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Archive for the ‘MARCORSYSCOM’ Category

USMC Plate Carrier Gen III

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

The Marine Corps developed this Gen III design for their Plate Carrier and is currently working through the wickets to get it into production.

Look for lots of new equipment for the Marine Infantryman in the near future.

Marine Corps makes history with mine plow prototype for Assault Breacher Vehicle

Saturday, February 10th, 2018

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The Marine Corps’ Assault Breacher Vehicle made history last year when it conducted its first amphibious landing with a Modified Full Width Mine Plow prototype during a long-range breaching exercise in the western United States.

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U.S. Marines from 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, prepare to load an Assault Breacher Vehicle onto a Landing Craft Utility at Camp Pendleton, California. All vehicles were loaded onto LCUs then transported to the USS Rushmore to conduct the first amphibious landing in an ABV with a Modified Full Width Mine Plow prototype. Marine Corps Systems Command tested the prototype which will make it easier to transport the ABV from ship to shore. (Courtesy photo)

In December 2017, Marine Corps Systems Command used Exercise Steel Knight as an opportunity to test the Modified Full Width Mine Plow prototype for the first time. Steel Knight is a division-level exercise designed to enhance command and control, and interoperability with the 1st Marine Division, its adjacent units and naval support forces.

In the future, this piece of equipment will make it easier for Marines to land and deploy an ABV from a Navy Landing Craft Utility boat to the shore to complete their mission.

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U.S. Marines from 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, conduct the first amphibious landing in an Assault Breacher Vehicle with a Modified Full Width Mine Plow prototype during Exercise Steel Knight on the west coast. Marine Corps Systems Command tested the prototype which will make it easier to transport the ABV from ship to shore. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Rhita Daniel)

“Our legacy Full Width Mine Plow on the ABV could not fit onto an LCU because it was too wide,” said Timothy Barrons, ABV project officer for Engineer Systems at Marine Corps Systems Command. “The prototype we are testing fills a current capability gap and gives commanders the flexibility to use multiple surface connectors to get ABVs in the fight.”

The modified plow prototype is not only easier to transport, but safer to use, Barrons said. Once the LCU drops the bow ramp onto land, Marines can drive the ABV off the boat, open the plow and breach the area to ensure they eliminate any unsafe obstacles.

“The Assault Breacher Vehicle is the premiere breaching tool in the Marine Corps, and there is no other tool like it,” said Alvin “Tommy” West, ABV platform engineer. “It can carry two Linear Demolition Charges (commonly referred to as the line charge) on the back with over a thousand pounds of C4 explosives in each of the charge. A rocket is attached to each line charge to propel the charge, which is critical when clearing a path through mine fields.”

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U.S. Marines from 1st Combat Engineer Battalion, 1st Marine Division, conduct the first amphibious landing in an Assault Breacher Vehicle with a Modified Full Width Mine Plow prototype during Exercise Steel Knight on the west coast. Marine Corps Systems Command tested the prototype which will make it easier to transport the ABV from ship to shore. (Courtesy photo)

After the line charge detonates, landmines in its path are destroyed or rendered ineffective. Marines use the mine plow to sift through the mine field and push any remaining landmines off to the side, leaving a safe path for the assault force.

“This plow prototype makes the ABV transportable and gives the commander options to accomplish his tasks on the battlefield,” said Barrons. “The capability makes the force more lethal because it helps keep other combat vehicles intact and saves the lives of Marines.”

The ABV Program Team plans to take the information and feedback from Marines gathered at Steel Knight to refine the design and improve the overall performance of the modified plow. The team wants to ensure the modified plow will meet all requirements of the legacy mine plow in performance and survivability. After the redesign is completed, the articles will be tested at the U.S. Army Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland.

“Because the plow is foldable and deals directly with explosives, it is going to take some hits, so we need to ensure it is more reliable than the legacy mine plow which was not hinged or foldable,” said West. “There is no other piece of gear in the Marine Corps that does what the ABV with the Full Width Mine Plow does. Our goal is to make the new plow even more reliable and easier to maintain.”
The ABV Program is a part of Engineer Systems under the Logistics Combat Element Systems program at Marine Corps Systems Command.

