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SPECIAL REPORT

Advanced Load Carriage and Weapon Carriage Systems for Modern Military Operations Why it’s Time to Rethink the Modern Soldier’s Load-Carrying System Integrating the Load Lightening the Infantry Load Adaptable Modular Military Load Carriage Systems The Future of Load Carriage

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

SPECIAL REPORT

Advanced Load Carriage and Weapon Carriage Systems for Modern Military Operations Why it’s Time to Rethink the Modern Soldier’s Load-Carrying System

Contents

Integrating the Load Lightening the Infantry Load Adaptable Modular Military Load Carriage Systems The Future of Load Carriage

Foreword 2 Mary Dub, Editor

Why it’s Time to Rethink the Modern Soldier’s Load-Carrying System

3

Per-Henrik Magnusson, Founder and Owner, SnigelDesign AB Sweden

Armed Conflict Trends

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Demands on the Soldier’s Personal Equipment The SnigelDesign System – A Next Generation Load-Carrying Solution

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks

Integrating the Load

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Mary Dub, International Security Writer

The Impact of Load Carriage in Hot Climates The Integration of Load Carriage and Clothing and Networking The German IdZ-ES (Future Soldier – Enhanced System)

Lightening the Infantry Load

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Don McBarnet, Defence Technology Writer

Editor Mary Dub

20th Century Advances and Load Echeloning Load Tailoring The Size, Shape and Mass of a Load

Senior Project Manager Steve Banks

Adaptable Modular Military Load Carriage Systems

Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes

Mary Dub, International Security Writer

Production Manager Paul Davies

User Feedback Produces Modifications

For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org

Other European Military Variations

The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

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New Range of Fittings for Different Sizes Adaptability is the Key The New British VIRTUS Personal Protection and Load Carriage System

The Future of Load Carriage

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Don McBarnet, Defence Technology Writer

Israeli Military Medical Research Women Dismounted Soldiers’ Equipment Needs The Indian Army Looks to a Fantastical Future

References 15

© 2015. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Foreword T

HIS SPECIAL Report focuses on the immediate concern of every soldier – what he has to wear and carry on operations. Throughout the intense conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq the capabilities of the equipment that soldiers had to wear and carry in the approach to forward operation bases and dismounted on patrol became an issue. Load and weapons carriage systems were refined to reduce the burden and free the war fighter to attack the task of fighting effectively. The opening article in this Special Report by

modular system builds on this experience. This is covered in the third piece. In the fourth article we look at the history of load carriage and comparative advantages of modular front and backpacks. The design thinking behind the US Army’s ALICE, and integrated MOLLE system are the central focus of the piece. While over in Europe a new Dutch and Belgian system is being brought into use. The British army is keeping up with its VIRTUS load carriage system.

Per-Henrik Magnusson, Founder and Owner of

Peering into the future to guess at what lies over the

SnigelDesign AB, looks at next generation personal

horizon is not easy. Projecting forward current trends

equipment systems and their importance to the

in load carriage may be a way forward. In the 21st

individual soldier. Modern conflicts are bringing about

century women fighting in ISAF in Iraq and Afghanistan

changes in demands on the soldier’s gear towards

and other NATO armies have had an increasing

more complex and heavier equipment loads. At the

presence. The level of additional injuries and stress

same time, the soldier must be able to move, hear and

fractures caused by poorly fitting load carriage and

see as much as possible while wearing full combat

protective equipment is an issue. Women security

gear and must be comfortable, so facilitating free

forces’ protective and load carriage equipment has

movement of arms and legs. To overcome many of

been studied by Israeli and Australian researchers who

these problems, SnigelDesign has worked closely

have highlighted the need for women to have load

with numerous armed forces to develop a modular

carriage and body armour designed specifically for

system with a high degree of flexibility for a wide

their different body shapes.

range of threats and missions.

