Fabrique Nationale FN SCAR (Mk 16 / Mk 17) Modular Automatic Assault Rifle
The FN SCAR entered limited service in 2009 and serves with special forces units belonging to the United States, Britain, Germany, Malaysia, France and others.
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The Fabrique Nationale FN SCAR (Special forces Combat Assault Rifle) will feature prominently in the future of the United States Army. It is designed as a modular weapons system from the get-go, meaning that she can be modified to suit the operators' interests and the mission at hand by way of adaptable rail systems and interchangeable barrels and components. Couple this with the SCAR's innovative short-strike, gas-operation and the automatic rifle is one of the more advanced and adaptable operational rifles in the world. The SCAR family will consist of two major production variants made up of the MK16 in 5.56mm (SCAR-L, Mk 16 Mod 0) form and the MK17 in 7.62mm (SCAR-H, Mk 17 Mod 0) form. The SCAR was selected by SOCOM (Special Operations COMmand) to replace the long-standing Colt M4A1 modular automatic rifle. An initial contract valued at $634,390 was awarded to the Belgium firearms firm of Fabrique Nationale on November 4th, 2004, with manufacturing to be handled by FN Herstal USA of Columbia, South Carolina.
The SCAR initially faced off in a July 2007 "future assessment" competition held by the United States Army. The weapon was pitted against the existing M4 Carbine, the impressive Heckler & Koch HK416 modular system and the previously-forgotten Heckler & Koch XM8 developmental combat rifle. The SCAR came in second to the XM8 but bested the HK416 and M4 Carbine in the 60,000 rounds of ammunition that were test-fired.
In 2008, the FN SCAR was yet again the object of attention, this time competing against four other rifles in the United States Marine Corps Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR) competition. The competition sought to fulfill a requirement for a new squad automatic/light automatic rifle. The SCAR proved its mettle and was selected for an initial purchase batch of 6,500 examples to be delivered over a span of five years. This particular form of the SCAR rifle was of note for its use of a mixed open-closed bolt operation - the first of its kind in the SCAR family line.