Archive for the ‘Armor’ Category

Supporting the Future Fight: MCSC Modernizing Infantry Capabilities

Monday, May 17th, 2021


The Marine Corps has been investing time, money and resources into modernizing the force to meet objectives outlined in the Commandant’s Planning Guidance, Force Design 2030 and the National Defense Strategy.

Brig. Gen. A.J. Pasagian, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, has stated that no investment is more important than those in support of the infantry Marine.

“The Marine Corps in 2030 does not exist without the individual Marine, what they’re wearing and what they’re carrying,” said Pasagian. “Enhancing our infantry Marines by providing them with the best capabilities available remains an integral, ongoing priority for the Marine Corps.”

MCSC has placed great emphasis on meeting the demands of the future force to ensure Marines are never in a fair fight, said Pasagian. To achieve this objective, the command has concentrated on increasing infantry communication, lethality and survivability.

Increased close combat lethality

Over the last few years, MCSC developed and fielded several new, modernized capabilities to Marines, including the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, Squad Common Optic, Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggles and M320A1 grenade launcher.

The M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle, originally fielded in 2011, is lighter and reaches farther distances than its predecessor, the M249 squad automatic weapon, said CWO4 David Tomlinson, MCSC’s infantry weapons officer.

“The M27 is fully automatic and increases their accuracy compared with previous weapons systems,” said Tomlinson. “The increased accuracy leads to increased lethality.”

Over time, the popularity of the weapon blossomed among Marines. They raved about its ease of use and overall effectiveness. This led to the Corps expanding its fielding to all rifle platoons as their primary individual weapon.

Earlier this year, Marines began receiving the Squad Common Optic, an innovative new rifle sight that better enables shooters to identify and engage the enemy from farther distances in variable light conditions. It can be attached to the M4 and M4A1 Carbine as well as the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle.

“The Squad Common Optic is a variable-power optic that allows Marines to engage to threats at the maximum effective range of their weapons system, improving target acquisition and probability-of-hit with infantry assault rifles,” said Tomlinson.

In 2020, MCSC also fielded the Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle—a lightweight, helmet-mounted night vision system that provides increased depth perception, improved clarity and a thermal-imaging capability to detect targets in extreme darkness or through battlefield obscurants.

The SBNVG enables Marines to operate vehicles at night, move through dark buildings or tunnels, and engage targets after sunset. By using this system, Marines can be as lethal at night as they are in the daytime, said Tomlinson.

The Marine Corps also began fielding a new grenade launcher last year. The M320A1 is a single-fire system that Marines can either mount onto another rifle or use as a stand-alone weapon.

“The M320A1 provides an improved capability to engage the enemy day and night, while retaining the capability of short range, reflexive fire of the primary weapon,” said Capt. Nick Berger, MCSC’s project officer for the M320A1. “In addition, the M320A1 increases the small unit flexibility in employing lethal, nonlethal and special-purpose munitions by allowing them to tailor the weapon configuration to the mission.”

Lightening the load

Infantry units need more than just weapons to get the job done. The Marine Corps leans heavily upon MCSC’s Program Manager for Infantry Combat Equipment to research, develop and field lightweight protective gear designed to increase survivability.

In 2020, MCSC began updating its enhanced combat helmet to improve fit and comfort. The improved, high-cut helmet includes a retention system that tightens around the circumference of the head and adjusts easier. Female Marines, in particular, have noted how the high-cut ECH fits their hair buns better than the legacy ECH.

Another notable fielding in 2020 was the Plate Carrier Generation III, a next-generation protective vest that provides improved fit, form and function for Marines. The PC Gen. III guards against bullets and fragmentation when coupled with protective plates.

The PC Gen. III uses less material than the Plate Carrier that fielded in 2011. Lt. Col. Andrew Konicki, the program manager for Infantry Combat Equipment, explained that the improved designed of the PC Gen. III reduces the overall weight and bulkiness of the vest, increasing maneuverability.

