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Archive for the ‘MARCORSYSCOM’ Category

New Vehicle-mounted Electronic Tech Enables Marines to Combat Threats

Thursday, March 14th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Marine Corps Systems Command plans to implement a new form of technology that allows the Marine Air-Ground Task Force to identify enemy activity.

The technology employs a vehicle-borne tool that enables Marines to discern what happens inside the electromagnetic spectrum. It connects several independent electronic capabilities into a single unit and allows Marines to manage threats and reactions from a central location.

“Marines are going to be able to make decisions on what they are seeing,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Dono, a team lead in MCSC’s Command Elements Systems.

Marines currently use systems to counter IEDs that block signals used by adversaries to remotely detonate explosive devices. The new technology is a man-packable and vehicle-mounted system, which will be able to be deployed on any Marine vehicle.

“This emergent technology combines a number of current capabilities into one system, thereby reducing the need for additional training and logistic support to manage multiple systems,” said Col. Dave Burton, program manager for Intelligence Systems at MCSC.

Once fielded, the system will enhance situational awareness on the battlefield.

“We will be able to do all of the functions of similar systems as well as sense and then display what is going on in the electronic spectrum,” said Dono. “Then we can communicate that to Marines for their decision-making process.”

MCSC is taking an evolutionary approach that allows the command to field the equipment faster and then gradually improve the capability as time progresses, Dono said. As the technology evolves, the Marine Corps can make incremental improvements as needed.

The Corps will work with Marines to test a variety of displays that track the electromagnetic spectrum, looking into each display’s user interface. The command can then determine if improvements must be made to ensure usability.

“It’s similar to what Apple does with the iPhone,” explained Dono. “They have many different displays and they want to make it natural and intuitive, so it’s not something that’s clunky, confusing and has to be learned.”

MCSC plans to field the vehicle-mounted system around the first quarter of 2020. When implemented, the equipment will continue to grow in capability to better prepare Marines to take on the digital battlefield.

“This system is important because it is going to allow Marines to operate inside the electromagnetic spectrum, make decisions and act upon that information,” said Dono. “That’s something they’ve never had to consider or think about in the past.”

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Marine Corps seeks ideas, information for Optical Communication Transmission System

Wednesday, March 6th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Marine Corps Systems Command released a Request for Information March 5, to identify a non-developmental solution to provide a complete Line of Sight Optical Communication Transmission System.

A U.S. Marine with Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Africa performs a radio check during a training event with German soldiers in Seedorf, Germany, Dec. 6, 2018. Marine Corps Systems Command released a Request for Information March 5, to identify a non-developmental solution to provide a complete Line of Sight Optical Communication Transmission System. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt Katelyn Hunter)

According to the RFI, released on the Federal Business Opportunities website, the OCTS system must be capable of providing a high-bandwidth transmission path used for voice, video and data communications.

For program officials, this capability will consolidate capabilities into a complete LOS transmission capability.

“The adage, ‘Move, shoot, communicate’ hasn’t changed, but how we communicate is rapidly changing,” said Maj. Eric Holmes, MCSC project officer. “Given the rapid pace of innovation in technology, the Marine Corps is currently evaluating maturing capabilities.”

Optical communications support greater bandwidth, and provide additional relief for frequency allocations in an already constrained spectrum.

“The Marine Corps is turning to industry to help rapidly develop and field this technology to protect vital command and control emissions from advanced adversaries,” Holmes said.   

Responses to the RFI must be received by 1 p.m. on March 19.

By Maj Kenneth Kunze, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Marine Corps Seeks ideas, information on Organic Precision Fires-Mounted capability

Saturday, February 23rd, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

Marine Corps Systems Command released a Request for Information it hopes goes beyond traditional defense partners to gain an innovative edge for a potential Organic Precision Fires-Mounted capability.

U.S. Marine Cpl. Hunter Badgett orients his target prior to calling for fire from a Light Armoured Vehicle as part of exercise Joint Assault Signals Company Black, Waiouru Military Camp, New Zealand, Sept. 27, 2018. Marine Corps Systems Command recently released a Request for Information for a potential Organic Precision Fires-Mounted capability. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Jordan E. Gilbert)

According to the RFI, released on the Federal Business Opportunities website Jan. 31, the OPF-M system must be capable of attacking targets at ranges that exceed weapons systems currently in an organic infantry battalion.

