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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.

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.

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

The Marine Corps wrapped up its fourth and final field user evaluation for a prototype tropical utility uniform and boots in late September.


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.


“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.”


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.”


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

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.


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

USMC Issues Notice of Intent To Sole Source Purchase Up To 50,814 M27 IAR From H&K

Sunday, August 13th, 2017

Back in February, MARCORSYSCOM issued an RFI to industry seeking companies capable of manufacturing the 5.56mm NATO M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, designed by German manufacturer Heckler & Koch and based on their HK416 rifle. Based on internal evaluations, the Marine Corps had determined that it wanted to expand use of the M27 within the rifle squad. Released under the guise of “market research”, “Request for Information (RFI) M67854-17-I-1218 For Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM), Quantico, VA Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR)” was used to create a a sole-source “Justification and Approval” in order to purchase the rifles directly from manufacturer H&K without going for an open solicitation. Although several companies who manufacture 416 clones answered the RFI, MARCORSYSCOM evaluated those submissions, and determined that only H&K was capable of producing the weapon they had adopted as the M27.

Late last week, MARCORSYSCOM released Notice of Intent to Sole Source – M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR). Based on that earlier RFI, it found only one Responsible Source (based on (FAR 6302.1 (a)(2)(ii)) and intends to solicit and negotiate with Heckler & Koch (H&K), for up to 50,814 – M27 Infantry Automatic Rifles (IAR).

Companies who still feel they can meet the Marine Corps’ needs may submit a capability statement, proposal, or quotation, which shall be considered by the agency, only if received by the closing date and time of this notice. A determination not to compete the proposed requirement based upon the responses to this notice is solely within the discretion of the Government. They’ve got until 08/28/2017 to state their case.

Some of you may remember that RFI, which specified 11,000 rifles. Many attempted mental gymnastics to explain how just 11,000 rifles could possibly be enough to equip the Marine Corps. However, I maintained that the figure was just a nice round number, based on H&K’s annual production capacity from a study performed during the initial M27 purchase. Based on the scuttlebutt I was hearing, I knew the actual number would be much higher. While 50,000 guns isn’t enough to pure fleet the Marines, it does support the premise, “Every Marine might be a Rifleman, but every Marine isn’t an Infantryman.” These are going to select Marines. Perhaps they’ll buy more down the road. Remember, it did take a long time to transition from M16s to M4s.

With the US Army just releasing their own solicitation for ~50,000 examples of 7.62mm Interim Combat Service Rifle, and a 417 variant being a favorite after adoption of the G28 as the Compact Semi Auto Sniper System and the ensuing directed requirement for 6,069 rifles in the Squad Designated Marksman role, it puts H&K in an interesting position. They’ve won the French Army’s rifle program with the 416, developed and are offering the 433 for the German Bundeswehr’s G36 replacement, and now face production of over 50,000 M27s for the Marines. That’s a lot of requirement for H&K’s factory in Oberdorf, Germany. I’m not saying they can’t do it, but delivery expectations for customers will have to be very carefully managed. Some in industry have posited that this Marine solicitation will take them out of the ICSR running. Time will tell.

For those of you under the impression that H&K as-yet-uncompleted factory in Columbus, Georgia will be used to manufactured CSASS, SDMR, IAR or ICSR, it won’t. As of right now, H&K’s vision is that factory will not be used to build defense products.

The Marine Corps is modernizing its service rifle to the M27, a fulfillment of a plan many feel was set in motion when it was first selected as a squad-level replacement for the M249 in 2010.

Marine Corps Is Looking At Commercially Available Suppressors, Issues Sources Sought Notice To Industry

Thursday, August 10th, 2017

Last week, the Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) issued a Sources Sought Notice, often also referred to a Request For Information (RFI) to industry for commerically available suppressors for the 5.56mm NATO M4, M4A1, and M27. The RFI is an important step in developing a realistic requirement which leads to a solicitation and eventually, procurement.

Marine Gunner Christian Wade (seen above) has been a big advocate of suppressing Marine weapons, even producing videos to educate Marines of their true capabilities. It’s good to see the Marines catching up with his vision.