“Lightening the load is important because it allows Marines to be more agile when moving from covered position to covered position,” said Konicki. “Improved mobility increases survivability while preserving endurance, which enhances a Marine’s lethality.”

In 2021, MCSC began fielding the Marine Corps Intense Cold Weather Boot—a full-grain, leather boot designed for use in temperatures as cold as -20 degrees Fahrenheit. The ICWB is lighter and less bulky than the Extreme Cold Weather Boot, employed in -65 to -20 degrees Fahrenheit.

The ICWB allows Marines to complete various missions that might involve hiking or skiing in arduous, cold weather environments without having to change boots, said Konicki.

“This boot lightens the load for Marines because they’ll need only one boot for cold weather operations instead of having to carry two sets of boots and change based on the weather conditions,” said Konicki.

On the ammunition front, MCSC awarded a contract in 2020 to test and evaluate new, lightweight .50-caliber polymer ammo, with an intent to further lighten the warfighter’s load. The ammo, to be used in the M2 Machine Gun, is significantly lighter and easier to haul than the traditional brass casings.

Polymer is a class of plastic-like material that weighs less than brass and other metals commonly used in weapon systems. As the Marine Corps evaluates .50-caliber polymer ammo, other services are also evaluating other types of ammo.

The Army, for instance, is validating a 7.62mm polymer round, which could also potentially make its way to Marines in the future.

CWO3 Chad Cason, a project officer with MCSC’s Program Manager for Ammunition, said polymer ammo enables Marines to carry more with less fatigue, enhancing combat readiness. He also noted how the ammunition is just as effective as the brass ammo of the past.

“This is truly an innovative program, as [PM Ammunition] continues its modernization efforts in support of increasing lethality and capability to the Fleet Marine Force,” said Cason.

MCSC will host several limited user evaluations in 2021 and 2022, allowing Marines to assess the effectiveness and performance of the ammunition. Marine feedback during these assessments will inform a future fielding decision, said Cason.

Enhanced communication

Operating in a 21st century environment also requires innovative command and control equipment to increase communication on the battlefield.

In 2019, the Marine Corps fielded a lightweight, tablet system that improves situational awareness on the battlefield. The Marine Air-Ground Task Force Common Handheld enables Marines to use commercial smart devices to plot and share points, offering an overall view of the battlespace to commanders.

Later that year, MCSC upgraded the MCH to allow Marines to communicate with one another through several additional communication systems, including the Advanced Field Artillery Tactical Data System and the Army’s Joint Battle Command-Platform.

“Communication is critical to ensure Marines and commanders in the field have access to information and data at the right levels,” said John Maurer, deputy portfolio manager for MCSC’s Command Element Systems. “It enables, facilitates and accelerates decision-making and situational awareness.”

In 2020, the Marine Corps also fielded a next-generation High Frequency Radio II, which provides Marines with long-range, beyond line-of-site radio communications. The radio system comprises Wideband HF, increasing the data rate to more quickly communicate larger amounts of information.

Maurer said the HFR II is a modern, resilient and sustainable capability that is significantly smaller and lighter than the legacy HF radio. MCSC’s Ground Radios HFR II Team, led by Leigh King, accelerated the acquisition process and achieved fielding one year earlier than originally planned.

The MCH, HFR II and several other communication systems acquired by MCSC are designed to make communication more seamless and efficient for infantry Marines, said Maurer.

“We are positioned to meet the Commandant’s Planning Guidance by providing multiple new systems to infantry Marines to enable the kill chain,” said Maurer. “The capabilities provided will support the initial operational capability of Force Design 2030 by providing assured command and control in a degraded environment, information warfare superiority and protected mobility for enhanced maneuver.”

The importance of training

The Marine Corps cannot accomplish its modernization goals alone.

Chris Woodburn, of the Capabilities Development Directorate at the Combat Development and Integration, said they will continue to solicit support from industry and other services to field innovative capabilities and posture for the future fight.

