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Breaking News – USMC to Buy New Pack

The USMC has just released a presolicitation notice for a new pack system to replace the current ILBE. This will be a full and open competition with no set asides. The Marines have been looking for some time for a new pack and there have been quite a few rumblings in industry that it would be a government owned design rather than a competition for a completely new, commercially derived design. Expect it to resemble MOLLE more than ILBE. There is an odd bit in the presolicitation that sort of promises a chance to see a pack that sort of looks like the model they want. “Interested offerors are further advised that MARCORSYSCOM, PM ICE, may host a USMC Pack sample viewing during the week of 6 June 2011 (date is tentative) at a location still yet to be determined. This event will be strictly for the purpose of viewing a like-USMC Pack model – which is not an exact representation of the product detailed in subject solicitation.” It is perplexing that they know what the pack looks like that they want but that they don’t have any prototypes of it. This hardly engenders confidence in the process.

According to the solicitation, “The USMC Pack system is specifically intended to provide the Marine with a load carriage system that fully integrates with currently fielded body armor systems. The estimated maximum quantity is 245,721 USMC Pack systems in addition to associated sustainment components.”

Furthermore, the actual solicitation is expected to be released in the next 60 days and “The Government anticipates awarding Firm Fixed Price, Indefinite Delivery/Indefinite Quantity (ID/IQ) contracts to no more than two (2) offerors that are each capable of producing at least 123,000 Pack systems within twelve (12) months of contract award. Each ID/IQ contract will cover a five (5) year ordering period. Evaluation factors will be set forth in the forthcoming solicitation. Potential offerors are advised that Evaluation will require offerors to submit a minimum of (2) product demonstration models for compliance to a USMC Pack system drawing package and product description (PD).

Interestingly, the Purchase Description also speaks of a “Family of Load Bearing Equipment (FILBE)” that will be available in the following patterns and colors:

Class 1 – Coyote Brown 498
Class 2 – Woodland MARPAT
Class 3 – Desert MARPAT
Class 4 – Snow MARPAT
Class 5 – OCP
Class 6 – Tan 499

Details of the pack’s design are still a mystery but we expect it to include the following features/components:

A) USMC Pack
a. Main Pack
(1) Frame
(2) Shoulder Harness Assembly
(3) Hip Belt
(4) Main Bag
b. Assault Pack
c. Assault Pouch
d. Sustainment Pouch (Qty. 2)
e. Hydration Pouch (Qty. 2)
f. Hydration Carrier
g. Hydration Bladder System
(1) Hydration Bladder
(2) Hydration Tube with cover
(3) Hydration Bite Valve with cover
h. Sternum Cinch
i. Sub-Belt (also known as “Girth Hip Belt”)
j. Repair Kit
k. Care and Use Manual

FILBE will also include the following components:

B) Chest Rig
a. USMC Chest Rig
C) USMC Equipment Pouches
D) USMC Holster
E) USMC Corpsman Assault Pack
F) Individual Water Purification System

Based on information we received from multiple sources we believe the frame to be the Down East 1606 frame first developed for the Army’s airborne community but as of yet still unfielded by that service. Additionally, the sternum cinch sounds mysteriously like the Mystery Ranch, Mystery Cinch. That’s because it is!, at least according to the Purchase Description although it adds that pesky “or equivalent”.

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7 Responses to “Breaking News – USMC to Buy New Pack”

  1. Aaron says:

    Dana Gleason already has a government contract…he might get an even heftier one.

    GO MYSTERY RANCH.

  2. Mike D says:

    Still a fan of the old A.L.I.C.E. pack myself. Old farts unite!

  3. Joe says:

    Looking forward to the current inventory hitting the market.

    The current pack is an Arcteryx design I believe, not good with body armor, but should work great in a civilian environment.

  4. Matt says:

    Joe, the current packs are not the best with body armor but also they are not designed to fit well for short people (5’7″ and below).

  5. Rembrandt says:

    I honestly don’t understand why they don’t just go with a WELBE-wouldn’t that be more cost effective? The ILBE’s were awesome, and I think this is a step in the wrong direction.

  6. Joe says:

    Thanks Matt, I knew there was something to do with the ergonomics of the frame.

    Looks like I meet the req’s, the wife, not so much.

    You just saved me a future mistake on some gear, I appreciate that.

  7. [...] From the darkest corners of the internet comes….the Mystery Cinch. Now, you can own one even before the Marine Corps integrates it into the still-as-of-yet-sort-of-defined Family of Improved Load Bearing Equipment (FILBE) Marine Corps Pack. [...]