While the European and North American market

The second article in this report covers some of

for load carriage systems is mature, the Indian army

the issues in designing load carriage and protective

and others in Asia is more resilient, reflecting the high

equipment for soldiers. Of course, the environment in

growth levels of their economy. Some Indian military

which the equipment is to be used is highly important.

commentators dream of systems which verge on

The impact of heat stress and/or mountainous terrain

science fiction, but will this be the new reality?

can make a great difference to the type of load carriage system used. The Bundeswehr recently updated its integrated load carriage system. How this was achieved and what was done is reviewed. Lessons learned from history sheds light on historic solutions to familiar problems. The US Army’s new

Mary Dub Editor

Mary Dub has written about international security in the United States, Europe, Africa and the Middle East as a television broadcaster and journalist and has a Masters degree in War Studies from King’s College, London.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Why it’s Time to Rethink the Modern Soldier’s Load-Carrying System Per-Henrik Magnusson, Founder and Owner, SnigelDesign AB Sweden

Decades of experience gathered from forces fighting in Iraq, Afghanistan and other locations find militaries around the world rethinking their combat needs. Much of the focus, of course, has been on weapon systems, sensors, communications and more. But equally important is the soldier’s uniform, protective equipment and load-carrying systems – the backbone for quick, safe and reliable operations. This article explores the challenges and opportunities emerging for next-generation personal equipment systems.

What is the modern battlefield? While it might sound far-fetched to claim that socio-political factors could influence the design of a pouch or backpack, the evolution of modern load-carrying systems is indeed a reflection of the changing demands of the modern battlefield. Today, small, highly manoeuvrable teams of soldiers need to face insurgents and terrorists nestled within the civilian population. The frontlines are blurred or non-existent. Even the distinction between “war” and “peace” may disappear during long-term conflicts where a “new normal” of low-intensity conflict is emerging. Diverse range of challenges In this non-linear world, soldiers need to switch between prolonged, low-intensity “policing” missions and short bursts of high-intensity action. And of course, modern missions will be playing out in climates ranging from baking deserts to Arctic cold. All of these challenges place different requirements on the soldier’s protective and loadcarrying equipment. The importance of the individual soldier In modern armed conflicts, success or failure may come down to the performance of small teams, or even individual soldiers. This strategic importance of the soldier, paired with a strong trend towards low tolerance for casualties, drives the need for enhanced personal protection, and first-rate medical equipment and procedures.

Armed Conflict Trends • Internationalization: Missions are increasingly international co-operation efforts, driving the need for interoperability and agile logistics. •B  lurred or non-existent frontlines: Not only are the frontlines blurred, it is also difficult to identify and separate friendly forces, hostiles and non-combatants. •S  mall-scale, short-range manoeuvrability: Masses of men or firepower will no longer be the overwhelming success factor but rather smaller, smarter, quicker teams. •N  ew technology, robotics and communications: Remotely piloted vehicles, satellite aided surveillance and high-tech digital communications tools are increasingly a game-changer. •D  iverse climatic and environment challenges: Troops need to carry out mission-critical tasks in an increasingly wide variety of climates. •E  volved ballistic and other threats: Increased protection from armour-piercing bullets, shrapnel, roadside bombs and other IEDs is a growing need.

Demands on the Soldier’s Personal Equipment The evolution of modern armed conflicts is driving changes in the demands on the soldier’s gear towards more complex, heavier equipment loads.

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

From an ergonomic perspective, a soldier should not be carrying a load in excess of 30% of body weight

Carrying more, not less Modern soldiers are increasingly required to carry more, not less. Typically, when an 80 kg soldier stands on a scale with his standard gear on, he weighs in at 125 kg, (45 kg of equipment). For longer field manoeuvres, he carries his large rucksack, weighing in at 145 kg (a whopping 65 kg of gear). Importance of system thinking From an ergonomic perspective, a soldier should not be carrying a load in excess of 30% of body weight. Unfortunately, this is seldom the case. As a result, there is an acute need for smarter, lighter systems that can be easily adapted for different missions, environments and threats. To cope with conflicting parameters, system thinking is required in order to ensure the optimal result: maximum comfort, safety and logistical efficiency. Modern personal equipment needs in brief • Enhanced protection on all levels •M  odularity for adaptable, mission-specific solutions • Intuitive, easy and fast •E  nable economical and practical logistics solutions