By Kaitlin Kelly, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Program Office Begins Fielding Upgraded LAV Anti-Tank Weapon System to Marines

Wednesday, November 22nd, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — The Corps is upgrading the turret system on one of its longest-serving fighting vehicles–the Light Armored Vehicle-Anti-Tank.


A Light Armored Vehicle Anti-Tank Modernization A2 model sits under an awning aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., June 15. Marine Corps Systems Command’s LAV-Anti-Tank Modernization program team completed its first fielding of four upgraded ATWS in September. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Keith Hayes)

In September, Marine Corps Systems Command’s LAV-AT Modernization program team achieved initial operational capability by completing its first fielding of four upgraded Anti-Tank Weapon Systems to 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion Marines at Camp Pendleton, California.

The ATWS fires tube-launched, optically-tracked, wire-guided, or TOW, missiles. It provides long-range, stand-off anti-armor fire support to maneuvering Light Armored Reconnaissance Companies and platoons, and observation capability in all climates and during periods of limited visibility.

The LAV-ATM program was established in 2012 to enhance the reliability, availability and maintainability of the vehicle’s turret system.

The team’s goal was to get a new turret system on the LAV-AT platform that was easy to maintain, reliable and effective, said Jim Forkin, Program Manager’s Office LAV-ATM team lead.

“Compared to the legacy version, the new turret is unmanned, it fires both wire-guided and radio frequency TOW missiles, and it can acquire targets while on-the-move with an improved thermal sight,” said Forkin.

It also has a Far Target Location system, new commander/gunner video sight displays, and an electric elevation and azimuth drive system, which helps rotate the weapon system onto the target.

“The turret is important because it protects Marines and gives them an enhanced capability that they didn’t have before,” said Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael S. Lovell, Ordinance Vehicle Maintenance officer, PM LAV team. “The new turret on the LAV-AT helps us watch over other vehicles and target enemies with increased vision.”

The LAV-ATM team provides new equipment training to units receiving the ATWS upgrade. It lasts for two weeks, and the first week is focused on operators and the second week is on maintainer training. Continued training on the system can be conducted by the units using the embedded training mode.

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A Marine tests the enhanced vision capability–part of an upgrade to the Light Armored Vehicle’s Anti-Tank Weapon System–during new equipment training Sept. 18-29, at Camp Pendleton, Calif. Marine Corps Systems Command completed its first fielding of four upgraded ATWS in September. (Courtesy photo)

Thanks to advances in technology, Marines can initiate a built-in test to conduct a system check of the components that make up the ATWS to help the operator and maintainer diagnose and troubleshoot the system, a feature not previously available on the legacy turret, said Forkin.

The operator can also use an embedded training mode in the ATWS, which is software driven, to support individual and crew training by simulating the firing of the weapon system while viewing targets through the biocular display unit.

“This function is new to the LAV-ATM platform and will enhance sustainment training while in garrison or the field without wasting resources,” said Forkin. “With new technological advances, the overall design and functionality has improved.”

In addition to training in the field, anti-tank gunners and maintainers also train in a classroom setting environment with stations using existing 3D computer simulated technology leveraged by the U.S. Army to train their maintainers. This modernizes how the Corps trains its maintainers to meet the requirements to sustain the new ATWS.

By incorporating a blended training solution, all four existing Tactical Turret Trainers are upgraded with the ATWS and a 3D Diagnostic Turret Trainer, or DTT, is added. The DTT consists of two classrooms with eight student stations and one instructor station each. The Corps’ 3D DTT maintenance training system is unique to the ATWS and will be fielded in November.

“Using the 3D DTT, students will interactively conduct troubleshooting and remove and replace ATWS components in a simulated environment, which will be followed by training on actual hardware on the Tactical Turret Trainer and vehicles,” said Paul Kopjoe, Logistics Management specialist, PM LAV team at Program Manager’s Office LAV.

With a combination of an interactive 3D DTT, which allows the instructor to train multiple students at the same time, the ATWS Tactical Turret Trainer provides the student with the tactile feel of a real ATWS system. Benefits of DTT by other programs include the reduction in student attrition rates and the ability for maintenance tasks to be repeated numerous times, without risk of injury or wear and tear on equipment.

