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Archive for the ‘PM-SOF’ Category

USSOCOM Awards Contract To Gentex For Advancement Of Headborne Systems Technologies

Monday, August 1st, 2016

It appears that USSOCOM has issued multiple contracts in response to their Broad Agency Announcement issued earlier this year to refine requirements for the next generation SOF helmet. The latest award is to Gentex, and we assume, much of the work to be accomplished by their Ops-Core business unit. The BAA can be seen below.


Click to view .pdf

Ops-Core FAST helmets have been SOCOM issue for many years and the fruits of this contract will be used by Natick to help  refine requirements for the next generation SOF helmet.  

Contract Award Dollar Amount: $370,365.51 Plus Option CLINs valued at $464,607.00.

The announcement is found at as long as they keep it there. Earlier award announcements to others have been deleted.

US SOF Seeking New Maritime Assault Suit Systems

Monday, March 14th, 2016

Earlier this month a solicitation closed for new Commercial Off The Shelf, Maritime Assault Suit Systems for use by US Naval Special Warfare. Seen below is the current version of the FR dry suit for surface swimmer ops. Interestingly, the new version may not be in the traditional Sepia color that has long been a hallmark of the MASS. The requirement has opened the design up to other subdued colors or even a camouflage print. Here’s an idea so what they’ll be buying.

img_1777.jpgUSSOCOM’s Directorate of Procurement, on behalf of the US Natick Soldier Research and Development Center (US Army – NSRDEC) and Program Manager – SOF Survival, Support and Equipment Systems (PM-SOF SSES), Natick MA, has a requirement for a Maritime Assault Suit System (MASS).

This program is seeking surface dry suit variants: (1) MASS and (2) Lightweight MASS (L-MASS), each consisting of an over-garment with neck relief/ring, repair kit and user manual, which can be used as a combat suit in maritime, land, airborne, shipboard, and transitional environments of the US Navy. To keep the user comfortable, the MASS and L-MASS shall provide the greatest degree of water vapor management and must be durable enough for rugged field use. The MASS and L-MASS shall keep the operator dry in maritime and terrestrial extremes and all weather conditions without interfering with typical mission movements or compromising range of motion for activities including swimming, running, assault movements and weapons manipulation. Both versions must be lightweight, fit comfortably, and must be able to keep the operator dry while immersed in water without significant weight gain.

The neck ring, neck, and wrist gaskets shall be comfortable, shall not interfere with individual clothing or equipment, and shall be adequately protected from weather conditions and physical damage. The MASS and L-MASS must have front entry and relief zipper, integrated socks, non-fixed optional use internal suspender design, be easily accessible, and have shoulder, thigh, and calf pockets. The suits must be designed in a manner that reduces the effects of abrasion on key garment stress areas, be adequately quiet during typical mission movements with ease in donning and doffing. Face fabric must be capable of being dyed with a subdued color if specified by the government.

The MASS shall have a standard operational life of at least three (3) years. The L-MASS shall have a standard operational life of at least one (1) year. Both must be repairable and the contractor shall be capable of providing repair services for components typically damaged by routine wear and tear.

Full performance characteristics can be seen here.

SOCOM Interested In Updating Rucksack Suite

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Natick’s Program Manager Special Operations Forces has issued a Request For Information seeking vendors of Assault, Patrol and Recce Packs (they’ve already selected a Jungle Pack). Specifically, they are interested in information and sample materials for test and evaluation purposes of available Rucksacks with an internal or external frame that are capable of meeting the following Key Performance Parameters (KPP’s): 

Overall backpack systems will adhere to the following table:
Failure to meet a KPP will eliminate the product for further consideration.
**ASTM F2153-07 Standard test method for measurement of backpack volume will be used as the baseline. 

1. Volume 

Volume does not to include removable exterior pouches or top flap. Volume measurement will include internal main up to the spin drift sewn to main bag. Exterior permanent pouches (sewn on) will be measured and added to the total volume of rucksack. 

2. Weight 

Weight will include main pack with top flap (whether removable or not) and radio retention system. Weight will not include any removable pouches. 

3. Must be acceptable and interface with current body armor (BA) and plate carriers: CRYE AVS and Eagle MMAC 2012 and legacy load carriage systems (LCS). 

4. Environmental conditions cannot degrade the system to the extent that is cannot be used for its intended mission. 

a. Must withstand the effects of the full climatic range of operations. (-50F / +185F) 

b. Must be rot, mildew, salt water, UV light and petroleum, oils and lubricant (POL) resistant. 

c. Must have a shelf life of not less than five years prior to issue. 

5. Color choices should be consistent with current Body Armor Load Carriage Systems (AOR 1, AOR 2, Multi Cam, and Coyote). 