“The Marine Corps is fielding several close combat lethality enhancements to address near-term requirements while working with the Army to pursue the next generation capabilities for the future,” said Woodburn. “These enhancements facilitate our close combat forces’ ability to leverage the best capability now, while posturing for the future through continued work with partner services.”

Tomlinson believes updating infantry units relevant gear is a critical step in gaining a competitive advantage over adversaries. However, he said the acquisition of effective equipment and the employment of active training can help the Marine Corps reach its modernization goals.

“Lethality isn’t just an item,” said Tomlinson. “We can give Marines a new system, but that doesn’t necessarily make them more lethal. Lethality also involves incorporating proper, effective training.”

Tomlinson said MCSC often employs New Equipment Training events to furnish Marines with the knowledge necessary to operate new capabilities. MCSC’s Training Systems program office also ensures Marines are equipped with the technology and systems needed to use newly-fielded capabilities in a simulated environment.

The Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command also plays an important role in increasing the lethality of Marines.

TECOM leads the Marine Corps’ individual entry-level training, professional military education and continuous professional development, through unit, collective and service-level training. The group’s intent is to enhance warfighting organizations that enable Marines to build and sustain the combat readiness required to fight and win today and in the future.

“The modernization of gear and equipment needs to be seamless to the training piece,” said CWO4 Anthony Viggiani, TECOM’s infantry weapons officer. “It’s not just the gear and equipment that makes an individual more lethal, it co-aligns the training as well.”

Viggiani said training offers the preparation needed to increase battlefield lethality. Training equips Marines with the confidence and capabilities needed to employ a piece of equipment to its maximum effectiveness, he said.

“You can’t just give an individual gear and equipment and think that’s going to solve all our problems,” said Viggiani. “Training is an important steppingstone to increasing lethality on the battlefield.”

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

Chase Tactical – Ultimate Enhanced Shoulder Pads

Saturday, May 15th, 2021

The Chase Tactical Ultimate Enhanced Shoulder Pads were specifically designed to work with almost any plate carrier on the market.  The Ultimate Enhanced Shoulder Pads are designed with added padding that provides extra shoulder relief from heavy loads.  A perfect addition to the Chase Tactical line of plate carriers such as the MEAC, LOPC, LVPC, QRC, and SOCC. 

• Sold in a set of two
• 3D Spacer mesh provides ultimate comfort
• Hook closure to easily attach around carrier shoulder straps
• Perfect addition to any plate carrier on the market
• Dimensions – L 9″ x W 3.25″ x D .75″
• Weight – 2.4 Ounces (Set)
• Lifetime Warranty
• Berry Compliant

Available in MultiCam, Black, Ranger Green, and Coyote.

MSRP $34.95

FirstSpear Friday Focus: ABAV Marked Safe to Fly by US Air Force

Friday, May 14th, 2021

In addition to SOCOM Aviation, the U.S. Air Force has deemed the FirstSpear ABAV (Aviation Body Armor Vest) safe to fly for rotor wing operations.

Continuing to revolutionize the load carriage systems that transition from air, land to over-water operations even further, utilizing the Instant Adjust Back Panel and Adaptive Maritime and Land Cummerbunds this system configures quickly for the full spectrum of operational environments.

*  “6/12™ laser cut platform
*   Tubes™ Rapid-Release Technology
*   Flame Retardant
*   Aviation specific pocket suite
*  Instant Adjust Back Panel
*  Adaptive Cummerbund
*  CTAF devices

Purpose built for tactical aviation roles, the ABAV utilizes the latest in First Spear Technology to keep weight to an absolute minimum while maintaining true mission flexibility. Thanks to Tube™ technology and  Cummerbund Tactical Aid to Flotation (CTAF) interchangeability via the Instant Adjust Back Panel the FS ABAV transitions from over land to over water in well under a minute with no tools required. Located inside the cummerbund, each system includes welded flotation bladders, inflation system and two firing handles for use as emergency tactical floatation aids to enhance aircrew survivability when operating over water. The FS ABAV has enhanced shoulder sleeves wrapping over the shoulder straps which helps keep the User streamlined and unencumbered around the neckline. Designed to absorb the bare minimum of water and provide modular flexibility for mission specific load carriage.  The ABAV utilizes multiple FS technologies, including the 6/12 pocket attachment system and Tubes technology. The FS ABAV meets Flame Retardant (FR) and self-extinguishing parameters set forth by the US Military organizations that adopted it.