They’ve certainly done their homework and have developed quite a list of what they are looking for. Additionally, they are keeping their options open, stating that future procurement quantities of suppressors could span between 18,000 and 194,000.

According to the RFI, at a minimum, suppressors should meet the following requirements:

1. The suppressor should be capable of detachment/attachment and disassembly/ reassembly by an operator in the field without the use of special tools for normal care and cleaning.

2. Suppressor should enable a noise level of 139 decibels or lower at either of the shooters ears.

3. Suppressor should be a design that minimizes the change in the host rifle internal operating system dynamics.

4. Suppressor may be of the over the barrel, or flush mount design and should not be longer than 20″ total barrel length (threshold), 18″ (objective).

5. Suppressor should be of the quick detachable design. A special muzzle device may be attached (by a unit Armorer) to the OEM weapon in order to facilitate installation and removal by an operator.

6. Must be able to withstand the sustained rate of the M27 IAR (capable of a rate of fire of 36 rounds per minute for 16 minutes, 40 seconds with firing starting at ambient temperature for a 600 round load).

7. The entire suppressor and muzzle device should weigh no more than 18 oz.

8. The use of the suppressor should not increase the dispersion of each respective weapon. It is acceptable for the weapon to experience a repeatable shift in the zero between unsuppressed and suppressed operating modes, but that shift should not exceed 3 MOA for each respective weapon.

9. The suppressed weapon should retain its dispersion through the life of the barrel (objective of 24,000 rounds)

10. The suppressor system is not required to have an internal projectile pathway which is the usual industry standard for a 5.56mm diameter round. The internal bullet channel may be larger than is typical of current suppressor designs. In other words, the suppressor may be able to be employed on multiple calibers (i.e. A059 Ball, AB49, AC12, AB57 etc.) without any modification to the suppressor. This attribute not only facilitates future caliber/weapon capabilities, but could also mitigate baffle strikes.

11. Suppressor should function with all Department of Defense Identification Code (DODIC) 5.56 mm ammunition, including A059 Ball, A063 Tracer, A080 Blank, AA33 Ball, AA53 Ball Special Match, AA69 Armor Piercing, AB49 Ball Carbine barrier, AC12 and AB57 Enhanced Performance Round.

12. Suppressor should not require permanent configuration changes to the weapon system.

13. Suppressor should not inhibit the mounting or operation of the M203 or M320 grenade launchers (objective).

14. Suppressor should not require the addition of a gas mitigating charging handle.

15. Should be able to accept a suppressor sleeve in order to reduce thermal signatures and mitigate operator burns.

16. All suppressor external surfaces should have a dull, low-reflective finish (to include pins, bolts, lanyards, sight posts, etc.). The external color of the system should be consistent with current camouflage colors and patterns.

18. The suppressor material should be able to accept approved USMC paint (e.g. rattle-can spray paint).

19. Suppressor should be resistant to corrosion, abrasion, impacts and chemicals, including standard Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear (CBRN) decontaminants.

20. The suppressor should resist maritime corrosion and/or effects of carbon/copper/lead fouling.
• MIL-L-46000C – Lubricant, Semi-fluid (Automatic Weapons)
• MIL-PRF-372D – Cleaning Compound, Solvent (Bore of Small Arms and Automatic Aircraft Weapons)
• MIL-PRF-14107D – Lubricating Oil, Weapons, Low Temperature
• MIL-PRF-63460D – Lubricant, Cleaner and Preservative for Weapons and Weapons Systems

22. The suppressor should not require a more frequent cleaning schedule than the weapon system.

23. The system, with suppressor attached should continue to operate and safely function after exposure to blowing dust, mud, salt fog, rain, and icing/freezing rain environments as specified in US Army Development Test Operations Procedure (TOP) 3-2-045 (Small Arms – Hand and Shoulder Weapons and Machineguns) dated Sep 2007.

24. The system, with suppressor attached should be able to withstand the shock from a user performing individual movement techniques in combat, and the vibrations of being transported in standard military aircraft and ground vehicles as loose cargo, without degradation of performance.

