As the Firearms Blog reports, “USSOCOM‘s decision to cancel the transition from the M4 to the FN SCAR Mk. 16 must have been the worst PR disaster to hit FN for quite some time. The FN SCAR was being proclaimed as the preferred rifle of the elite warriors of a superpower. It is now the rifle which was dropped by the elite.” FNH USA press release [below] suggest that the program may have been sandbagged as a budget buster, as the U.S. military moves towards a new weapons system, force-wide.
(McLean, Va.) July 1, 2010. FNH USA is cautious in releasing any information due to the nature of the pledge to our customers.
We can, however, reiterate that the MK 16 (5.56mm variant), MK 17 (7.62mm variant) and the MK 13 Enhanced Grenade Launcher Module (40mm), which make up the SCAR family of weapons, have each met, and in our opinion exceeded, all of the USSOCOM program requirements. It is also a matter of record that the SCAR has been proven to be superior to existing legacy assault rifles after numerous Department of Defense tests in both lab and field environments.
FNH USA believes the fact that the SCAR program recently passed Milestone C and was determined to be operationally effective / operationally suitable (OE/OS) for fielding, highlights the tremendous capability the weapons system offers deployed special operators.
FNH USA believes the issue is not whether the SCAR, and specifically the MK 16 variant, is the superior weapon system available today …it has already been proven to be just that. The issue is whether or not the requirement for a 5.56mm replacement outweighs the numerous other requirements competing for the customers’ limited budget. That is a question that will only be determined by the customer.
While we know that the MK 17, to include the “common receiver” and corresponding 5.56mm conversion kit is an option, other Services and SOF components will have the ability to procure the MK 16 stand-alone rifle under the contract if it better meets their mission requirements.
In conclusion, the management and employees of FN are proud to provide this generation of special operators their first, entirely new assault rifle that meets and, in our opinion, exceeds the demands of today’s battlefield.