Achieving heightened protection on all levels Protection from ballistic threats is a given, but in many cases the most severe dangers are heat, cold, rain and snow. Fire is a constant threat that must be countered. Also, it is vital to evade detection by visual or thermal sensors. Design parameters can be conflicting; measures to increase ballistic protection normally lead to increased weight and heat stress and decreased mobility as one example. Adapting for different missions and threats It is costly and impractical for modern fighting units to have separate systems for different conditions. It is also unnecessarily complicated to learn to use a lot of different pieces of kit properly. Instead, the need is for personal equipment that can be adapted and configured modularly for use in diverse missions in multiple environments. Minimizing restriction for the soldier Today, there is a greater need than ever to carry mission-specific equipment and move through various challenging terrains. Consequently, it is vital for the soldier to be able to move, hear and see as much as possible while wearing full combat gear. The load-carrying system must be as comfortable as possible. It must allow the head to move freely with ear defenders on, facilitate free movement of the arms and legs and let the soldier crawl, run and jump. Accommodate for all gear during all mission phases The dismounted mission, which forms the base for all development of personal equipment, is divided into stages: Transport to the mission area, planning, rehearsal, insertion, foot march, break, obstacle negotiation, rest-up base establishment, recon, mission execution, foot march, extraction, and post-mission briefing. Each stage places different demands on the personal equipment, so the various parts of the system must be designed for multiple purposes. The equipment must work for all types of soldiers and specialists: commander, radio operator, medic, machine gunner, sniper and more. Easy, intuitive, and fast to reach A fundamental criterion is that all equipment is placed so that it is easy to work with. Pouches, bags and backpacks must be easy to open and close, while still keeping contents securely stowed. It should be possible to do this silently, in the dark, wearing gloves.

SOLDIER WITH MODERN LOAD-CARRYING EQUIPMENT, BALLISTIC PROTECTION AND UNIFORM, DESIGNED TO WORK IN CONCERT DURING ALL PHASES OF THE MISSION.

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Sub-system compatibility It is not uncommon for the uniform to have been developed by one department, the vest by another, some pouches by the weapons


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

division, the survival pouch by another and so on. In other words, the sub-systems are not necessarily designed to work together, making it difficult to optimize the soldier’s personal equipment. For optimal results, the soldier must be treated as a holistic system where all parts work in concert. Someone must “own” the soldier and all interfaces, prioritize what should be carried and ensure a fully integrated, modular approach. Economical and manageable logistical solutions The amount of equipment the modern soldier needs to carry and the varying environments he or she is expected to operate in has led to increased complexity and cost. This, in turn, creates a logistical burden for the chain servicing the troops, making it even more important to come up with smarter, modular solutions to minimize the number of components to be purchased, stored, distributed and serviced.

underwear, insulation garments, combat shirt, trousers and jacket, all-weather trousers and jacket, lightweight shell trousers and jacket and various types of gloves and caps. All garments are designed to work together, as well as with the load-carrying and protection systems. The garments are worn in layers to suit the climate, and are cut to give greater freedom of movement and added mobility. They include large ventilation openings as well as pockets that are placed so they can be reached when worn with the carrying and protection systems. Knee and elbow pads are integrated into the garments for added comfort and protection. As one example of how the clothing and load-carrying systems work together, four pockets are placed on the lower trouser legs. This placement makes the kit easy to reach when kneeling, for instance when the medic is treating a wounded comrade. Load-carrying and protection sub-systems

The SnigelDesign System – A Next Generation Load-Carrying Solution One promising solution to many of the challenges mentioned above has been developed by an experienced team of military professionals and engineers at SnigelDesign of Sweden. Over the past 25 years, guided by a philosophy of “uncompromising functionality”, the company has worked closely with numerous armed forces around the world to develop a truly forward-thinking approach. It is a modular system that provides an exceptionally high degree of flexibility for a wide range of threats and missions, and is available in colours and patterns suitable for most regions. For added clarity in the illustrations below, the component described in each section is shown in MultiCam®, with the rest of the system in grey. Fully integrated clothing sub-system Designed with a holistic approach, the clothing sub-system comprises all the standard parts:

