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Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. Awarded Lightweight Body Armor Insert Contract by the United States Marine Corps Systems Command

Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

POMPANO BEACH, Fla., June 24, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. has been awarded a $215.9 million USD body armor contract by the United States Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM). The Marine Corps Low Intensity Threat Environment (LITE) body armor insert is a new small arms protective insert that is designed to improve the survivability and mobility of Marines by maximizing ballistic protection at a reduced weight.

“We are honored to be selected by the United State Marine Corps to provide this new lightweight body armor solution. Reducing Marine burden by providing innovative and lightweight armor solutions along with our high quality manufacturing capabilities is our expertise.” said Brian Kopan, Senior Vice President of Engineering and Technology. “Whether we are designing armor systems for vehicles or individual protection equipment, our mission is always focused on saving the life of those that protect us.”

For over 43 years, Point Blank Enterprises, Inc. has been the industry’s leading innovator of advanced products and designs engineered to maximize ballistic protection. The Company has shipped millions of body armor solutions to America’s service men and women, law enforcement professionals, corrections officers, Federal agents, and other key national and international customers. Point Blank will be exhibiting the full range of armor systems at this year’s AUSA Annual Meeting and Symposium in Washington, D.C. 14-16 October 2019.

www.pointblankenterprises.com

Corps Begins Fielding Mobile Satellite Communication System

Thursday, June 13th, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The Corps recently began fielding a next-generation narrowband satellite communication system that assists warfighters in connecting to networks on the battlefield.

Fielded in the first quarter of 2019, the Mobile User Objective System provides satellite communication capabilities to mobile or stationary Marines. The system enables the warfighter to leverage cellular technology to increase access to voice and data communication while using the MUOS network.

“MUOS is another way for warfighters to communicate in a tactical environment,” said Eddie Young, project officer of Multiband Radio II Family of Systems at Marine Corps Systems Command. “The system brings SATCOM capabilities in various formats to Marines.”

The MUOS capability encompasses updated firmware to the AN/PRC-117G radio system and one of three antenna kits. The antennas help Marines simultaneously access SATCOM networks and gives them secure and nonsecure internet access. MUOS also improves overall reliability in urban environments, challenging vegetation and other arduous conditions.

“MUOS is essentially software and an antenna capability augmenting existing hardware,” said Noah Slemp, systems engineer at MCSC. “It’s similar to adding an application to a cellphone.”

The first service to widely employ MUOS, the Corps is deploying thousands of antenna kits for the AN/PRC-117G radio system and hundreds of diplexers that enable vehicular systems to access MUOS satellites.

“The Marine Corps is leading all services in terms of getting MUOS to warfighters,” said Young.

Satellite communication has become increasingly important for the Corps in the 21st century. According to the Department of Defense, more than 50 percent of DOD satellite communication involves narrowband communication. Yet, this form of communication accounts for less than 2 percent of the DOD’s bandwidth, making it an efficient way to transmit information.

MUOS is particularly important because the SATCOM infrastructure of the legacy system is nearing its expiration, said Slemp. As a result, the Corps intends to incrementally replace the older capabilities with the MUOS waveform, enabling more Marines to access ultra-high frequency tactical satellite communications.

Prior to fielding MUOS, MCSC had to demonstrate to the Milestone Decision Authority that the system was safe, met technical performance and was ready to use by the warfighter. Since MUOS’s Field User Evaluation in 2017, Marines have raved about the benefits of the system.

“Our Marines find MUOS useful in completing their missions,” said Young. “We’ve received a lot of positive feedback thus far.”

The efforts of Young’s team in getting the system out to the warfighter have not gone unnoticed. In May 2018, at a Narrowband Working Group conference in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the Joint Staff J6 and the DOD Chief Information Officer recognized Young and Slemp for leading the services in employing MUOS.

The J6 and DOD CIO also emphasized the joint effort between the Multiband Radio II team and the Naval Information Warfare Center in using the Multiple Reconfigurable Training Systems, an interactive training aid that will be used to assist in the rapid fielding of MUOS.

“It was motivating to see that we were recognized for our efforts, because the team had put in a considerable amount of time and effort to make this happen,” said Young. “We recognize the warfighter needs this capability, and we’ve done everything we can to get it to them in a timely manner.”

