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SOCOM’s Body Armor Load Carriage System (BALCS) to develop and acquire the lighter, more durable and more is supplied by Mystery Ranch, a backpack-maker in technically advanced gear demanded by high-risk, highBozeman, Mont. BALCS features the latest fitting and payoff missions. stability technology, according to the company. Mystery Navy SEALs thus have ready access to gear more resistant Ranch, formed in 2000 primarily to work with the Navy than normal to corrosion, while Army special operators get SEAL community, has since worked with every tier of lighter, more capable personal gear. If rifles and sidearms Special Ops, according to Mark must be souped up, it happens Seacat, director of marketing. “We quickly. Instead of a standard-issue SUCH NICHE CAPABILITIES create everything, from light-carry 9mm Beretta pistol, for instance, three-day assault packs, which is Special Forces operators may prefer AREN’T USUALLY GIVEN TO probably our most popular pack, to a Colt .45 with modifications like ALL U.S. FORCES BECAUSE concealed sniper rifle packs.” The a unique trigger -- and have no THEY ARE NOT REQUIRED, Rapid Access Trauma System, or problem getting it in a hurry. AND BECAUSE THEY’RE RATS, pack uses Velcro and colorThe service components within coding to allow a medic to quickly Special Operations Forces do NOT CHEAP. pull out just what is needed. make the greatest possible use Ceramic body armor is of equipment provided by their produced by Ceradyne Inc., of Costa Mesa, Calif. The parent services, but “the unique nature of SOF missions armor is made of boron carbide, which Ceradyne describes frequently drives different materiel solutions” among the as “the lightest technical ceramic material ... as well as the services, Air Force Maj. Wes Ticer, a USSOCOM spokesman, hardest,” second only to diamonds. says in an email response to questions. He doesn’t address individual equipment, but does say pecial Forces have almost always had special gear, that “in the mobility area, the service-provided High Mobility but the level of sophistication grew after 1987, when Multi-Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV) and Mine Resistant USSOCOM was formed. One reason is that with all Ambush Protected Vehicles (MRAP) are often outfitted with the money in one bucket instead of being spread around specific command, control, communication and computer to special units in the individual services, it has been easier intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance suites to support
Airmen pull security and establish a line of communication on Kunsan Air Base, South Korea.
28 DEFENSE STANDARD Tactical Gear 2017
DEFENSE STANDARD Winter 2017