For program officials, this is the first step toward developing a future acquisition strategy that may include a Family of Systems—or even a tiered capability for maneuver units.

“The OPF-M will enhance indirect fire capability within the Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion,” said Jeff Nebel, team lead for Program Manager Fires.   

The OPF-M is consistent with Marine Corps Operating concepts and the commandant’s priorities to modernize the force with investments in long-range and precision fires. OPF-M enhances the ability of maneuver and provides the LAR community the ability to shape the battlespace with an organic fire support asset.

The program office anticipates development of the OPF-M system to begin in 2020. The initial capability will also consist of several subsystems, including an aerial reconnaissance, surveillance and target acquisition platform, a vehicle-launched loitering aerial munition, and a digital command and control system.

“Organic Precision Fires has the ability to transform how we fight,” Nebel said. “We are committed to giving our Marines the systems they require to maintain their superiority over any adversary.”

Responses to the RFI must be received by March 1. An industry day is scheduled for March 13-14.

By Barb Hamby, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

MCTSSA Briefs Industry Leaders During Partnership Event

Friday, February 22nd, 2019

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.— Marines, engineers and technical experts from Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity hosted nearly 200 business leaders from across the country during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6, aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.


Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity hosted nearly 200 business leaders during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. (Photo Illustration courtesy of U.S. Marine Corps)

The one-day event highlighted current technical objectives and associated challenges involved in supporting the command, control, communications and computers—or C4—systems used by expeditionary warfighters.

“The mutually beneficial partnership between private industry and the United States Marine Corps is our competitive advantage,” said Col. Robert Bailey, MCTSSA commanding officer. “Our talented business partners will be the ones creating the next generation of C4 systems, which must integrate seamlessly with the Marines operating at the tactical edge of the network.”

Specific areas discussed were, cybersecurity testing, wireless technology, advanced manufacturing, cloud computing, naval systems integration, automated testing, systems engineering, system and system of systems testing, data link analysis, tactical networking, and United States Marine Corps Operating Forces technical support.


Industry partners gathered with MCTSSA subject matter experts during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

“MCTSSA is doing some exceptional 21st century work for our Marine Corps,” said APBI participant and marketing director Greg Goodman. “This was a superb event.”

Other participants sought to gain knowledge of the technologies and processes that are important to the United States Marine Corps.

“MCTSSA and industry are trying to solve the same problems, there is a significant opportunity for cooperation if a business model can be worked out,” said James Valentine, a business development director.


Col. Robert Bailey (left), MCTSSA commanding officer, spoke with business leaders during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

Technical briefs were conducted at various locations throughout the MCTSSA compound and put the command’s subject experts in direct contact with their business counterparts.

“I’ve been able to learn more about command requirements and how Hewlett Packard Enterprise can assist,” said Ray McCrea, an account manager and APBI participant. “By starting that dialogue and meeting these contacts, I’ve accomplished my goal here today.”

Hearing directly from requirements officers was beneficial to many of the industry participants.

“Partnerships are vital in creating win-win relationships,” said APBI participant Wil Granados. “I am extremely supportive of these type of events and would like to see more in the future.”


Buck Connally (right), a MCTSSA subject matter expert, briefs industry leaders on joint interoperability of tactical command and control systems during an Advanced Planning Briefing to Industry Feb. 6 aboard Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

MCTSSA leadership echoed similar sentiments.

“Cultivating and enhancing our relationship with industry will become even more essential as our nation faces new and evolving threats from a strategic and asymmetric adversary,” said Bailey. “We must make Marines more capable, enabling combatant commanders’ real-time command and control superiority and this industry event helps us strive to do just that.”

Business leaders taking part in the event equally expressed the importance of the day.

“These are valuable interchanges for industry,” said Valentine. “It ties industry into the Marine user through MCTSSA and will help steer our investment.”

MCTSSA, an elite, full-scale laboratory facility operated by the Marine Corps, is a subordinate command of Marine Corps Systems Command. MCTSSA provides test and evaluation, engineering, and deployed technical support for Marine Corps and joint service command, control, computer, communications and intelligence systems throughout all acquisition life-cycle phases.

Story and Photos By Sky M. Laron, Public Affairs Officer, MCTSSA

Marine Corps Awards OTAs to Assess Handheld Targeting Capabilities

Friday, December 14th, 2018

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —
Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded four Other Transaction Authorities to assess industry’s capability to produce a Next Generation Handheld Targeting System that is compact, rugged and lightweight.

