently spent a few hours at FNH USA’s weapons training and test facility in Fredericksburg, Va., checking out the latest prototypes of the new weapon system.

We learned about all the SCAR’s features, inside and out. We also had the chance to get a feel for these new guns by firing a few rounds down-range.

The SCAR program is really two rifles — the SCAR Light, chambered for 5.56mm NATO rounds, and the SCAR Heavy, chambered for 7.62mm NATO ammo.

The two versions of the SCAR are intended to replace an assortment of weapons for spec ops troops:

• The M4A1 carbine, chambered in 5.56mm.

• The MK18 close quarter battle rifle, similar to the M4A1 but equipped with a 10.5-inch barrel.

• The MK11 special purpose rifle, chambered in 7.62mm.

• The MK12 special purpose rifle, chambered in 5.56mm.

• The M14 rifle, chambered in 7.62mm.

Both versions of the SCAR can be equipped with different barrel lengths to suit missions ranging from close-quarter fights to long-range shooting.

The SCAR Light has a 10-inch “close quarter combat” barrel, a 14-inch “standard” barrel and an 18-inch “long barrel.”

The SCAR Heavy also has a 13-inch CQC barrel but has a 16-inch standard barrel and a 20-inch long barrel.

The CQC barrel is intended for urban-style targets out to 200 meters; the standard barrel is for targets at 300 to 500 meters; and the long barrel is for targets at 500 to 800 meters out.

The operator can change out barrels on either model within five minutes, FN officials say.

To do so, the operator uses a special T-handle torque wrench to loosen the barrel retention screws, slide one barrel out, replace it and re-tighten the screws. Each barrel has its own front sight so the operator doesn’t have to make sight adjustments after each barrel change.

“The operators could get a mission that they were going to be inserted into an urban area, so back at the patrol base, they can swap out barrels,” said Jim Owens, director for weapons development and training at FNH USA and a retired Marine Corps gunnery sergeant who spent most of his 20 years of service in the Marine Scout Sniper Program.

“Maybe three-quarters of the team would put in a CQC barrel in and the other quarter would want to isolate the objective from a longer distance and put in the standard or long barrel.”

Adjustable buttstock

The SCAR’s adjustable buttstock also makes it suitable for multiple missions.

For operating in cramped spaces, it folds to the ejection port side of both versions, shortening the weapon by a little more than seven inches. When folded, the stock locks beneath the ejection port so the weapon can still be fired.

When unfolded, the buttstock also has a telescoping feature to shorten or lengthen the stock. The cheek piece can also be raised and lowered.

The SCAR system has other features that cater to both left- and right-handed shooters.

The magazine release and selector switch is designed to be operated from either side of the weapon. The cocking handle can also be attached to either side, and there are several sling attachment points on either side of the weapon.

The SCAR has a short-stroke, gas piston operating system, similar to the M1 carbine from World War II and the Korean War. The upper receiver is made of aluminum and houses a free-floating barrel for improved accuracy. The lower receiver is high-strength polymer to help reduce weight.

SCAR magazines — a 30-rounder for the light version and a 20-rounder for the heavy version — are made of steel for increased reliability. Both models are equipped with front and rear folding iron sights and a common “rail” system compatible for mounting any of the current optics in use in SOCom today.

Eighty percent of the parts are common to both the light and heavy versions to reduce long-term maintenance costs.

In full-auto mode, the SCAR fires 550 to 600 rounds per minute, a feature that FN says helps increase accuracy. The M4A1 fires 700 to 950 rounds per minute on full auto.

The SCAR Light with a standard 14-inch barrel weighs just under 7 pounds. That’s a pound heavier than the M4A1. The SCAR Heavy with a standard 13-inch barrel weighs just over 7 pounds.

For cleaning, the SCAR breaks down into five main groups:

• Upper receiver assembly, including the barrel.

• Lower receiver assembly, including the trigger mechanism.

• Moving parts assembly, which houses the bolt carrier group and recoil spring.

• Buttstock assembly.

• Magazine assembly.

The Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module is designed to fit on both versions . It attaches beneath the barrel with two quick-release levers.

Because the grenade launcher’s trigger is beneath the rifle’s trigger, the shooter can fire the launcher without removing his hand from the pistol grip.

The launcher is just under 3 pounds, unloaded. It can also be mounted to a stand-alone stock.

Test fires

Our visit to FN’s facility was far too short to form any sort of opinion on SCAR, but it was clear that SOCom has put a lot of thought into the design.

Both versions are comfortable to shoulder and shoot.

Features like the ambidextrous selector switch and the adjustable cheek piece on the buttstock make SCAR an easy weapon to get used to. And both guns are surprisingly controllable, even when firing the 7.62mm version unsupported on full automatic.

To our extreme disappointment, however, the safety rules on this particular range prevented us from test firing the new launcher.

The $1.8 million lawmakers recently approved as part of the 2007 defense authorization bill will pay for a low-rate initial production of 1,200 SCAR prototypes — 600 of each version — that will be used in testing the SCAR next spring, FN officials said.

If all goes well, the program is scheduled to go into full-rate production in late 2007, said FN officials, who hope to build up to 20,000 weapons for SOCom.

The joint command is looking at SCAR for Army, Navy and Air Force special operators. In addition, the Marine Corps is looking at SCAR for its elite units and hasn’t ruled it out as a future option for the entire Corps.

The conventional Army, however, is not interested in SCAR. For the foreseeable future, Army officials have said combat units will continue to use the M16 rifle and the M4 carbine. Over the next five years, the Army’s first priority is to look for a replacement for the M249 squad automatic weapon.

Video: SCAR (S.O.F. Combat Assault Rifle)

PDF: Official spec list
http://www.armytimes.com/story.php?f...25-2165951.php