B5 Systems

Crane Issues Intent To Extend Sole Source 5 Year Contract For Combat Assault Rifle

Late last month, Naval Surface Warfare Center Crane Division, issued an intent to extend a sole source contract to FN Herstal, to procure the Combat Assault Rifle (CAR), engineering services and PIO Spares and data in accordance with the Performance Specification and the Statement of Work. Once known as the SOF Combat Assault Rifle, this Modular weapon system lost the SOF designator (at least funding-wise) a few years back. The program goes back 15 years, it known in Acquisition circles as CAR and is comprised of the Mk 16, Mk 17 and Mk 20 Sniper Support Rifle.

The contract currently in place runs out this month. An extension will keep the guns running which are already in service and offer the ability to buy more if the need arises. But most interestingly, this contract can be used to modify the Mk 20 SSRs used by Naval Special Warfare from 7.62 NATO to the newly adopted 6.5 Creedmoor round.

USSOCOM plans to convert their fleet of Sniper Support Rifles to 6.5 CM. For NSW, that means the Mk 20. With this contract, the process is pretty straight forward. They are weapons acquired under Major Force Program 11, USSOCOM’s procurement budget. The move to 6.5 CM is also a SOF requirement. However, Army SOF uses the M110, the US Army’s version of the Knights Armament Corp’s SR25 which also currently fires the 7.62 NATO cartridge. As the USASOC M110s are provided by the Army, but the move to 6.5 CM is a SOF unique requirement, there is question as to who will pay for the 6.5 CM conversion and what role the US Army might play in the conversion. It’s an Army rifle, but the caliber is a SOF requirement. A similar situation may face Marine Special Operations Command for their M110s which SOCOM recently modified to the K-1 configuration. Having said that, Knight’s, Geissele Automatics and CGS have all demonstrated complete 6.5 CM upper receiver groups compatible with the M110.

In other 6.5 CM news, word is that we should expect the Advanced Sniper Rifle to undergo an Engineering Change Proposal once a weapon is selected. Current requirements include 7.62 NATO along with 300 Norma Magnum and 338 NM. The 7.62 NATO requirement facilitates shorter training ranges and ensures the weapon is compatible with the Sniper Support Rifle. But with the SSRs converting to 6.5 CM, it doesn’t make any sense to have a 7.62 capability with ASR. Luckily, the conversion to 6.5 CM is simple.

Finally, an as-yet-unnamed federal agency has also committed to 6.5 CM for its rifles. We expect more to follow suit.

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11 Responses to “Crane Issues Intent To Extend Sole Source 5 Year Contract For Combat Assault Rifle”

  1. tcba_joe says:

    So this isn’t a SOCOM fleet wide move towards the SCAR family, just a continuation of the current contract for use by the small number of units fielding it?

    Side note, FN needs a SCAR pistol.

  2. Stephen says:

    I can’t wait to buy a factory 6.5CM for my Heavy!

  3. Brad says:

    The Fed agency is Homeland Security Investigations. They did a J&A mid last year for a little over 30k of Hornady 147 ELD match for their tactical observers.

    • SSD says:

      That is correct. I didn’t want to share it without an open-source citation.

  4. Sam Fisher says:

    I wonder what Fed Agency has adopted the 6.5 CM?

  5. SSD says:

    The top photo is of Combat Controller SrA Mark Forester. Unfortunately, Mark was KIA on September 29th, 2010 in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 21st Special Tactics Squadron. I included his photo because I was also assigned to the 21 (although earlier than him) and I wanted to give a hat tip to his Squadron mates.

    • Auburn-Bama says:

      Thanks for acknowledging Mark. My wife is from the same small town he was from and I had just returned from Iraq when we heard about his death. He was a true warrior.

    • theDude says:

      Mark was a good friend to one of my buddies while at Alabama. He was an upstanding guy. He believed in America and lived as a warrior. Thanks for recognizing him.

  6. NorthernSun says:

    As an aside, if anyone is interested to know more about Mark and his life – My Brother In Arms by Thad Forester. Well worth your time.
    Never forgotten.

  7. Frank says:

    Lynn Ashley was a smart hire by FN