January 13, 2014:
Lithuania has adopted the Belgian SCAR rifle for its army snipers and sharpshooters and is buying 2,000 of these 7,62mm semi-automatic weapons. The SCAR rifle was developed for U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) and entered combat use in 2009. SOCOM has been satisfied with SCAR performance.
There are two basic SCAR models. The 5.56mm SCAR-L weighs 3.5 kg (7.7 pounds) empty, while the 7.62mm SCAR-H weighs 3.86 kg (8.5 pounds) empty. A 30 round 5.56mm magazine weighs 430 gr (a little under a pound), while a 20 round magazine of 7.62mm ammo weighs a 500 gr (little over a pound). Special sights can weigh a 450-900 gr (a pound or two), so a fully loaded SCAR won't weigh much more than 4.5 kg (ten pounds). FN also came up with a grenade launcher for SCAR.
Both models operate the same way, and have many interchangeable parts. SCAR-L is basically a replacement for the M4, which was designed (with a shorter barrel) as a “close combat” version of the M16. The SCAR-H will replace the M14, a 1950s era 7.62mm weapon (a replacement for the World War II M1) that is still favored for long range and sniper work. The SCAR design is the result of much feedback from the field. For example, the rate of fire was lowered to 600 RPM (rounds per minute) from the 800 typical with the M14 and M16. This makes SCAR easier to hold on target when firing full auto.
SCAR-H can be quickly converted to fire AK-47 ammo (the 7.62x39 round) with a change out of the barrel and receiver. Both SCAR models can be fitted with a longer and heavier sniper barrel. Thus this ability to quickly change the barrel length enables the SOCOM to equip their troops with the specific weapon they need. SCAR is also built to be more rugged than the M-16. The barrel is good for some 36,000 rounds, twice as many as the M-16. Barrels may be switched by users without special tools. Both models of SCAR take all the special sights and other accessories SOCOM troops favor. SCAR is meant to be easily modified and personalized for each user. It’s expected that SOCOM experience with SCAR will influence the next generation of U.S. Army and Marine Corps small arms.
Ten other countries (via the military or police forces) have adopted SCAR.