FirstSpear’s passion lies in that pursuit and development of disruptive innovation and technologies designed to pass the ultimate test; empowering those who employ them to dominate objectives and prevail in the spirit of our storied namesake. We are FirstSpear, and everything we do is Built for the X.

For more information about FirstSpear, check out

SPOILER ALERT! US Elite x Crye Precision AVS in MultiCam Black Launches Today at Noon Eastern

Monday, May 10th, 2021

If you’ve been following US Elite over the past week, they’ve teased an exclusive collaboration with Crye Precision in MultiCam Black.

Now, we’re going to spoil it for everyone and tell you that the item being released for sale today is Crye Precision’s Adative Vest System in MultiCam Black.

The reason we are telling you is that you have to sign up for an email alert for a pre-sale at Noon Eastern today. There are already so many people signed up for the pre-sale notice that if you aren’t alerted when it goes live at noon, you are going to miss out.

If you thought you’d take your chances with whatever the mystery item was when it went live to the general public on Tuesday, you were predestined to miss out. It’s just that simple.

Now that you know what it is, if you want to get in on this deal, you have got to sign up for the pre-sale announcement email.

Here are the details:

The Crye Precision AVS (Adaptive Vest System) is a fully modular warfighting platform capable of scaling from a plate carrier to a load-bearing full armor system. The premier choice of US Special Operations Forces, the AVS with harness provides structural support that distributes weight across the body vs resting entirely on the shoulders mitigating potential fatigue and long term injury. Each surface of the AVS is configured to allow preconfigured panels to be installed and removed immediately versus requiring each equipment pouch to be molle woven into PALS channels individually.

Available as a complete package in Multicam Black, this offering including size matched AVS harness, standard front/back plate pouches, AVS Detachable M4 Flat Flap (capable of running 3 USGI rifle magazines), Zip-on Pouch Panel 2.0, and 152/Bottle Smart Pouch as well as a set of AVS Padded Shoulder Covers in Black.

*Additional items depicted in photos not included.

Air Force Research Lab Awards Body Armor Vent SBIR Contract

Tuesday, April 27th, 2021

TEN 97 Inc. is proud to announce that THE AIR FORCE RESEARCH LABORATORY (AFRL) has awarded a SBIR/AFWERX PHASE 1 funding grant to TEN 97 inc. (dba – BODY ARMOR VENT®) to develop a group of potential U.S. Military customers for their unique BODY ARMOR VENT retrofit kit panels, and to secure MOU’s for same that say there is a desire/intent to purchase and use said panels with their soldiers’ plate carriers.

The rationale is that BODY ARMOR VENT panels, for the first time in the history of body armor, effortlessly (extremely light weight) and inexpensively, foster increased air movement between base layer and plate carrier, causing much more evaporative cooling under the armor than heretofore.

This cooling and evaporation keeps soldiers healthier, more aware and therefore safer while wearing all forms of armor. The panels also distribute the weight of the carriers better.

They also reduce epidermal issues caused by perspiration that does not evaporate.

NP Aerospace Wins Sourcewell Defense Purchasing Contract for US and Canadian Market

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

NP Aerospace is one of a select group of defense companies to have been awarded a contract for the sale of body armor and related accessories through Government Agency, Sourcewell.

The cooperative purchasing contract #011221-NPA was awarded to NP Aerospace in March 2021 and runs until February 2025. It covers ballistic armor plates, helmets, shields and bomb disposal suits.

Sourcewell is a Government Agency that makes the buying process easier and more affordable for North American and Canadian publicly funded organisations by combining the purchasing power of 50,000 agencies into a single cooperative group.

