Clandestine Media Group

Marine Corps to Deliver Reinforced Pack Frames as Early as 2018

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia —
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

14 Responses to “Marine Corps to Deliver Reinforced Pack Frames as Early as 2018”

  1. USMC ANGLICO says:

    If you look closely at the picture you can actually see the pain leaving the body.

  2. USMC ANGLICO says:

    meant weakness leaving the body yut!

  3. Eddie says:

    Good, I’ve seen guys sneaking in older ALICE Frames to work with their FILBE rucks to suffice for breakages.

    • SSD says:

      ALICE frames suck and break all of the time. Did I say that they suck?

      • Eddie says:

        Oh not at all man, I was just noting that that’s kinda what guys were resorting to. Good that they’re getting something better than the both of those. Lol

      • Pete says:

        At least they are ALICE compatible, unlike the giant turd that is MOLLE I/II/1603 frame. That opens up the possibility of using not just the various 1606 frames, but standard or modified ALICE, Mystery Ranch NICE, TAG AGAF, TT MALICE, or TYR carbon fiber frames. Personally, I’ve had the best luck with an old school ALICE frame with all the rivets drilled and replaced by TIG welds.
        ALICE frames may suck, but they get the job done better than plastic frames and have a whole host of frame options. I think it is a good thing we’re moving back towards that form factor as a standard (FILBE, MOLLE 4000, Army Radio Ruck & pack tray, etc.).

        • Eddie says:

          I just got done assembling a Vietnam P-68 Rucksack, I have to say the frame is so much lighter and better contoured for the body than the ALICE but those rivets were said to shoot off like bullets if you dropped the thing too hard or jumped with it. (Personally don’t believe there were combat jumps with them in Nam’ but they found out somehow) I really like the TT frame for that reason, all welds, and better contouring.

          • Tom says:

            Agreed, the Tactical Tailor MALICE frame is fantastic.

          • Anibal says:

            There were jumps in Nam, don’t think many were properly classified as combat jumps, but they happened, there are quite a few books that talk of them happening, a couple may have not happened in Cambodia also

            • Adler Armory says:

              Canadians issued pretty much the same frame and pack bag design as the 64 Pattern Rucksack, some of which are still being used today by the Para Coys due to being more durable than the 82 Pattern “birdcage” Ruckframe.

        • SSD says:

          Remember, an ALICE frame would self destruct from being thrown off the back of a Deuce and a half. Breakages were fully expected during jump operations.

  4. rob chan says:

    DId they ever have a solution to the nylon straps creaking against the frame issue?

    • SSD says:

      It’s endemic. You just have to work with it, adjust straps, a little tape here, a whack there. But you’ll always expect a little bit of sound.

  5. RetUSMC says:

    Hard to believe that we are still dealing with trying to field a plastic pack frame. When did the MOLLE pack come out? late ’90s?