6. The Assault, Patrol and Recce Packs will provide for a removable radio retention system capable of being mounted high against the internal pack capable of holding a suite of SOF radios to include but not limited to the AN / PRC 117 (3.2 in H x 10.5 in W x 13.5 in D). 

There are numerous other requirements in the full RFI located here.  As of right now, there is no requirement that a vendor must offer all three solutions to participate but Natick wants your sample packs by 5 Jan 2016.  You can deliver up to two entries per category but the samples must be void of any logos or other branding.  SOCOM wants the best technical solution rather than a popularity contest.  

PM-SOF Issues RFI for New Modular Glove System

Monday, April 20th, 2015

The Program Manager-Special Operations Forces Survival, Support & Equipment Systems (PM-SOF SSES) office at the U.S. Army Soldier Research Development, and Engineering Center, Natick, MA is seeking information regarding a modular glove system as a possible replacement to the current system (now in Mod 2) in use since the mid-2000s.

As a base line the current system consists of the following:
1. light weight anti contact liner glove
2. Combat glove
3. Mid weight waterproof glove
4. Cold weather glove with removable liner
5. Extreme cold mitten with removable liner
Note: The combat glove is independent from this system RFI, and should not be part of the planned response.



Outdoor Research Modular Glove System, Generation II: Firebrand Mitt (top left), Firebrand Glove (top right), Poseidon Glove (bottom left), Overlord Shorty (bottom center), Hurricane Glove (bottom right).

The RFI describes the Modular Glove System:
The purpose of the system is to provide cold, wind and wet weather protection down to a threshold of -20 and an objective of -40f. (While wearing extreme cold clothing such as protective combat uniform or extreme cold weather clothing system) The system shall be versatile and adaptable to changing weather conditions including, temperate cold, wet cold, and freezing conditions. The system shall be versatile allowing interchange of components to meet mission needs i.e operating radios, computers and weapon systems. It shall consist of no more than six layers including shell liners. The system shall have touch screen capability on layers intended as outer wear.

The system shall maintain protection from cold from -20 (threshold) -40 (objective), for 60 minutes or longer with light activity such as walking unencumbered.

Maintain waterproof breathable hand protection from +45 down to 0 with use of hand warmers and or liners. Providing a waterproof breathable shell that is separable from insulation to allow users various insulations adaptable to environment and activity.

It is desired that all insulation be removable to expedite drying time and allow users to swap insulated liners when wet as well as to increase system versatility.

Flame resistance or no melt/no drip are not required but desired performance fit/tactility, durability, moisture wicking performance is more important than flame resistance or no melt no drip.

The system must come in various sizes to fit the 5th to 95th percentile, there is no limit to the number of sizes to meet this requirement.

They are also seeking anti contact/combat gloves for test and evaluation purposes and would like the following information:
Weight, per pair size med
Sizes available:
Materials used in construction:
Colors and or patterns available.
Cost per system and component.

Manufacturers must be capable of supplying 40 pairs of gloves suitable for testing and prototype evaluation. There is no color requirement for the testing material; any readily available material may be utilized. Materials must be available in earth or subdued colors and meeting NIR. All materials use must be capable of being printed in AOR 1, AOR 2 and Multicam meeting both NIR and visual requirements. Materials must also meet the requirements of the Berry Amendment, 10 USC 2533a. Manufacturers who believe they have product(s) capable of meeting the above requirements are requested to submit 1 pair and a short summary including test report(s) showing performance characteristics of the material (no more than 5 pages total) describing their products’ capabilities in each of these areas, by the date noted below. The five (5) page summary must include Company name and address, point of contact with phone number, DUNS number, Cage Code and a statement regarding any small business designation (if applicable).

Interested vendors have until 30 April, 2015 to respond. Please visit for full details.

PCU Levels 1 & 2 Available Now from Massif

Thursday, January 8th, 2015

Although Massif is well known for their FR garments, many do not realize that they were called upon by USSOCOM in 2011 to help modernize the multi-level Protective Combat Uniform. In addition to the Level 7 garments we recently featured, Massif also manufactures the non-FR Level 1 and 2 items. Although the designs remain simple, they achieve functionality and comfort due to the little things. For example, across the span of garments in the system, seams don’t fall one atop the other despite their ergonomic shape. Additionally, the Polartec fabrics chosen for these garments revolve around moisture management featuring excellent wicking and air permeability properties.

Now, the actual garments issued to SOF, are available to individuals as well as units and agencies not included in the original program.

PCU Level 1 Top

PCU Level 1 Top
Made from Polartec Powerdry 3.4oz/yd, the old 1/4 zip polo style has transitioned to a crew neck to reduce bulk.

PCU Level 1 Pant

PCU Level 1 Bottom
Made from Polartec Powerdry 3.4oz/yd.