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

Photos by LCpl Jason Monty, LCpl Tawanya Norwood & Eddie Young.

USMC Canvases Industry For Integrated Helmet System

Friday, June 7th, 2019

This week, the Marine Corps Systems Command issued a Request for Information to Industry, seeking a Berry Amendment compliant Integrated Helmet System.

Just last year, the Marines evaluated mid and high cut helmets during Urban Advanced Naval Technology Exercise 2018 (Urban ANTX-18) at Camp Pendleton, California and purchased a small number of Enhanced Combat Helmets in these shapes for further testing.

The Marine Corps envisions IHS as a lightweight helmet system (includes shell, suspension, retention system, and other mounting devices) that will provide an integrated head protection platform for infantry and infantry-like Marines. The IHS will be employed by male and female Marines under various environmental conditions for long durations in conjunction with other gear and equipment. With the increased number of battery powered optics and other attachments to the helmet, the amount of exposed/unsecure wires and battery packs are increasing. The Marine Corps is looking for an optimized configuration to allow power and/or data to flow to the attachments while minimizing bulk.

In addition to a universal, modular mounting system for all components that allows for compatibility with legacy and future capabilities, IHS must be compatible with the following:
– Communications/hearing protection
– Night Vision Devices including external battery components
– Power cable management or power transfer
– Eye protection
– CBRN Equipment (mask and cover)
– Standard Marine Corps clothing
– Oxygen mask
– Rail system to mount ancillary devices
– Body armor
– USMC Pack

Here are the desired ballistic capabilities of IHS:

Minimum V50 BL(P)s

Additionally, the finished helmet, including any hardware exposed on the outside of the shell (if hardware is used for any attachments), shall be resistant to penetration from a 9 mm FMJ RN bullet at 1400 (+50, –0)ft/sec at 0° obliquity.

IHS must also protect from bump or blunt impacts. At a minimum, no individual acceleration shall exceed 150 G (gravitational constant) at 10ft/s. Greater impact protection (i.e., fewer G) is desired.

Below are the maximum weights by size.

Once again, the Marines plan to use Mid Tear Acquisition to conduct an “Other Transaction Agreement (OTA)” a process which is being used more and more to quickly test and field mature technologies and equipment. In the event a contract is awarded, the minimum order will be 24,000 IHS, delivered within one year of First Article approval.

Those interested have until 5 July, 2019, at 11:59 Eastern to submit.

USMC Small Arms Update – 2019

Wednesday, June 5th, 2019

The Marine Corps is well under way with the Small Arms modernization initiatives announced last year.

USMC photo by Sgt. Aaron Henson

The biggest improvement for the Marine Infantryman isn’t a weapon, but it will make him much more effective. The Marines are moving very quickly to field the Squad Binocular Night Vision Goggle, with contract award mid-July.

The H&K produced M27 is being fielded to Marine Rifle Squads along with the M38 Designated Marksman variant.

The M320A1 40mm grenade launcher replaces the M203 and will be used in the stand alone mode.

Limited numbers of the Mk 13 Mod 7, sniper rifle have been brought over from SOCOM. The Marines consider this 300 WinMag Rifle as a bridge between the long serving M40 family and the Advanced Sniper Rifle in 7.62mm, 300 and 348 Norma Mag coming in the early 20s.

They are at the initial stages of replacing SMAW-D with the 84mm M3E1 Carl Gustaf. An interesting aside, the Marines are also making a T/O change. They will go from 8 to 4 TOW launchers per Battalion and increase from 8 to 12 Javelins.

Yes, that’s an M110A1 you see. The Marine Corps long ago signed up for the program, but there has been little indication of how many they plan to buy or how they will use them.

This is a slide indicating what the future holds for Marine Corps Small Arms. Some of these we have already seen draft requirements for, like the Squad Common Optic which is a variable power (6/8x). The SCO will go on every M27 currently being fielded to Marine Rifle Platoons. Expect a full Request for Proposals 1st quarter of 20.

The Marine Corps plans to suppress all of its M27s and eventually, its belt fed machine guns.

Army has lead on Next Gen weapons and the Marines are working with SOCOM to refine the Lightweight Medium Machine Gun requirement.