LAYERED CLOTHING SYSTEM FOR ALL CLIMATES

PROTECTIVE VEST WITH MOLLE PANELS FOR LOAD CARRYING

The SnigelDesign integrated ballistic protection and load-carrying system can be adapted to provide basic protection to ensure maximum mobility and less heat stress, or for maximum protection with fewer demands on mobility, or all combinations in between. The vest comes in small, medium, and large to accommodate most body sizes. It can be closed with straps only in the side for maximum ventilation and lowest weight. For added protection, ballistic side pouches in three different sizes can also be attached. Equipment pouches can be attached to the straps or side panels. Add-on ballistic protection For higher than normal threats, additional protection panels and hard plates can easily be attached to the standard vest. The added protection includes throat/neck, shoulder, upper arms and groin kits. For maximum protection, lower arms and full leg coverage can also be added. WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 5


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

The pouch system

the opening needs to be silent, it must work while wearing gloves, in darkness and without looking at the latching mechanism. All SnigelDesign pouches are designed for swift and silent feel-only opening and closing, while keeping the content secure in all weather conditions. Zippers are stiffened to ensure snag-free operation, even when pouches are hard to reach.

consists of a range of accessories that can be fitted to the vest, allowing an easily configurable

Backpacks and bags

load-carrying capability that can be tailored to the needs of the individual user

VEST WITH YOKE, SHOULDER AND GROIN KITS

Pouches and holders The pouch system consists of a range of accessories that can be fitted to the vest, allowing an easily configurable load-carrying capability that can be tailored to the needs of the individual user. Many of the pouches can be attached either vertically or horizontally, making it easier to use the available space on the load-carrying system. Some pouches are specifically designed to fit a certain piece of equipment, but most can be adapted for many types of gear. The opening and closing function of pouches must be carefully designed to meet conflicting needs. Not only must pouches be easy and fast to open, but equally easy to close to minimize the risk of losing equipment. The closing must also be secure to prevent accidental opening while running or climbing, for instance. On top of this,

THE MISSION PACK ATTACHED TO THE VEST AND THE 120-LITRE RUCKSACK

As part of the load-carrying system, the company has developed various duffle and other bags for transport to the mission area. For the insertion phase, the firm has developed 120 and 90-litre rucksacks. From base, a 40 or 25-litre detachable mission backpack is used, either on its own or attached directly to the vest. The mission packs are fitted with interchangeable inserts designed to meet the demands of various specialists, allowing users to carry the extra equipment required for a 24 to 48-hour mission.

Contact SnigelDesign AB Fryksdalsbacken 10 SE-123 43 Farsta (Stockholm) SWEDEN

POUCHES ATTACHED TO THE MOLLE PANELS

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Telephone +46 8 530 404 61 Fax +46 8 530 404 60 e-mail info@snigeldesign.com www.snigeldesign.com


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Integrating the Load Mary Dub, International Security Writer

“Soldiers are like athletes, except athletes perform and they’re done. Soldiers have to do a six-to-12-mile road march and get in there, and then they have to perform, so you want them optimized.” Dr. Leif Hasselquist, Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center NSRDEC, biomechanist1

T

HERE ARE many approaches to the task of load carriage, such as by a bio mechanist, like the quote above, doing research on load carriage for the US Army or, an ergonomics specialist and more. But the aspect that will appeal directly to the soldier is that of the military man who sees load carriage as a critical part of risk management. A poorly loaded or overloaded soldier is a risk to himself and has reduced effectiveness in carrying out his military task. Overloaded has been imputed with reducing soldier effectiveness causing soldier injury and, by reducing mobility while under enemy fire, causing combat wounds. On this basis, load carriage presents risks of both injury and reductions in soldier effectiveness2. Loads carried by soldiers have been observed to impact on soldier mobility, marksmanship, grenade throwing ability, general task performance and attention to task.3 The burdened dismounted soldier can only look with irony at the attempts to reduce the total weight carried by improving technology. Whereas transport options may have reduced the soldier’s load, many new technologies increase it. Signals equipment for example, AN/PRC the multi band team radio weighs in at 4.5 kg, Laser Range Finders at 2.3 kg and body armour for example, Interceptor Body Armour with SAPI plates 8 kg. So, rather than technology lightening the load for the soldier, the opposite is occurring. The soldier is now considered to be ‘overburdened with the weight of his technologies’.4

