Archive for September, 2009


Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

The FAS (Full Action, Sealed) Bag from NEMO Special Operations Shelters is designed as a semi-disposable water-proof weapon bag that maintains the ability to put the weapon into action from inside the bag.


The FAS Bag was designed to accommodate a suppressor equipped weapon and has heat resistant panels at the suppressor and ejection port. Additionally, the bag comes with a no-slip Hypalon shoulder strap. The shoulder strap is also used to tighten the bag around the weapon in order to secure excess material. A newly released version features a clear window for an ATPIAL equipped weapon. NEMO suggests that users practice extensively with the weapon in order to gain confidence with it before placing it into action. The weapon remains dry via a roll top closure that is secured with a side-release buckle.

FAS Bag Closure

Bags are currently available for the MP7 (shown) and M4 carbine. The FAS Bags are available from ADS.

USMC Awards IMTV/Plate Carrier Contracts

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Carter Enterprises, Brooklyn, N.Y. is being awarded an estimated maximum value $414,427,770 firm-fixed price, indefinite- delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for plate carriers, improved modular tactical vests and associated spare and repair parts. An initial delivery order in the amount of $78,936,987 will be issued.
Work will be performed in Brooklyn, N.Y. (77 percent); Sunrise, Fla.,(23 percent), and work is expected to be completed September 2014. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The Marine Corps Systems Command (M67854), Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-09-D-3001).

KDH Defense Systems, Johnstown, Pa. is being awarded an estimated maximum value $380,260,385 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for plate carriers, improved modular tactical vests and associated spare and repair parts. An initial delivery order in the amount of $88,732,482 will be issued. Work will be performed in Eden, N.C., (33 percent); Johnstown, Pa.,(22 percent); Lares, P.R., (30 percent); Mayaguez, P.R., (10 percent); Fenton, Mo., (5 percent), and work is expected to be completed September 2014. Contract funds will expire at the end of the current fiscal year.
The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Va., is the contracting activity (M67854-09-D-3000).

These contracts were awarded as result of a competitive Historically Underutilized Business Zone (HUBZone) small business set-aside. Proposals were solicited via FedBizOpps, with 14 offers (one for the PC and one for the IMTV) were received from seven different HUBZone Certified Small Businesses.

It appears that Carter will utilize PPI as a sub and KDH will rely on assistance from ATK’s Eagle Industries division. In the case of KDH/ATK it seems to be a beneficial relationship as they also captured a portion of the Army’s IOTV contract last month.

Finally, it is important to note that the IMTV is a Government design. Additionally, the Plate Carrier referenced in the contract awards was until recently known as the “Improved Scalable Plate carrier” and the name has been changed to simply Plate Carrier. While this is also a Marine Corps design it is based on an improved version of the Scalable Plate Carrier produced by Eagle Industries for the USMC.

These awards were announced on 28 September by DoD.

Popular Mechanics Takes on Disaster

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

It seems like everyone is focused on Disaster Preparedness these days. For example, just last week saw the season finale of the Discovery Channel’s “The Colony”. It seems that in the wake of natural disasters and a near economic melt down, folks are interested in taking care of themselves and the October 2009 issue of Popular Mechanics takes it on.

Popular Mechanics Beyond Survival

One of the more interesting articles covers unusual survival kit essentials. Number one on the list? Beer. According to magazine publisher Trey Click, who survived last year’s Hurricane Ike in Galveston, Texas. “It’s one of the only things you can use for money in the aftermath.”

Here are just a few of the other articles in this issue:

• TIMELINE: An Illustrated History of Self-Reliance
• EARLIER: How to Make Biodiesel out of Kitchen Grease
• OFF-THE-GRID: Alaska’s Hidden Model for Clean Energy
• DIY HOME: How to Build a Raised Garden Bed (With Plans!)
• PLUS: Has Affordable, Efficient Rooftop Wind Power Arrived?

Ecotat Multi-Purpose Sleeping Bags – On Sale

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Ecotat Systems Company has been around for over 25 years producing specialized sleeping and shelter systems. In fact, they are so specialized that you probably never heard of them. They have produced shelter and sleep systems for Marine Force Recon, Army Long Range Surveillance and Special Forces units as well as for inclusion in Army and Air Force survival kits. In fact, the multi-purpose sleeping bags carry NSNs for units wishing to purchase them through the standard stock system. Contact Ecotat at the email address below if there are any questions. Until the end of October individual sales are offered a 30% discount from MSRP.

Ecotat Multi-Purpose Sleeping Bags

What makes Ecotat’s products so innovative is that one item fulfills the functions of many. As I discussed earlier, foot mobile units who find themselves regularly in austere environments have adopted the shelter and sleep systems. The multi-purpose sleeping bag pulls duty not only as a mummy style bag but also can be worn as a long “great” coat, short “anorak” coat, poncho-style or unzipped it takes the place of a poncho liner. By utilizing the head hole and stepping into the body of the bag the wearer retains full mobility of his head and his hands are free to operate weapons and night vision devices from defensive positions.