The use of OTAs were approved by Congress in 2016 as a procurement method to pay for prototypes and to use nontraditional defense companies to spur innovation.

The OTAs were awarded to BAE Systems, Elbit Systems of America, Fraser Optics and Northrop Grumman Systems Corporation. The four companies will explore possibilities focused on the following criteria:

-The system’s overall ergonomics for supporting forward deployed, foot mobile users
-Target recognition, location and designation ranges during day and night operations
-The ability to integrate the system with the Target Handoff System Version 2 to view and manipulate target information
-Technological maturity, manufacturability and value engineering
-Sustainability at the operational user level

The Next Generation Handheld Targeting System, or NGHTS, is a single, lightweight, man-portable system that enables Marines to quickly acquire targets; perform guidance of against targets; and generate target location data during combat operations.

“During the first phase, the four awarded companies will explore potential system capabilities and provide Marine Corps Systems Command with an in-depth study of the best solution for our Marines at the best price,” said Megan Full, contract specialist supporting Program Manager Fires at MCSC. “We will collect the findings by the second quarter of fiscal year 2019 and choose one or more vendors to move onto phase two where they will develop and demonstrate prototypes.”

Currently, the Marine Corps uses four legacy systems: the Portable Lightweight Designator Rangefinder, Joint Terminal Attack Controller, Laser Target Designator and Thermal Laser Spot Imager. The intent is for NGHTS to replace all four systems.

“For the last four years, we have worked diligently to explore an option that condenses the legacy versions into one lightweight system with a reliable power supply that is rugged enough to throw onto a Marine’s pack,” said Jeff Nebel, Fire Support Coordination Team lead, PM Fires.

“The NGHTS will combine all of the legacy capabilities into one system that is compatible with both current and future fire support systems, and will support the Marine Corps for the next 15 to 20 years.”

“The NGHTS will be an important advancement because it is planned to reduce the current weight of the laser designation and laser spot imaging capability by 60 percent, which will increase the mobility and lethality of our fire support-focused Marines,” said Maj. Nathan Morales, Targeting Systems project officer, PM Fires. “This capability is focused on our ability to fight in the compartmentalized terrain outlined in the Marine Operating Concept.”

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

Armor Express Wins Competitive Soft Armor Contract Award to Supply Gen III Ballistics to the U.S. Marine Corps with a Maximum Value of $59.4 Million

Wednesday, October 31st, 2018

CENTRAL LAKE, MI, October 30, 2018 – Central Lake Armor Express, Inc. (“Armor Express”), a leading manufacturer and distributor of high-performance armor solutions, today announced that it has been awarded a multi-year, firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract from the Marine Corps Systems Command (Contract #: M67854-19-D-1509). The contract was competitively procured as a total small business set-aside, with a potential value of $59.4 million. Under the terms of the award, the Company will provide up to 65,469 Plate Carrier Generation III – Soft Armor Inserts and data reports, with production expected to be completed by October 2023.

Jim Henderson, Chief Executive Officer of the holding company that owns both Armor Express and KDH Defense Systems stated, “It is our extreme honor to be chosen by the U.S. Marine Corps for this prestigious award, and we thank them for the trust they have placed in us. We also commend ongoing efforts by the U.S. Armed Forces to develop lighter body armor systems, while improving the modularity and flexibility of plate carriers deployed in the field. It is the servicemen and women who ultimately benefit, and all of us at Armor Express and KDH Defense Systems, stand ready to deliver.”

Mr. Henderson added, “With the recent contract extensions KDH received for the Modular Scalable Vest and Blast Pelvic Protection, along with this most recent ballistic protection award for Armor Express, we have secured over $140.0 million of potential business with the U.S. Armed Forces over the past two months. Working in tandem with our supply chain and technology partners, it remains our goal to provide all customers with the most advanced, lightweight and comfortable protection, supported by unparalleled delivery and service.”

The Company intends to leverage the manufacturing capabilities of KDH Defense Systems and will produce the ballistic armor at KDH’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Eden, North Carolina.

www.armorexpress.com

USMC Awards Vertical Protective Apparel $62 Million Contract For Gen III Plate Carriers

Thursday, September 27th, 2018

Yesterday, the US Marine Corps awarded Vertical Protective Apparel, LLC, of Shrewsbury, New Jersey, a $62,612,464 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract to produce and deliver the PC Gen IIIs. A maximum quantity of 225,886 will be delivered, and the work will be completed by September 2023.