PCU Level 2 Top

PCU Level 2 Top
Made from Polartec Powerdry Grid Fleece 3.9oz/yd, this is a 1/4 zip design. The waffle pattern fabric compresses to half the size of its predecessor.

PCU Level 2 Pant

PCU Level 2 Bottom
Made from Polartec Powerdry Grid Fleece 3.9oz/yd. The waffle pattern fabric compresses to half the size of its predecessor.

Massif will be attending SHOT show this year and will be available for private meetings. For an appointment please email [email protected].

Natick Seeks A Jungle Ruck

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014

We’ve seen interest in Jungle Boots and fabrics for Jungle Uniforms. This time it’s Jungle Rucks. In fact, earlier this month, the U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), Natick, MA issued a Request for Information (RFI) for a Jungle Rucksack.


The U.S. Army Natick Soldier Research Development, and Engineering Center (NSRDEC), Natick, MA is seeking information and sample materials for test and evaluation purposes of available Jungle Rucksack that are capable of meeting the following performance requirements:


1. Jungle Ruck will have a volume threshold of 2000 – 2500 cubic inches.

2. Must be acceptable and interface with current Body Armor (BA) and plate carriers: the Crye AVS and Eagle MMAC 2012.

3. Environmental conditions cannot degrade the system to the extent that is cannot be used for its intended mission.
a) Must withstand the effects of the full climatic range of jungle operations (generally 0-40 C, 32-104 F).
b) Must be rot, mildew, chlorine, salt water, UV light and petroleum, oils and lubricant (POL) resistant.
c) Must have a shelf life of not less than three years as a threshold and five years as an objective.
d) The backpack system must provide flame resistance equal to that of the current Ballistic Armor Load Carrying System (BALCS).
e) Pack should have better ventilation than legacy pack systems measurable by user evaluations. The pack frame MUST provide standoff from the back of the user for ventilation ability. Either an external frame or internal contoured frame should meet this requirement.


1. Pack can be attached to personnel to be flown under Parachute operations without causing increased risk of injury (HALO & Static Line).

2. Must be capable of supporting the weight of an attached loaded Butt Pack with a weight of 20 pounds.

3. Items must be capable of being made in Multi Cam, AOR1, AOR2, and Coyote.

4. Pack weight of 4 pound as a threshold and 3 pounds as an objective.

5. Must be compatible and interface with BALCS components to include Low Visibility Body Armor Vest (LBAV) and Load Carriage System (LCS).

6. Use an Internal, external or hybrid frame style. The Pack suite is expected to fit 5 – 95 % males with built in torso length adjustability from 14 – 21 inches and 3 sized waist belts (S 28-34, M 34-40, L 40+)

7. Jettison capability that can be done quickly under 10 seconds and not causing harm to personnel who are standing or running during jettison maneuvers.

8. Integral load carriage system padded and reinforced so that personnel can carry heavy and/or irregular shaped loads and capable of carrying/supporting a maximum of 90 lbs.

9. The frame and/or its supporting elements shall be ergonomically efficient and sized to optimize compartment and equipment placement (minimum number of sizes with minimum number of adjustments). Provide adjustments (straps, cords, or other mechanisms) to allow the shifting of the load from the shoulders to the hips and vice versa to minimize discomfort/muscle strain in those areas while wearing the system. The majority of the weight should be placed on the hips. The shoulder straps will provide a quote mark clean quote mark surface to the front which will not interfere with the shouldering and firing of a weapon.

10. For minimal interference with individual movement, Pack should utilize a minimum amount of MOLLIE compatible webbing on the back of the Pack for the attachment of external items.

11. Sides of pack will be slick with no webbing or attachment points in order to reduce snagging in operational environments.

12. The back pack shall be compatible with the current Commercial Off the Shelf (COTS) hydration suites (100 oz standard bladder) providing a method of retention to secure the bladder.

13. The pack will have a removable (quick release) top/closing flap that is a light backpack/bolt bag 200-500CI.

14. The pack will provide a means for communications pass through.

15. The pack will contain a removable inner pouch with keeper capable of maintaining a radio (PRC117 size) at the top/back part of the backpack for accessibility with drainage.

16. Must withstand delivery by parachutist as part of the main pack or as a standalone item. As a threshold the patrol pack must be deliverable by the Single Point Release Harness, H – Harness, Spider Harness or parachutist drop bag.

17. The Pack must have a top and side carrying handles rated at 105 lbs.

18. Personnel must be able to easily manipulate the adjustment and release mechanisms while wearing cold weather and wet suit gloves during the day and night.

19. The shoulder straps will provide a quote mark clean quote mark surface to the front, which will not interfere with shouldering and firing of a weapon.

20. The pack shall be comfortable and not cause hot spots, chafe or discomfort to the wearer. It shall allow for full range of movement of all appendages.