The Impact of Load Carriage in Hot Climates Load carriage in a hot climate or up an incline at speed adds a new load – more water to be carried to combat the dehydration of the carrier. So the type of terrain over which the load is to be carried also matters. Heat, incline, sand, speed of travel all add to the physiological impact on the

load carrier. What’s more, as Lieutenant Robin Marc Orr puts it, the load is carried on many parts of the body. For a soldier, load carriage is more than just a single load in a backpack. Load carriage comprises loads carried on the head (helmet, night vision devices, radio headset), body (pack, webbing, body armour), thigh (pistol, protective mask), and feet (boots) and in the hands (personal weapon plus optical and targeting attachments). As such, three aspects have impact, the load, the distribution of load, and the impact of this distribution. All three aspects impact on body performance.5

The Integration of Load Carriage and Clothing and Networking What is new about 21st century load carriage is the continuing integration of load carriage with environmental clothing and ballistic protection and networking technology. How is this being done? The French and German systems approach integration in different ways. FELIN V1, and the current V2, deliver a wide range of capabilities and protection within items of clothing that also carry loads. For example, the electronic jacket integrates the electronics (computer unit, manager unit, radio, man-machine interface, GPS, cables and connector), flexible water bottle, FAMAS (the French assault rifle) magazines and grenades, and optimises weight distribution on the soldier. The equipment is autonomous and can be used alone. The French NRBC combat clothing is similar to permanent combat clothing. It is designed to allow combat phases to be carried out with the same efficiency as that achieved with conventional combat clothing. The flak jacket accommodates flexible ballistic protection and hard ballistic protection. Essentially, the jacket becomes a portable electronic platform. It is designed to utilise all the electronic resources found on the electronic jacket (computer, energy manager, peripheral equipment interfaces, user WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 7


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

A poorly loaded or overloaded soldier is a risk to himself and has reduced effectiveness in carrying out his military task

interfaces). The system is built around a USB 2.0. digital data bus. The extensive connectivity gives the portable electronic platform, and hence the system, strong interoperability.

The German IdZ-ES (Future Soldier – Enhanced System) The new German Rheinmetall modular combat system incorporates new technologies with advanced materials that offer protection against optical reconnaissance and bad weather conditions plus improved protection against the effects of NBC agents and ballistic weapons. The clothing provides class 1 ballistic protection, which can be extended and can accommodate

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munitions, explosive ordnance and other devices. The heart and brain of “IdZ-ES” is the core system which merges power supply and command and control (C4I) functions in a specifically designed “electronic backpack”. This monitors the processes of all individual components within the core computer. The “electronic backpack” includes the core computer, radio equipment and power supply. The modular architecture makes the system extremely flexible, allowing it to be adapted to different operational conditions and making the system suitable for all weather conditions.6 The IdZ-ES is a demonstration of a clothing and load carriage system becoming part of a system of systems.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Lightening the Infantry Load Don McBarnet, Defence Technology Writer

“The carrying of loads by troops is an important aspect of military operations that can become critical in some situations. Overloading with ammunition and equipment can lead to excessive fatigue and impair the ability to fight. Military historians cite numerous examples where heavy loads directly or indirectly resulted in reduced performance, unnecessary deaths, and lost battles.”7 US MAJ (R) Joseph Knapik, ScD US LTC Katy Reynolds, MD U-S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine

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HE EXPERIENCE in Afghanistan and Iraq emphasize that the overloading of troops is still a problem in modern warfare. But the nub of this question is how much load is too much? This issue is not new to military historians. 19th and 20th century insight into load carriage realised the impact of heavy loads. After the Crimean War, a British “Committee Appointed to Inquire into the Effects of the Present System of Carrying Accoutrements, Ammunition and Kit of the Infantry Soldier” recommended that soldier loads be reduced to 21 kg through the elimination of “necessaries”, especially underclothing. Studies at the Frederick William Institute (of the Prussian Army) in 1895 showed that soldiers could “tolerate” marching 24 km with a load mass of 22 kg if the weather was cool. In warm weather, this test caused “minor disturbances” from which the men recovered in 1 day. In 1908 a British “Committee on the Physiological Effects of Food, Training, and Clothing of the Soldier” developed a much improved load carriage system that was used in WWI. In 1920, the Hygiene Advisory Board of the British Army recommended that the soldier’s load should not exceed 18 to 20 kg or 1/3 of his body weight while marching.8