25. The system, with suppressor attached should continue to safely function after being dropped in any orientation from a 1.7 meter height onto a smooth concrete or steel surface at temperatures ranging from -25º Fahrenheit (F) to 140º F. The addition of the suppressor on the weapon system should not result in a discharge when dropped from this height.

26. The system, with suppressor attached should safely function through a temperature range of -25º F to +140º F without degradation of performance.

27. In addition to the suppressor, request information on the ability of industry to provide a BFA type suppressor (that looks like, operates like and weighs the same as the live fire suppressor). This BFA type suppressor should be capable of catching a live 5.56mm round. This BFA suppressor should also be easily distinguished as a training device only.

Those interested in providing information to MARCORSYSCOM have until September 6th.  Visit www.fbo.gov for full details. 

Marine Corps to Deliver Reinforced Pack Frames as Early as 2018

Thursday, August 3rd, 2017

Grunts know a good ruck frame has got to last. That’s why a project team at Marine Corps Systems Command has developed a more durable pack frame; one that will better support the U.S. Marine Corps Pack that has been fielded to the operating forces since 2011.

The operational force will soon begin receiving a stronger, more durable pack frame designed to endure extreme temperatures, as well as wear and tear. The reinforced U.S. Marine Corps Pack Frame provides the same form, fit and function as the current frame, with stronger materials for both horizontal and vertical load-bearing support. These improvements were made in response to feedback from Marines who reported pack frame failures in extreme cold weather environment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Bryan Nygaard)

The operational force will soon begin receiving a stronger, more durable pack frame designed to endure extreme temperatures, as well as wear and tear. The reinforced U.S. Marine Corps Pack Frame provides the same form, fit and function as the current frame, with stronger materials for both horizontal and vertical load-bearing support. These improvements were made in response to feedback from Marines who reported pack frame failures in extreme cold weather environment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Bryan Nygaard)

The reinforced U.S. Marine Corps Pack Frame provides the same form, fit and function as the legacy frame, but with stronger materials for both horizontal and vertical load-bearing support.

“At Marine Corps Systems Command we continually monitor progress and work to identify new ways to increase performance and durability of the pack system,” said Capt. Jolanta Krempin, a project officer for Infantry Combat Equipment. “The Marine is at the center of everything we do and their feedback is always considered with acute interest regarding acquisition programs and capabilities.”

The acquisition command first learned of pack frames issues back in 2013, when Marines from School of Infantry-West noted a small number of frames were breaking. The program office proactively began rigorous laboratory testing on a reinforced pack frame, and then tested it with Recon units to assess its durability during airborne operations. Results were positive, said a program official.

Additional legacy pack frame breakages were reported during the winter of 2015 and 2016, as Marines participated in cold weather training at the Mountain Warfare Training Center in California, and coalition exercises in Norway. According to feedback from Marines, there were issues with legacy pack frames becoming brittle and snapping.

To assess the reinforced frame’s durability in arctic environments, MCSC flew in a half a dozen program officials last winter, who handed out dozens of reinforced frame prototypes to members of a unit deployed to Norway.

“We took the feedback we got and used it to inform how we could best reinforce the pack frame, while avoiding substantial weight increase or changes in fit and form,” said Mackie Jordan, ICE engineer.

Currently, MCSC is conducting additional environmental and field testing for a more comprehensive evaluation of the reinforced frame’s performance in extreme-cold temperatures. Testing will also investigate other causes of the legacy frame’s failures to mitigate potential issues with the reinforced frame.

“The reinforced frame is being tested in both constant cold temperature environments, as well as changing temperature environments,” said Jordan. “Future testing may include hot-to-cold/cold-to-hot testing to simulate rapid temperature changes during jump operations.”

During testing, frames will be subjected to an extreme cold temperature of 0° +/- 2° Fahrenheit for a period of one week. For each test, the frame will, at a minimum, be assessed for cracking, fatigue, or stress marks and cracking noises during flexibility testing.

Fielding of the reinforced frames is planned to begin in fiscal year 2018. Over time, as legacy frames meet a to-be-determined “expiration date,” they will be replaced with the reinforced frames, eliminating issues related to aging.

By Emily Greene, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command