Capewell

Is The Army Looking to Expand Use of MOLLE 4000 Airborne Rucksack to General Purpose Forces?

Terry Baldwin sent me a link the other day with this note:

I admit, this particular item of kit has really captured my interest. It seems from the pictures that the “final” version of the rucksack is even more of a large ALICE-clone than the prototypes suggested. The rigging geometry, likewise, would be very familiar to you or me. It also appears, from a separate slide briefing that it is being considered not only for Airborne units but also as a possible Service-wide replacement for the Molle Large. Note, the standard Molle waistpad / belt used with the prototypes has been replaced by what looks like an OCP version of the pad /belt on the Marine’s FILBE pack. The shoulder straps also have  a new 4-point connection arrangement above the envelope pad. Interesting stuff.

He had run across a sources sought notice from earlier this year. The Army is looking to build more of its new MOLLE 4000 Airborne Rucksacks. What is interesting is the description. Up to now, it has only been intended for airborne troops.

Considering the numbers of 130,000 packs and the Army’s concentration on modernizing it’s Close Combat Forces, this looks like a possible fielding for the BCTs.

Here’s the info on the MOLLE 4000 Ruck:

“The new MOLLE Rucksack for Airborne and General Purpose Forces [ emphasis added] is a Government-owned design. It has an approximately 4000 cubic inch capacity and made of 1000 Denier nylon coated fabric, has an external frame, adjustable shoulder straps and an adjustable waist belt. The exterior of the rucksack has multiple storage pockets and pouches of varying dimensions. The interior of the main compartment of the rucksack has a pouch for carrying a radio / hydration bladder or other similarly sized equipment. The interior of the main compartment of the rucksack has a center zippered flap that divides the main compartment into two approximately equal upper and lower halves. The bottom of the rucksack has a separate [Air Items] storage compartment and above that a zippered access into the lower part of the main compartment.”

LTC Terry Baldwin (USA, Ret) contributed to this report.

25 Responses to “Is The Army Looking to Expand Use of MOLLE 4000 Airborne Rucksack to General Purpose Forces?”

  1. Neal says:

    My old BN (1-505) was one of the first to receive these for large scale testing. Our company was given 45x or so constructed of 500D fabric and 45x in 1000D. While lighter, the 500D packs did not hold up as well. Overall a fantastic ruck; it is very comfortable and honestly the perfect size for most airborne ops/field problems. Even though I also had a Medium Ruck, I still preferred this for ruck runs/marches. Easy to rig as well, loved the integrated straps and storage enclosure. I was very sorry to have to turn it back in to supply when I PCS’d 2 years ago. As long as they remove the integrated air items for the NAP’s to reduce weight, I think it would be an excellent ruck to field to all the BCTs.

    • SSD says:

      That 500D doesn’t hold up is pretty funny considering ALICE was made from parapack nylon.

      • AbnMedOps says:

        I have a theory that the old parapack nylon ALICE rucks held up better than many 500D products because the parapack material was smoother and less prone to snagging/abrasion. And also a lot of 500D-ish fabric in government contracts was NOT gen-u-wine Cordura brand, but a cheap substitute (thinking of the old late 80’s-90’s “Field Pack, Medium” knock-off iteration of the Lowe LOCO).

        • AbnMedOps says:

          I have a theory that the old parapack nylon ALICE rucks held up better than many 500D products because the parapack material was smoother and less prone to snagging/abrasion. And also a lot of 500D-ish fabric in government contracts was NOT gen-u-wine Cordura brand, but a cheap substitute (thinking of the old late 80’s-90’s “Field Pack, Large” knock-off iteration of the Lowe LOCO).

  2. Mark says:

    I’m currently issued the original version of this ruck and I like it a lot. The version shown here with the sewn on pouches looks even better than the 1st generation which was all MOLLE. The frame and suspension are very comfortable and hold up well. I agree with 1P above that they need to ditch the built in air items. Who wants to carry that crap around all the time?

  3. E says:

    This looks great, but do we really need to replace every ruck? Tens of thousands of troops never touch their ruck. Replacing it seems beyond superfluous.

  4. John says:

    It would be nice if we could all, at least somewhat around the coming wear out date, get the appropriate patterned kit. I have a test one of these and it’s nice, but you don’t need the air items unless you are in an airborne unit. The sewn portions are a nice touch, looking like the old ALICE but up to date.

  5. Explosive Hazard says:

    I’ve used a modified, large ALICE ruck with this frame and molle waist belt for a few years now and absolutely love it over the current issued ruck. Cool to see the Army is going in the direction that some of us were making ourselves since 2014 lol!

  6. Renaissance Marine says:

    i took my old large ALICE and put molle ribbing all over it. i should have just watied for this to come out. everything old is new again.

  7. J says:

    Looks good, but will it hold up to extreme cold climates. The Army probably has not tested for cold climates with these rucks yet. The Marines have been up dating their rucks that have been designed over the last 15 or more years for desert areas, which have not help up under cold climates well in their deployments to Norway and other cold weather countries. The Marines have been updating their rucks and other gear for these cold climates. I know they had problem with the polymer back brace breaking that is seen being used in the picture for the ruck.

    • Stephen says:

      The frames are made from Acetal which was specifically selected because it performs well in extreme cold weather. It does not absorb water like Nylon (which is what kills plastic parts in below freezing environments).

  8. Luke says:

    I wish they’d incorporated more of the medium MOLLE belt DNA into the larger packs. It’s to narrow and to thin, but far closer to the right idea then the undulating foam in the MOLLE II or FILBE belt, a simple cordura and foam rectangle makes a far better belt. No pack maker other then uncle sam uses such an undesirable corrugated surface for the inside of their belts, no idea why they tried it in the first place and even more dumbfounding that it has persisted so long.

    • GANDIS says:

      This is just from my experience but while molded belts are great but cannot have repeated/ extended bending to the foam without damage. For example the storage of those belts face down the pack (and pack weight) on top, over time, can create creases which will affect its function and fit rendering it ineffective at best.
      Also, the belts being corrugated allows a one size fits most approach. As the belt can then wrap around any size waist with out distortion to the foam. This would not be possible with molded belts. That is why the ILBE had different belt sizes.

  9. Dave says:

    How much does it weigh empty?

  10. Papa6 says:

    Wow! What’s old is new again . . .

    Looks pretty much like the large ALICE packs we all modified.

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