20th Century Advances and Load Echeloning It was not until 1987 that the Army Development and Employment Agency (ADEA) further developed the concept of load echeloning. They called the load carried by the soldier the “combat load”, which was defined as the mission-essential equipment required by soldiers to fight, survive, and complete their combat mission. The combat

load was further divided into a “fighting load” and “approach march load”. The fighting load was carried when enemy contact was expected or stealth was necessary. It consisted of the soldier’s clothing, load-bearing equipment, helmet, weapon, rations, bayonet, and ammunition. The approach march load was carried in more prolonged operations. It included the combat load plus a pack, sleeping roll, extra clothing, extra rations, and extra ammunition. Current U.S. Army doctrine recommends 22 kg (or 30% body weight) for the fighting load and 33 kg (or 45% body weight) for the approach march load.9

Load Tailoring There is little new about load tailoring or lightening the load for combat. However, the US Army has approached the issue of load carriage by looking more widely than the load itself. They looked for lighter weight components for the load. The US Army, like the British, have detailed and weighted description of everything that soldiers take on operations. Each item is considered, designed and weighed.10 This was refined further with a soldier load-planning model. This was a computer program that aided the commander in tailoring loads through a risk analysis based on the mission, enemy, terrain, troops and time (METT-T). Two other aspects were considered – improving the marksmanship of the soldiers, so they needed to carry less ammunition and improving their physical conditioning, so he or she was better able to carry the load.

The Size, Shape and Mass of a Load The legacy 20th century system for the US army to carry loads was the ALICE (All-Purpose Light WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 9


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

They called the load carried by the soldier the “combat load�, which was defined as the mission-essential equipment required by soldiers to fight, survive, and complete their combat mission

Weight Individual Carrying Equipment) system. The ALICE backpack was durable, stable with heavy loads, and provided ventilation to the back since the external frame held the rucksack away from the body. However, adjustment was limited and the system had shortcomings. The ALICE method required a long training time to use effectively. It was useful only in unobstructed horizontal terrain, and produced a high profile (greater body signature) in the wearer.11 Research indicated that there were significant advantages to carrying a load as close as possible to the centre of mass of the

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body. Also, double packing, carrying a pack front and back, was shown to have a lower energy cost per man than most other forms of load carriage. But the front pack of a double pack creates its own issues. The front pack can inhibit movement and make sudden contact with the enemy difficult. The front pack also adds to heat stress. One critical aspect of every bag/load carriage system is that the pack needs to be doffed or put down at great speed in the event of sudden enemy contact. Nothing should get in the way of being able to fire a weapon.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Adaptable Modular Military Load Carriage Systems Mary Dub, International Security Writer

T

he load carriage system currently used by the US Army is modular and adaptable for operational demands. MOLLE, the Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment system was developed at the U.S. Army Soldier Systems Center (Natick). It has different variations for a rifleman, grenadier, pistol, and squad assault weapon gunner and medic configurations. The new technology is centred on the MOLLE’s frame, which was first built as a model in Natick’s Rapid Prototyping Facility. It replaces the legacy ALICE (All-purpose, Lightweight, Individual Carrying Equipment) system. Instead of the tubular aluminium used with ALICE, MOLLE has a new anatomically contoured frame made with plastic originally used in car bumpers. This has dramatically increased durability. It is designed for extremes of temperature ranging from -40 to 120 degrees12. “A lot of (ALICE) frames broke in airborne operations. You won’t see those failures with MOLLE. You can drive a tracked vehicle over it, and it will not break,” according to John Kirk, project engineer at Natick.