“The legacy carrier fit the span of the Marine Corps, but this new system is more tailorable to fit Marines of various sizes with three new smaller-stature options,” said Flora “Mackie” Jordan, body armor engineer for the Infantry Combat Equipment Team at MCSC. “We wanted to give as much mobility back to Marines as possible by reducing the weight and bulk of the vest without decreasing ballistic protection. We were able to reduce the weight of the vest by 25 percent.”

The goal was to lighten the load Marines carry to reduce fatigue and improve their operational capability in the field. A few new features of the PC Gen III contributed to the weight reduction.

Excess material was removed from the shoulders and about an inch-and-a-half was taken from the bottom, which provides better integration with the USMC Pack. The team also chose a laminated laser cut material that only absorbs seven percent of water compared to 70 percent with the legacy system.

“We made sure to get the best system for our Marines, which included choosing the best lightweight soft armor and the best quality when it comes to the cut and sew of the carrier,” said Mackie.

While conducting research, MCSC discovered Marines are eight percent faster when the PC Gen III systems were combined with prototype lightweight plates, compared to the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts. They also found Marines could remove and reassemble the vest in less than three seconds.

“With the old system, it took about seven seconds to take it off, and 10 minutes to reassemble,” said project officer Capt. Frank Coppola, Infantry Weapons at MCSC who helped test the vests. “The new quick release works a hundred times better. It has a vastly improved quick detach system for Marines to act fast while on missions.”

The PC Gen III is less bulky and easier for Marines to move in, especially when working in tight spaces. An inner vest was also added to increase modularity of the system. Marines can adjust it to meet the requirements and environment of their particular mission.

“Our vests have come a long way over the past 15 years, and the reduced weight and increased mobility is huge,” Coppola said. “The fact that we can decrease the size of the vest and still be protected is the key.”

Infantry, school house, and Reconnaissance Marines, along with vehicle crewmen and combat engineers will receive the vests when fielding begins in the third quarter of fiscal year 2019.

Information provided by the MARCORSYSCOM PAO contributed significantly to this report, particularly the quotes from PM-ICE.

USMC Seeks New Lightweight Hard Armor Plates

Wednesday, August 15th, 2018

Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC), Portfolio Manager (PfM), Ground Combat Element Systems (GCES), Program Manager (PM) Infantry Combat Equipment (ICE) released a sources sought notice seeking information regarding industry’s capability to produce a Berry Amendment compliant lightweight hard armor plate.

For years, the current Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert (ESAPI) has protected Marines, and other service members from harm, but they are relatively heavy, having been designed well over a decade ago. The Marine Corps wants to leverage advancements in armor protection.

MCSC’s Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad Team tested a selection of currently available commercial armor plates through the Marine Corps Load Effects Assessment Program course wearing all of their combat gear. MERS discovered that a lightweight hard armor plate in the range they are seeking will increase the mobility of Marines by 8 percent. It is envisioned that these new plates will be used woth the upcoming Plate Carrier Gen III, expected to begin fielding in 2019.

Over the past year, PM ICE conducted an analysis of more than 200 commercial plate designs from 38 different companies to see what type of armor is possible. However, according to the notice, there’s no actual requirement written yet, so it is important that industry respond to this Request for Information in order to inform the requirement.

According to PM ICE, the lightweight hard armor plate should:

– Provide two-shot ballistic protection from non-armor piercing rounds that are currently prevalent in counter-insurgency operations and other low intensity threat environments.
o Rounds primarily fired by sniper rifles will be tested at a velocity expected at 100m-200m standoff.
o One shot will be in the crown location at 0-degrees obliquity; the other shot will be at off-center locations at 30-degrees obliquity.
o Meet back-face deformations less than 58 mm.

– Conform to ESAPI shape and area of coverage.
– Possess a thickness that is the same or less than current ESAPI.
– Possess an areal density of 3.75 pounds/square foot (Objective) to 5.16 pounds/square foot (Threshold).

Additionally, vendors should be able to produce a minimum of 40,000 lightweight armor plates within a year of First Article Test approval, which is expected 180 days after contract award, once the solicitation is released.

Responses are required by 7 September 2018, 12:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (sic).

Visit www.fbo.gov for full details.

USMC photo and video.