Ecotat Multi-Purpose Sleeping Bag as an Anorak

I have used Ecotat products extensively in the past and I personally recommend them. For someone operating in Afghanistan, the multi-purpose sleeping bag is a great option. It not only provides provisions for sleeping but can also makes insulated clothing items redundant in the load. What’s more, the bag was designed with combat lessons learned in mind. Ecotat president Dick Hailsip is a retired Colonel of Marines and engineered practical features into the design such a zipper that will rapidly open in an emergency and the adjustable hem that accommodates not only static guard duty but also is adjustable for stride when worn during foot mobile operations.

Ecotat Sleeping Bag Adjustable Hem

As a special offer to Soldier Systems Daily readers, Ecotat is conducting an end of fiscal year close out on solid colors of their Cold Weather (0 degree) and Desert (35 degree) bags. This offer is good now through the end of October and they will be be discounted 30% from retail pricing.

Ecotat Multi-Purpose Sleeping Bag in UCP

Both bags are available in regular (82″) and long (86″) lengths and are Berry compliant. They feature Taffeta shells and linings that are water and mildew resistant. The insulation is a silicon coated continuous filament fiber that is laminated directly to the shell to avoid cold spots and does not absorb water. The solid colors include Coyote Brown, Black, and OD. However, they also have light blue and purple for those interested in using the bags for civilian use. The lining comes standard in Black but Ecotat can accommodate custom orders as well. Naturally, Ecotat offers the multi-purpose sleeping bags in Woodland, UCP, and Woodland MARPAT but these colors are currently available at full price.

Ecotat does not normally sell direct so to take advantage of this offer contact them via email for instructions.

35 Deg Bag NSN: 8415-01-416-6216
0 Deg Bag NSN: 8415-01-417-4001

The Tactical Assault Panel

Monday, September 28th, 2009

Many of you noticed a reference to the Tactical Assault Panel or TAP being issued to the Afghanistan camouflage test battalions.

Tactical Assault Panel

Here is a little bit of background on this developmental item.

The bib-like TAP is a product improvement that attaches to the Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) or Outer Tactical Vest (OTV) giving Soldiers the ability to attach Modular Lightweight Load-bearing Equipment (MOLLE) basic fighting load pouches to the TAP, as opposed to directly to the IOTV or OTV. It is easily donned and doffed allowing the Soldier to quickly reduce the girth of his load by removing the TAP from his armor.

The intent is to issue the TAP in addition to or in lieu of the Fighting Load Carrier once an assessment has been completed. An in-theater User Evaluation began in 4QFY09 and PEO-Soldier will be making adjustments to the TAP based on that feedback.

Bobro Standard Vertical Grip

Sunday, September 27th, 2009

Bobro VFG

For those of you running a vertical fore grip, Bobro offers a unique take on the device. It attaches via a system called the SACL (Self Aligning Compression Lock). Basically you align the grip at a 45 degree offset from the portion of the rail where you want to attach the grip. Loosen the compression lock a couple of turns, slide it into place and twist. Then you tighten the compression lock to keep it in place. A major advantage to this style of attachment is that you can attach it anywhere along the rail without having to remove any accessories already in place.

Self Aligning Compression Lock

The SACL portion is machined from a polymer (Delrin). The fasteners and index pin are phosphated to Mil Spec STD 171. While the grip was not designed for the waterproof storage, items can be stowed inside the central core. Additionally, it is not rail sensitive, meaning it can be installed on any rail built to Mil-Std 1913.

Bobro Shorty and Standard Grips

The Bobro grip is available in two lengths; standard and shorty. Available from SKD Tactical at under MSRP.

Camo for Afghanistan – The Rest of the Story

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

On Friday September 18th, Soldier Systems Daily was granted an exclusive interview with PEO-Soldier’s COL William Cole, Project Manager Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, Todd Wendt, Deputy Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment, and Cheryl Stewardson, Team Leader, Soldier Integrated Protection, at the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research, Development & Engineering Center. The topic of our conversation was alternative camouflage patterns. Our goal at SSD for the interview was to cut through the misinformation and conjecture currently permeating the web on this subject and get to the facts. Up to now no one, including us, has adequately told the story of what is actually going on.

As a result of a photosimulation study conducted in 2007 by Natick as well as recent Congressional language directing the Army to provide an enhanced camouflage capability for Soldiers on operations in Afghanistan, the Army is undertaking a four-phased initiative to explore alternate camouflage patterns for the Army Combat Uniform (ACU). Additionally, the Army regularly conducts post combat surveys and had noted several comments that Soldiers were most dissatisfied with UCP’s performance in Woodland environments. Based on this information, the Infantry School suggested that perhaps a Brown shade should be added to the UCP color palette.

The Army’s objective is twofold: to identify an ACU camouflage that will provide effective concealment for Soldiers serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, and to evaluate a long-term camouflage plan for the Army. When COL Cole made his initial decisions on developing a course of action one of the main considerations was Fire Resistance. Whatever was going to be tested and fielded had to be FR. Additionally, they had to meet military specifications for infrared identification and be Berry compliant. Two patterns that met these specifications were readily available; MultiCam® and the Army’s Universal Camouflage Pattern. Recently, many have called for the complete elimination of UCP yet touted the performance of MARPAT. As we will discuss later, the patterns are the same, just with different pigments. If MARPAT performs well, UCP could be tweaked in order to enhance its characteristics and that is exactly what the Army did.