NP Aerospace, along with HiCom Armor Solutions Inc, U.S Armor Corporation, Galls LLC and Atlantic Diving Supply Inc. are the first companies in the defense sector to have been awarded the contract as part of Sourcewell’s strategy to grow its presence in the defense sector.

James Kempston, CEO, NP Aerospace, said: “We are honored to be one of the first defense companies in the US to win the Sourcewell contract. It will form a key part of our strategy to grow market share in the US and Canada for body armour and bomb disposal suits. We are already expanding distributor network so adding a direct route for purchasing will offer additional advantages for publicly funded organisations. The great thing about Sourcewell is that contracts are competitively solicited which makes the process easier and more affordable.”

Sourcewell works with thousands of Government, education and non-profit organisations. Adding defense companies to the list of competitively solicited cooperative contracts will add significant value to businesses looking for quality, cost effective defence and law enforcement products from nationally acclaimed suppliers. The five companies were selected as part of a rigorous screening process.

To find out more about the NP Aerospace Sourcewell contract visit

Velocity Systems ULV Chameleon Armor Shirt

Friday, April 23rd, 2021

The Velocity Systems ULV Chameleon Armor Shirt is the most ergonomic, concealable, and comfortable ultra-low visibility armor compression shirt available. The ULV Chameleon Shirt was designed and developed in 2012 and issued National Stock Numbers (NSNs) in 2015. For nine years US and international military forces, agencies, federal and state undercover law enforcement units have been employing the ULV Chameleon Armor Shirt. The positive feedback and continued utilization of the armor carrier is tried and true. This ultra-low visibility compression shirt provides concealed ballistic protection without compromising movement.

The armor carrier is made with a static mesh that holds both soft and hard armor securely, while the high memory compression fabric holds the entire system tightly to the body to reduce signature.  The 100% Nylon knit fabric is abrasion resistant and is treated for moisture wicking and odor and stain resistance.  The internal plate pockets hold the Velocity Systems ULV torso plates or ULV torso soft armor inserts snuggly against the body for maximum concealability. The seams are heavily stitched, and the shoulders are reinforced to ensure the carrier can sustain rigorous use while utilizing hard armor plates. The underarms and sides are made of a breathable compression mesh and include two side front opening zippers to aid with don/doff. The design also includes compression pockets under each arm, sized to fit radios or similar sized equipment. Velocity Systems offers the ULV Chameleon Shirt in black and white, men’s size S-XXL and women’s size XS-LG

The ULV Chameleon Armor Shirt is available to military forces, agencies, the federal government, and undercover law enforcement groups. All colors and sizes are in stock and able to be shipped immediate. To inquire about purchase, please contact [email protected]. All materials and workmanship are 100% made in the USA.

SafeLife Defense Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Monday, April 19th, 2021

Nevada-based armor manufacturer SafeLife Defense, a small business that began in its founder’s kitchen, is celebrating its 5th anniversary. The company, which was recently named one of the top 300 fastest-growing companies in America, recently announced a number of specials to celebrate the anniversary and growth.

Says founder Nick Groat,

“I want to start by thanking you for showing interest in our Body Armor. As I’m sure you have seen, there are a lot of choices out there when it comes to armor…and they are not all created equal.”

The company claims to be the fastest-growing armor company in the United States because, as they say, “We do body armor better than anyone else!”

They continue:

• Our vests offer the best protection at the best price.
• We have a 5 Year Warranty on our Ballistic Material.
• We offer FREE Size Exchanges for 30 Days, so your gear fits PERFECTLY.
• When you contact us, our Award-Winning Customer Service will help you.
• If you are ever shot, we will replace your armor for FREE under our Incident Guarantee.
• If you don’t love your gear, send it back for a refund under our Satisfaction Guarantee.

The company is currently moving into a new 140,000 square foot facility near the Las Vegas Raiders practice facility in Henderson, NV, and intends to add nearly 400 jobs over the next ten years.

Find them online at or follow on IG, @safelifedefense. Connect on Facebook, /SafeLifeDefense/.