The U.S. Army Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center, or ARDEC, is the overarching Army agency used to acquire and develop the 3D DTT training products. The Gaming Interactive Technologies & Multimedia and the Automated Test Systems Directorate are the primary organizations within ARDEC that completed the majority of the work to help make this happen, Kopjoe said.

“Traditionally, training products are procured utilizing industry which can take 18-24 months just to get effort on contract,” said Kopjoe. “We were able to eliminate that time by utilizing existing Army resources, so that our Marines would be properly trained when the ATWS was fielded. This also allowed the ATM Team to meet the training needs of the USMC Ordnance School located at Fort Lee, Virginia.”

Fielding for the ATWS will be completed at the end of 2019.

“Marines who serve as anti-tank gunners will be able to do their job better,” said Lovell. “We’re providing a product that gives Marines an enhanced anti-tank capability improving their forward reconnaissance and combined arms fire power on the battlefield.”

By Kaitlin Kelly, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

The Corps’ Secret Agents Get Their Own 007

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — The Marine Corps is equipping Marines with a new weapon, providing enhanced concealed carry capabilities at an accelerated rate and lower cost to the Corps.

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Individual Weapons project officer Gunnery Sgt. Brian Nelson prepares to draw the M007 concealed carry weapon. The M007 offers enhanced concealed carry capabilities, which includes a smaller frame, ambidextrous slide stop lever and flared magazine well. Marine Corps Systems Command recently fielded the M007 to Marine and civilian CID agents and members of Helicopter Squadron One. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Jennifer Napier)

The Glock 19M–called the M007 by the Corps–replaces the M9 service pistol for personnel requiring a weapon that can be easily concealed.

The Marine Corps requires that all accredited Marine Corps Criminal Investigators, both civilian and military, be armed with a concealable pistol when on duty in civilian attire. This concealed weapon capability ensures those performing official duties–such as law enforcement or security personnel–are not readily identified as being armed.

“The M007 has a smaller frame and is easier to conceal, making it a natural selection to meet the Marine Corps’ conceal carry weapon requirement,” said Gunnery Sgt. Brian Nelson, Individual Weapons project officer at Marine Corps Systems Command.

In coordination with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which adopted the weapon in 2016, the Corps fielded the M007 earlier this year to Marines and civilians in the Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Division, as well as members of Helicopter Squadron One–also known as Marine One.

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Marine Corps Systems Command is equipping Marine and civilian CID agents and members of Helicopter Squadron One with the M007. The M007 offers enhanced concealed carry capabilities, which includes a smaller frame, ambidextrous slide stop lever and flared magazine well. The weapon’s smaller frame makes it easier to conceal, as demonstrated in the photo. (U.S. Marine Corps graphic)

Aside from concealability, the M007 has several physical improvements over its predecessor. The grip lacks finger grooves but has a textured frame, improving the ergonomics of the weapon and providing a consistently comfortable grip with traction for a wider range of users. The ambidextrous slide stop allows for both right- and left-handed use. The magazine release of the M007 can also be changed and the magazine well is flared, making the system easier to reload, said Nelson.

Collaboration between the product team at MCSC and the FBI played a key role in the Corps’ ability to hasten the otherwise lengthy acquisition process.

“The fielding of the M007 is an example of how we can streamline the acquisition process by reviewing another service or agency’s test data to see if it fits the Marine Corps’ need,” said Lt. Col. Paul Gillikin, Infantry Weapons team lead at MCSC. “We received the initial request for a new concealed carry weapon system in April 2016. By collaborating with the FBI, we were able to procure, establish sustainability plans and start fielding the weapon to Marines by May 2017.”

Typically, the acquisition process of a new weapons system–from the time the requirement is received by MCSC to the time the system is fielded to the fleet–takes months, if not years, to complete. By leveraging thorough test data performed by the FBI, MCSC’s team reduced their own testing time. The team also carefully planned to ensure the M007 is fully supported, sustainable, and meets all logistics and safety requirements, enabling MCSC to meet and deliver the concealed carry weapons systems Marines need in a relatively quick turnaround time, said Gillikin.

Program Manager Infantry Weapons, which falls under MCSC’s Ground Combat Element Systems portfolio, manages the concealed carry weapons program for the Marine Corps.

By Ashley Calingo, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication

Marine Corps Reaches Final Stages of Tropical Boot, Uniform Testing

Monday, October 30th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —
The Marine Corps wrapped up its fourth and final field user evaluation for a prototype tropical utility uniform and boots in late September.