In conjunction with this interview, SSD was provided an exclusive look at the five alternative patterns named UCP-Alpha through Echo developed for the wear test.

Universal Camouflage Patten (UCP) Variants

Oddly enough, immediately after the story broke, strange conclusions began to surface around the internet that there was a significance to the UCP-Delta moniker. We can assure you that the Delta designation denotes no affiliation to any particular unit but rather is the phonetic alphabet for the letter D. PEO-Soldier used the alphabet since they were not sure initially how many variants they would need to work on. As it turns out, due to time constraints and some solid rudimentary research, they only produced five patterns. Of the five, only Charlie and Delta showed significant promise for further testing. Initially patterns were developed in .jpg format and then fabric was printed on a dot matrix printer.

According to Cheryl Stewardson, Natick researchers then conducted a modified photosimulation test similar to the one conducted in 2007. However, in this test 200 Soldiers at Forts Hood and Campbell with recent combat experience in Afghanistan were shown images of Afghani terrain that had been altered by superimposing photos of ACUs in the Charlie and Delta variants on them. During this testing, UCP-Delta was selected as the most promising pattern.

Some interesting facts about the US digital patterns were revealed during this interview. The digital camouflage is printed using a screen process. MARPAT, UCP, and the AOR patterns all use the same screens. Current UCP utilizes only three of the four screens required to produce MARPAT and AOR but UCP-Delta will add the fourth screen to apply the Coyote to the pattern.

UCP Delta with IOTV UCP Delta
Photos courtesy of PEO-Soldier

Phase I By the end of September 2009, the Army will provide two alternate uniforms to designated battalions of Soldiers serving in Operation Enduring Freedom. The two alternate uniforms will utilize the MultiCam® and Universal Camouflage Pattern – Delta (UCP-D). The UCP-Delta pattern was derived from the standard UCP by reducing the Urban Grey and Sand colors, and adding Coyote Brown which constitutes 30% of the pattern.

One battalion will receive the MultiCam® uniform, while the other will receive the UCP-Delta uniform. In addition to their test uniforms and equipment both battalions will also be issued a full complement of standard UCP equipment. This will allow commanders to outfit their troops based on METT-TC. While PEO-Soldier plans to use the IOTV in standard UCP for this test, they will provide test forces with the Tactical Assault Platform in UCP-Delta. The TAPS is similar to a chest rig that attaches to the IOTV. Additionally, PEO-Soldier is fast tracking a UCP-Delta solution for the rear of the IOTV. The battalion outfitted in MultiCam® will receive a full complement of TA-50 in that pattern including IOTV, Plate Carrier, MOLLE, and TAP.

Phase II By the end of October 2009, the Army will begin collecting data in theater to measure the suitability of various camouflage patterns. This phase will include feedback from Soldiers in Operation Enduring Freedom; photosimulation of uniform colors and patterns, along with associated Operational Clothing and Individual Equipment (OCIE) such as body armor, helmets, and rucksacks, against a variety of backgrounds common to Afghanistan including foliage, high desert, and mountains; and a photographic study in theater. Specific emphasis will be placed on ensuring accurate RGB values. The Army will analyze the data throughout the collection period in preparation for Phase III.

The next round of Photo simulation studies will include six patterns. However, not all of the patterns have yet been released. COL Cole confirmed that UCP-Delta, MultiCam®, AOR-1 and 2 and a newly developed pattern based on the UCP pattern with an entirely new colorway will be tested. The new pattern retains the four screen process but replaces even UCP-Delta’s colors with a pallet based on a photometric study of Afghanistan.

Another goal of this photosimulation study is to measure the effects of a variety of field equipment colors including UCP, Coyote, Khaki, and Ranger Green have when used with different uniform patterns.

Phase III By the end of January 2010, Army leaders will make a decision whether or not to produce and field alternate uniforms and OCIE to selected units in specific regions of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Phase IV At a date to be determined, the Army will establish and evaluate a long-term plan for ACU camouflage. If a new pattern is selected, even for limited use in Afghanistan, it may very well promulgate throughout the Army if it is demonstrates improved camouflage traits.

Once again SSD would like to thank the folks at PEO-Soldier and Natick who made this interview possible.

Swedish Combat Bra Under Development

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

This story come from a recent report by the Gothenburg Post and English-language Swedish journal The Local via the UK Register. Apparently, female members of the Swedish military must purchase their own brassieres. Their main concern is that the sports bras available are not FR and not designed for the rigors of combat. Instead, according to the article there are complaints that they unhook too easily.

Sweden still has National Service and inducts about 2000 women per year. Paulina Rehbinder a representative of the Council of Conscripts criticized the military for its lack of gender equality, in a country widely considered a pioneer in the field. In response to such concerns the Swedish military is developing a new combat bra that should enter service this Winter.