SIG SAUER - Never Settle

Marines Looking for a Few Good ‘MOLLE-Type’ Packs

According to a Sources Sought Notice released in November, it appears as if the Marine Corps has decided on a way ahead for a replacement for the Improved Load Bearing Equipment (ILBE) pack.

From the Notice:

The Program Manager Individual Combat and Equipment (PM ICE), Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM), is seeking industry input that identifies potential sources and best practice information regarding the manufacturing of a government-designed USMC Pack System. The USMC Pack System is similar to the US Army’s MOLLE Large and Assault Packs. The resultant System must be Berry Amendment compliant and as well as be produced at a rate which will result in a total of 108,000 Systems being delivered within 12 months of contract awards. It is anticipated that production would be satisfied through multiple contract awards.

Ironically, Marine Corps dissatisfaction with MOLLE spawned the ILBE program in the first place. Based on commercial backpacking technology, ILBE was developed by Arc’teryx and manufactured under license by Propper. The system includes a large internal frame pack, assault pack, hydration system, and waterproof liners. Issues with the design began to arise after the Marines began to use body armor with integral rear plates as standard issue. The internal frame ILBE was not designed to accommodate the added bulk of the plates and the Marines chose not to undertake a Product Improvement Program. The Marines Corps has looked at dozens of designs over the last two years including a proposal called the ‘WELBE‘ that would have modified their existing packs to accept the Mystery Ranch NICE frame.

Over the summer they announced they were going to conduct a limited test of “five Government owned pack designs”. This is a natural step in the development of a new material solution to avoid starting a new program when there is already a product that satisfies the requirement. If this Sources Sought Notice is any indication, they found their solution with MOLLE, or at least something similar.

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