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Between June and September, 400 Marines from 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment put the new uniform and three types of boots to the test in a tropical climate. The testing was done in various locations on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

“About four years ago, then Commandant Gen. James Amos directed us to explore tropical uniforms and boots for Marines,” said Todd Towles, program analyst for the Clothing and Equipment Team at Marine Corps Systems Command. “When he became commandant, Gen. [Robert] Neller followed up on the initiative, which brings us to where we are today.”

To date, MCSC has tested five different fabric types and four boots, downselecting to the single uniform fabric and three boot options that 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines tested. The goal of the final FUE was to collect feedback about the durability, fit and function of the prototypes that will be included along with other data in a decision package during the second quarter of fiscal year 2018.

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“When our program office goes out [to conduct a FUE], we talk to the Marines about what we’re testing and why,” Towles said. “We ask them to wear the uniform every day, whether they’re in the field or a classroom. At the end of the FUE, we conduct surveys and focus groups where we inspect the uniforms and talk to the Marines about wear and tear, how the uniform feels on the body and whether or not they could conduct their mission. If it interferes with the mission or training, we want that feedback as well.”

The tropical uniform prototype is made from a lighter-weight material than the current Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform. The fabric is also designed to dry faster and keep Marines cooler in warm climates than the current utilities.

“The tropical uniform is made with the same fiber blend—nylon and cotton—as the MCCUU, but the fabric construction and weight are different,” Towles said. “The tropical uniform is approximately 30 percent lighter than the MCCUU.”

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The uniform also has a slightly heavier, reinforced fabric in the elbow, knee and groin areas to provide higher abrasion resistance against the mountainous terrain and dense vegetation of tropical environments.

“I prefer to wear these over the [current uniform] because they have thinner, lighter material,” said Lance Cpl. Kyle Herzog, an infantryman with 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines. “It’s hot and humid here, and the current ones are thick and not as breathable. Once it’s wet, it’s damp or wet for days at a time. The [new uniform] dries within an hour. For Marines stationed in this environment, new cammies are a must.”

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The boots—designed by three different manufacturers—are intended to have a self-cleaning outsole and dry faster than the current boot. They are also a half pound to one pound lighter than the current boot out of the box, and thus much lighter when wet, Towles said.

“We had several different types [of boots], and all of them dry much faster than the regular boot, and they’re really light, so that’s been a huge combat multiplier for us,” said Battalion Operations Officer Maj. Evan Ota.

Marines could know as early as 2018 whether a new tropical uniform and boots will make their way to the fleet. If so, Marines slated to deploy or already stationed in tropical climates will be the first to have access to the items. The tropical uniforms and boots will be owned by the Marine Expeditionary Force supply and issued for contingency operations. Uniforms and boots could be available for optional purchase by Marines, pending certification.

“What we see throughout the Pacific is it’s a very hot, humid and wet environment with a lot of jungle and mountainous terrain,” Ota said. “So, anything you can do to lighten the load, dry yourself out quicker, take care of your feet and take care of your body definitely adds to your combat effectiveness.”

Article and Photos By Monique Randolph, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Marine Corps Systems Command supports 2017 Modern Day Military Expo

Sunday, September 17th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — Marine Corps Systems Command will support the 37th Annual Modern Day Marine Military Exposition Sept. 19-21 aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

The annual event showcases the latest innovations in military equipment and systems, designed specifically to address the evolving, expeditionary needs of the Marine Corps. During the three-day event, members of industry, military leaders and Marines will have the opportunity to interact with MCSC and Program Executive Officer Land Systems, and experience some of the systems and technology used by Marines in the fleet.


The Target Handoff System Version 2 is one of many pieces of equipment Marine Corps Systems Command will display at Modern Day Marine Military Exposition Sept. 19-21 aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. THS V.2 is a portable system designed for use by dismounted Marines to locate targets, pinpoint global positioning coordinates and call for close air, artillery and naval fire support using secure digital communications. (USAF Photo by SSgt Joe Laws)

Sponsored by the Marine Corps League, the event is intended to nurture the intellectual energy and creativity that will enable the Corps to lead tactical and operational innovation.

