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The FN SCAR modular assault rifle was developed by the famous Belgian Fabrique Nationale of Herstal (FN Herstal) to meet a requirement, issued by the US Special Operations Command (US SOCOM) in 2003. The US SOCOM requested a new combat rifle for the US Special Forces, available in different calibers. In 2004 it was announced that FN company was selected and deliveries of this assault rifle commenced in 2009. It is believed that the FN SCAR will gradually replace most of the current rifles (M14, M16 and M4) in service with US Special Forces.
The FN SCAR is a gas operated, selective fire weapon. There are two baseline models - the SCAR-L (light), chambered for 5.56x45 mm round and the SCAR-H (heavy) chambered for a more powerful 7.62x51 mm ammunition. These were officially designated by the US SOCOM as the Mk.16 and Mk.17 respectively.
The key idea of the SCAR modular system, that it will provide the US Special Forces with a wide variety of configurations within the matter of minutes in field conditions. All these configurations have the same layout, controls and maintenance procedures. The SCAR-L and SCAR-H have 90% parts commonality. These weapons are available in three quick-detachable barrel versions - standard (S), close quarters combat (CQC) and long barrel (LB). Different length barrels can be quickly replaced.
An ambidextrous safety / fire mode selector has the following positions: "safe", "semi-auto" and "full auto". A charging handle can be easily installed from either side of the receiver. Spent case ejection port is located on the right side of the receiver, however it has a deflector, which propels the spent cases away from the left-handed shooters.
The SCAR-L is fed from improved M16-type 30-round magazines, while the SCAR-H uses 20-round magazines in 7.62x51 mm chambering. It is worth mentioning, that the SCAR-H also accepts the standard AK-47 magazines with the Soviet 7.62x39 mm rounds. It allows to fire the enemy ammunition with the alternate barrel, what is very important for operations behind the enemy lines.
A side-folding buttstock is adjustable for length. It can be completely removed from the weapon. Additional Picatinny-type accessory rails are mounted on both sides and under the foregrip. These are used to mount tactical flashlights, laser pointers, vertical grips and other accessories. It seems that the SCAR assault rifle has no bayonet mount. It is compatible with an underbarrel grenade launcher, which can be used as a stand alone weapon.