21. The pack must be of water resistant design (material) and incorporate drain holes/grommets in all the components to include pockets and pouches.

22. Must be compatible with other items of individual equipment both fielded and emerging.

Materials must also meet the requirements of the Berry Amendment, 10 USC 2533a.


Vendors who believe they have product(s) capable of meeting the above requirements are requested to submit a short (no more than 3 pages total) summary, including description, performance information, pictures and website (if available). Vendors are also request (but not required) to submit a sample of one (1) yard of material with their response to this RFI (see below). The three (3) page summary must include Company name and address, point of contact with phone number, DUNS number, Cage Code and a statement regarding any small business designation (if applicable), by the date and to the address noted below. The North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code is 315990 – Apparel Accessories and Other Apparel Manufacturing and the small business size is 500 employees.

Interested parties have until 4:00PM EST 2 February 2015.

Smith Elite Boogie Goggle Added to Special Operations Eyewear Program

Monday, September 29th, 2014

The Special Operations Eyewear Program has been around for more than a decade but no new products have been added since 2005; until now. SOEP is a procurement vehicle supporting SOF personnel with approved eye protection. This is not a push fielding where the SOF program office purchases a large quantity of teh google and sends them out to individual units on a one-per-operator BOIP. Rather, the Boogie goggle has been certified, assigned an NSN and added to an existing list of eyepro available for issue to units via SOEP. The unit has to request the goggle.

Smith Boogie Goggle SOEP

Basically, if you’re a jumper or in a mobility billet that finds you atop ATVs or driving vehicles, then these are for you. They also work very well under NVGs as they are low profile and vent pretty well thanks to the patented ventilator as well as their anti-fog coating. It meets US MIL-DTL-43511D goggle protection levels, protects the eyes from 100% of UV-A and B protection and also incorporates scratch resistant coating. Additionally, Smith Elite offers several mounting options which are compatible with the issue Maritime FAST Helmet.

If you’re assigned to a SOF unit supported by SPEAR and are interested in getting a Smith Elite Boogie Goggle, contact your supply section. It has been assigned NSNs based on lens color and can be requisitioned through SOEP along with other styles also on the program.

SOCOM Seeking New Materials for Jungle Uniform

Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Last week, Program Manager (PM) Special Operations Forces (SOF) Survival Support and Equipment Systems (SSES) issued a Request for Information For Jungle Uniform Development and Evaluation Materials. Specifically, they are conducting market research to identify candidate materials for use in hot wet climates (tropical to jungle). I’ve gone into quite a bit of detail regarding the US Army’s interest in similar fabrics earlier this year so feel free to go check that out here if you are interested in some additional background.

Here’s what they are specifically interested in:

The jungle uniform, in a design to be determined, will consist of a jacket, trousers and cap. The evaluation is to identify performance parameters of both materials and design to meet user identified needs to include moisture management, comfort, insect protection, signature management and compatibility with individual equipment. Testing will be conducted by equal number of evaluators for each design including field evaluations in various tropical jungle environments while conducting military tasks. At the completion of field evaluations users may determine the acceptability of each uniform. Upon completion of testing one or more designs and material may be selected for production to meet the current requirement and a production run then executed. An optional block two evaluation, if needed to refine desired characteristics and performance, will be conducted by users again in tropical/jungles environments conducting military tasks.

Performance Attributes in priority order:

Quick drying
Not sticking when wet (to skin)
Thermal (ability to dissipate heat)

Personal Signature Management:
NIR or ability to be met.
Available print patterns and or ability to be printed.

Tear strength (wet and dry)
Seam strength (wet and dry)
Puncture and tear propagation
Colorfastness to laundering, light, and perspiration.

Insect Resistance:
Physical barrier
Treatment (DEET/Permethrin, other)
UV protection


Material Samples:
Respondents that believe they can provide materials that meet the Government’s performance requirements are invited to submit material samples with their written responses. These samples will be degraded or destroyed during evaluation and will not be returned to the respondent. In addition, the respondent must provide the following information on the submitted samples.
1. A material description, fiber blend percentages, and Berry compliance documentation. The supplier must identify the performance of the submitted material.
2. If a supplier submits multiple materials, it is requested that they identify the advantage/disadvantages of their competing products.
3. Provide an estimated unit cost (linear yards for fabric and unit item cost for end item)
4. Submit minimum of one (1), but preferably five (5) linear yards in any color.
5. The finished cloth or end item shall not present a dermal health hazard when used as intended and tested. The respondent must furnish information, which certifies that the finished product is composed of materials, which have been safely used commercially or provided sufficient toxicity data to show compatibility with prolonged, direct skin contact

If you’re interested, you’ve got until 28 August to respond. I’m sure they’ll also be checking out what’s available at next week’s Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City. For full details visit