“This vital and unique expo plays a large part in helping us communicate to industry about the future acquisition of military equipment, systems, services and technology,” said Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, MCSC commander. “Our goal is to emphasize the importance of critical technologies and capabilities MCSC provides to ensure Marines maintain combat readiness.”

On Sept. 19, MCSC will conduct a Planning Brief to Industry, and PEO LS will present a science and technology brief. MCSC’s Office of Small Business Programs will also conduct small business training sessions. MCSC will also provide interactive displays at the expo to boost visibility for the command and its system capabilities to key decision makers and industry leaders.

The event will also provide attendees an interactive experience with vehicles, weapons systems and other technologies used by Marines. Some of these items will include:

* Ground Radios
* Personal Protective Equipment
* Indoor Simulated Marksmanship Trainer III
* Target Handoff System Version 2
* Individual Water Purification System

“We look forward to seeing our industry partners and fellow Marines at Modern Day Marine, and sharing more about how Marine Corps Systems Command equips Marines and advances the warfighting effectiveness and readiness of the Marine Air Ground Task Force,” Shrader said.

For more information and a full schedule of events, visit the MDMME website.

Amtrackers Get Their Boom Back

Sunday, August 27th, 2017

By Kaitlin Kelly, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — Assault Amphibian Battalions across the Marine Corps are beginning to receive an upgraded mine clearance capability following a series of improvements to make it safer and more efficient to operate.

Known as the MK-154 Mine Clearance System, it is the only amphibious vehicle breaching capability in the Department of Defense that can penetrate coastal defenses with explosive obstacle breaching on land or water.

“The MK-154 was deadlined four years ago after the loss of a Marine ?during a training event,” said Robert Davies, a Safety official with Marine Corps Systems Command. “While certainly the last four years have been spent making the system more reliable and driving down the cost of maintenance, the big driver for the past four years was to ensure that we put out a system that was vastly safer.”


U.S. Marines with 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, fire a MK-154 Launcher Mine Clearance on Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 23, 2017. Marine Corps Systems Command has reengineered the MK-154 with a new hydraulic and electrical system that makes the capability safer, more reliable and cheaper to maintain. (US Marine Corps photo by LCpl Maritza Vela)

Since then, the MK-154 has been reengineered with a new hydraulic and electrical system that makes the capability safer, more reliable and cheaper to maintain.

The upgraded MK-154 Mod 1 includes a self-bleeding hydraulic system and a test system that lets operators know it is safe to fire, according to Capt. Anthony Molnar, project officer for the MK-154/MK-155 at MCSC.

“Before the enhancements, it was difficult to employ the MK-154 due to intrusion of air into the hydraulic system. Air intrusion into the hydraulic system would render it inoperable,” said Molnar, who is also a combat engineer officer.

AAV crewman would have to conduct a lengthy “bleeding” of the hydraulic system in order to push the air out and operate the system. The legacy system also had expensive custom parts and some of the subsystems were antiquated. The legacy MK-154 was fielded in the early 1980s and has been in service in the Marine Corps over 30 years.

“With the upgraded hydraulic system, the MK-154 can operate with air in the hydraulic lines and self-bleed any air out during operation of the system,” said Molnar. “This makes the new system more reliable and reduces time needed to prepare for missions.”

Another new feature is the addition of a capacitor bank to the power distribution box. When the MK-154 is turned on, a crewman will use the AAV power to charge these capacitors. Once charged, the capacitors are used as a backup power source. This makes the new system safer for Marines because it can be fired using the backup power source if the AAV loses power, Molnar said.

Additionally, a new test box and test firing system were added to test the firing circuits of the electric system. The test box and test system are used to simulate live ordnance when plugged into the electric system. Prior to loading live ordnance, AAV crewman plug in the test system and cycle through the firing sequences as if live ordnance were loaded. During this test, the test box will verify that the MK-154 firing circuitry is safe by the illumination of green lights. If there is a fault in the firing circuitry, the test box will indicate a fault with a red light.

“The benefit of this new test box and system is that if there is a misfire during the actual employment of the demolition charges, the AAV crewman knows there is an issue with the ordnance and not the MK-154,” said Molnar. “This allows them to troubleshoot faster and safely complete their missions.”