“Success is not found in contracts awarded…Success is found in confirmed kills”

PM IW

MARCORSYSCOM Issues Elbow & Kneepad Challenge To Industry

Friday, May 31st, 2019

The Marine Corps wants you to help them identify innovative ideas and solutions that improve the currently fielded knee and elbow pads’ comfort.

The desired end-state is to determine a design or concept that provides improved comfort, impact protection and operator acceptance, while maintaining mobility and operator’s range of motion.

They don’t care if they are stand alone items, like those currently fielded, or integrated protection for the combat uniform.

For full details, visit www.marcorsyscom.marines.mil/Unit-Home/Marine-Equipping-Challenge/Knee-and-Elbow-Pad-Challenge.

NETT Marines Bridging the Gap Between the Past and Future of Amphibious Combat

Monday, April 8th, 2019

CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. —

At its core, any Marine Corps New Equipment Training Team is responsible for-as the name suggests-arming Marines with the knowledge and skills they need to operate and maintain new equipment to ensure Marines’ future success on the battlefield. When new equipment is fielded, the NETT provide the initial training to experienced legacy system operators and maintainers to help get them acquainted with the new system in the shortest time possible.  

When the new system is the Amphibious Combat Vehicle-game-changing not only in the amphibious capabilities it provides to Marines, but also in that it’s replacing a nearly 50-year-old legacy system-the NETT are in a unique position to bridge the gap between the past and future of amphibious combat in the Corps. Currently, most new equipment training teams are comprised of civilian subject matter experts from Industry, the ACV NETT is comprised primarily of amphibious assault Marines who are able to apply their experience and expertise in operating and maintaining the legacy vehicle to operating and maintaining the new one.

“It’s pretty much 100 percent preparation for the next evolution,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Wheeler, lead operational instructor on the NETT, of his team’s role. “All of us here on the NETT have years of experience operating the legacy [Assault Amphibious Vehicle]. I think that our collective experience and influence is important, especially in informing the future of our community. That’s our number one job.”

Though the NETT falls under the Virginia-based Advanced Amphibious Assault program office at Program Executive Officer Land Systems, the office responsible for acquiring and fielding the system, the team itself is housed at the Amphibious Vehicle Test Branch at Camp Pendleton, Calif., maximizing the team’s ability to spend time on and become proficient with operating and maintaining the vehicle.

To aid Marines’ transition from the legacy to the new platform, the NETT faces the challenge of infusing old practices into new Standard Operating Procedures and Tactics, Techniques and Procedures for the ACV.

“During the operational assessment, we realized that some of the tactics we’re used to with the AAV don’t work with the ACV,” said Wheeler. “We’re taking into account our old doctrine with the AAV, and seeing how some of those tactics, TTPs and SOPs can translate to the ACV [to make the transition easier for Marines].”

On the vehicular maintenance side, NETT Marines also help design the maintenance course. Currently, the team is busy helping the program office prepare for a four-month logistics demonstration-a comprehensive event evaluating the maintainability and sustainability of the vehicle-scheduled for this fall.

“One of the ways we’re verifying the Technical Manual for the ACV is by having the maintenance team complete over 1,400 maintenance tasks using the TM as a guide,” said Staff Sgt. Justin Hanush, maintenance lead instructor for the ACV. “This will help us when preparing the maintenance course. Ultimately, we want to ensure that Marines are successful when the vehicle hits the fleet.”

While the NETT’s main role is training Marines on maintaining and operating the ACV, the team also licenses drivers and, as operators of the vehicle, are integral participants in the rigorous operational, logistical and evaluative vehicle tests initiated by PM AAA. Having experienced amphibious assault Marines on the NETT has been extremely beneficial to the program office, particularly during operational assessments and testing.

“The Marines have assisted us greatly with understanding how the amphibious community operates, especially on water,” said James Aurilio, Manpower, Personnel and Training lead for PM AAA. “Operating a land vehicle in water is a unique experience, and they brought that experience with them. There’s a lot about doing that that, those of us who don’t do it would never understand or wouldn’t think to ask [during testing]. They’ve been stellar and have helped us out a lot.”

The NETT will start training Marines from Delta Company, 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion, 1st Marine Division, in January 2020. Delta Company will be the first amphibious assault crews to be trained on the new vehicle. Upon completion of training, the NETT will help guide the Delta Company Marines as they participate in tests assessing the effectiveness of the first set of low-rate initial production ACVs. PM AAA anticipates receiving the first set of low-rate production vehicles this summer.