The test box will fire circuits of the rockets and the linear demolition charges through this system. Marines then cycle through the firing sequence of all the rockets and line charges through the test box, verifying that there are no faults in the firing circuitry.

In all, 47 systems are being fielded across the Corps, primarily to Assault Amphibian Battalions. Fielding is expected to be completed by the end of fiscal year 2018.

“This piece of equipment is giving the [Marine Air-Ground Task Force] the ability to clear the way for amphibious landing on contested beaches,” said Molnar. “These upgrades provide increased efficiency and safety while also making Marines more lethal in combat.”

Marine Corps Explores Deploying 3D Mobile Fab Labs

Wednesday, August 16th, 2017

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. —
The Marine Corps is looking to make additive manufacturing as expeditionary as the operating forces using it.

The X-FAB—which stands for expeditionary fabrication—facility is a self-contained, transportable additive manufacturing lab that can deploy with battalion-level Marine maintenance units. The 20-by-20-foot shelter is collapsible for easier transport, and houses four 3-D printers, a scanner and computer-aided design software system that make quick work of replacement and repair part fabrication.

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Marine Corps Systems Command and Marine Corps Installations and Logistics teamed up with machinists from the 2nd Maintenance Battalion at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, in July to conduct a field user evaluation, or FUE, of a prototype X-FAB. The evaluation will continue through Sept. 1, enabling Marines to test the technology and provide feedback on its capabilities to officials in the requirements and acquisition communities.

“Additive manufacturing is perfectly suited for the machinist community’s mission,” said Ed Howell, program manager for Supply and Maintenance Systems at MCSC. “We don’t know where the technology will take us, but this is a great opportunity to find out what Marines think about it and explore the viability of additive manufacturing for the C7912 Shop Equipment, Machine Shop.”

Shop Equipment, Machine Shop—also known as SEMS—is a deployable shelter equipped with a milling machine, lathe and other tools to quickly repair damaged vehicle parts, weapons and other equipment. The concept is to field X-FAB as a complementary capability for Corps’ intermediate-level maintenance shops that already use SEMS.

In addition to providing an expeditionary additive manufacturing capability, X-FAB can potentially reduce the maintenance battalion’s logistics footprint by eliminating the need to transport large amounts of spare parts, said Master Sgt. Carlos Lemus, staff noncommissioned officer in charge of the Additive Manufacturing and Innovation Cell with 2nd Maintenance Battalion.

“X-FAB will also enable us to better support Marines by getting platforms back in the fight faster,” said Lemus, who took part in the FUE. “We are looking to exploit this capability, because it has the potential to cut out the time it takes to order and receive parts; instead of waiting weeks or a month for a part, our machinists can get the part out by the end of the day.”

X-FAB gives Marines a way to innovate, and make and create their own solutions and ideas—a unique capability that is not available to forward-deployed Marines now, said Lt. Col. Howie Marotto, Additive Manufacturing lead at Marine Corps Installations and Logistics.

“In a contested environment where ships cannot easily land, or airplanes cannot necessarily fly in and deliver goods, Marines need a way to support themselves—at least temporarily,” Marotto said. “The deployable X-FAB would give them another outlet to supply themselves until the regular logistics or supply chain can support them. In some cases, they can even create a capability they didn’t have before, like 3-D-printed drones.”

The X-FAB shelter runs on generator or shore power, and takes a team of four Marines two to three hours to set up. It weighs about 10,500 pounds fully equipped, and for now can be transported via a commercial flatbed truck. Future testing will explore transportability options with Marine Corps vehicles, said Ted Roach, a program analyst in MCSC’s Supply and Maintenance Systems.

Today, X-FAB is purely experimental and exploratory, funded by Department of Defense research and development dollars, Roach said. Throughout the course of the FUE, MCSC will solicit feedback from Marines on everything from the size and layout of the shelter, and capability of the printers and software, to the quality of the printing materials and finished products. That feedback will be used to improve the equipment for future evaluations and inform the acquisition strategy for X-FAB.

Future efforts for X-FAB experimentation will include incorporating it into joint exercises and deploying it aboard ship to explore options for shipboard integration, Roach said.

“We plan to integrate X-FAB into various environments and see what’s within the realm of possibilities,” he said. “With additive manufacturing, you’re only limited by the size of your printer and your imagination.”

By Monique Randolph, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command