By Ashley Calingo, PEO Land Systems Public Affairs| Marine Corps Systems Command

Marine Corps Enhances Forensics Capability to Make Gathering Data Simple

Saturday, March 30th, 2019

The Marine Corps is enhancing an existing forensics exploitation capability used to differentiate between friend or foe on the battlefield.

The Corps is updating the Expeditionary Forensics Exploitation Capability, or EFEC, with newer IT technology. The EFEC is a portable forensic laboratory used by Law Enforcement Battalions to recognize, collect, analyze, preserve and store data.

The EFEC was fielded in 2013. Since then, the Identity Operations Team at Marine Corps Systems Command has decided to update the some of the system’s IT equipment.

“We’re making the IT equipment more adaptable for today,” said Sarah Swift, Identity Operations Team Lead. “We’re moving at the speed of relevance.”

Maj. David Bain, EFEC project officer, believes employing more up-to-date equipment can benefit Marines on the battlefield.

“We want to improve the lethality of Marines in the battlespace by collecting and sharing data faster than we were previously able to,” said Bain.

The EFEC is organic to the Marine Air-Ground Task Force and capable of exploiting forensic material to support forensically enabled intelligence. This includes device and digital media analysis, latent and patent print, DNA, and the collection and identification of other elements that can be forensically tied to activities.

The Identity Operations Team is working to integrate the EFEC with other intelligence systems to give Marines the ability to gain insight and information of immediate tactical value on the battlefield.

“EFEC complements and integrates with the other Identity Operations capabilities, such as Identity Dominance System-Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Intelligence Agency Identity Intelligence Analytical Cell, or MCIA I2AC,” said Swift.

The MCIA I2AC reviews the IDS-MC and EFEC user’s submissions and other collected data to provide direct support to the submitting Marines. The I2AC rapidly produces analysis reports and related products for persons of interest and shares this information, with the collected data, throughout the Defense Forensics and Biometrics Enterprise.

MCSC is assessing science and technology agile acquisition efforts now to develop and field the next increment of EFEC capabilities by fiscal year 2021.

“Marines want more expeditionary, rugged and lightweight equipment with fewer pieces, and we are making that happen with the EFEC,” said Bain.

The Importance of EFEC

EFEC is a portable, expeditionary forensic exploitation laboratory that includes four collection kits. These kits provide squad-level tactical forensic collection capability for proper collection and preservation of evidence.

“The EFEC currently includes a chem kit, lab kit, media kit and site kit,” said Bain. “Together, the kits enable Marine operators to gather important forensic information on site to determine if a person of interest is a suspect or an ally.”

The chem kit allows operators to detect and identify hazardous and forensically relevant chemicals. The lab kit helps Marines process digital evidence, and the mobile kit helps to analyze and recover information from mobile devices.

Lastly, the site kit enables the operator to gather key forensic information, such as taking fingerprints and preserving liquids, at any location of interest.

MAGTF expeditionary forensics is one of three pillars within the USMC Identity Operations Strategy 2020 Implementation Plan. To fulfill the Marine Corps Operating Concept, MCSC continues to seek and provide Marines relevant, innovative and rapid solutions to enhance warfighting capabilities, Swift said.

“It’s important that MCSC continues to advance with technology and we stay agile with our incremental acquisition approach to evolve current capabilities,” said Swift.

Story courtesy of MARCORSYSCOM. Matt Gonzales contributed to this story. Photos by Pfc. Kindo Go.

USMC Seeks 84mm Round Pouches

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019

The Marine Corps wants to purchase pouches for the 84 MM round used in the Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System (commonly referred to as the Carl Gustaf).

They’ve solicited feedback from industry for pouches which meet these criteria:

– Accommodate one, two, or three 84 mm MAAWS rounds. Modularity and designs that allow for Marines to balance the ammunition on their existing load bearing equipment are preferred.

– Be compatible with the current Pouch Attachment Ladder System for attachment to current Marine Corps load bearing equipment.

– Provide a retention mechanism that allows for the rounds to be retained during normal combat operations.

– Must be comprised of materials that meet current Near Infrared requirements.

– Must be compliant with the Berry Amendment.

For full details, visit www.fbo.gov.