New Range of Fittings for Different Sizes Heavily padded shoulder straps and waist belt are adjustable for varying torso lengths, upgrading the two sizes of ALICE. The U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, located at Natick, assisted with biomechanical studies to find the most efficient way to carry loads and investigated the interaction between different load-carriage equipment and human performance. More weight is distributed at the shoulders and hips, and during a prolonged road march soldiers can shift the weight to where it feels more comfortable.13

User Feedback Produces Modifications The MOLLE system has been adapted with use. User feedback on the original system meant that the MOLLE specifications were modified to eliminate the need for a quick-release frame that integrates into the load-bearing vest. The change allowed developers to replace the probe and socket mechanism, which caused problems in donning for some soldiers and Marines, to a quick-release mechanism for a more traditional permanently mounted waist belt on the frame. The Fighting Load Carrier (FLC) replaces the Load Bearing Equipment (LBE) web belt and suspenders of the ALICE. The project engineer, John Kirk, said soldiers could increase significantly the amount of ammunition they carry, and that weight is evenly distributed across the torso. The vest has no metal clips or hooks that can be awkward and dig into the skin, and has an H-harness on the back to minimize heat build-up. It’s adjustable to all sizes, and because the vest sits high, soldiers can fasten the MOLLE frame waist belt underneath the FLC to distribute some of the load to the hips. Three flap pockets on the FLC each hold two 30-round magazines, two grenade pockets and two canteen pouches. The rucksack has a front pocket to hold a claymore antipersonnel mine. Inside is a bandolier with a capacity for six 30-round magazines and a removable tactical radio pocket. A detachable sustainment pouch on each side is big enough to hold a Meal Ready-to-Eat with room to spare, and underneath the rucksack, a sleeping bag compartment was designed to hold the Army’s new modular sleeping bag.

Adaptability is the Key The MOLLE load carriage system has attachment points and pockets that can be useful for moving some items from the rucksack to the front of the body. Items carried on the front of the body

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SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

The U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine, located at Natick, assisted with biomechanical studies to find the most efficient way to carry loads and investigated the interaction between different load-carriage equipment and human performance

should be those likely to be needed suddenly or needed often. According to research, the most advantageous distribution of the load in the pack may depend on the type of terrain. On roads or well-graded paths, placement of heavy items high in the pack is preferable to maintain a more upright body posture and possibly reduce low back problems. On uneven terrain a more even distribution of the load within the pack is helpful to maintain stability. Load reductions and redistribution can limit energy cost, decrease injuries, and improve performance on tasks following the load carriage.14

Other European Military Variations After some controversy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Luxemburg have opted for a contract with Elbit Systems together with Thales Netherlands for a joint “smart vest� project.15 The Belgian minister of defence, Steven Vandeput said he would sign a contract for an initial batch of 40 preproduction vests in June (2015). On 4 June, the Dutch MoD informed parliament about the

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contract. It has decided to award a contract to Elbit for both preproduction and production series systems. The other two participating nations, still need to decide the next step.

The New British VIRTUS Personal Protection and Load Carriage System Project VIRTUS is the new British load carriage system. Programmed for delivery is a new integrated head, torso and load carriage system with the ability for quick release that will form the foundation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). According to British Ministry of Defence announcements, it will be the core component of the Dismounted Close Combat Soldier. VIRTUS will support the activities of all service personnel engaged in a Dismounted Close Combat role; this encompasses Soldiers, Marines and Airmen involved on Land, Littoral Manoeuvre and Ground Support to Air Operations. SOURCE Vagabond, the supplier, announced that it had been awarded a multi-year contract to supply an initial quantity of 9000.


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

The Future of Load Carriage Don McBarnet, Defence Technology Writer

P

REDICTING THE future in any field is always a high-risk gamble. Will technology progress along a predictable trend or will there be unexpected disruptive changes that force a step change in thinking? The answer may be both and some random unexpected development as well. There are two potentially important trends that may change thinking among load carriage contractors. First, Australian and Israeli researchers note that there are increasingly high percentages of women working as dismounted infantry who are carrying standard loads and, if not in direct combat with the enemy, are in high intensity conflict zones during hybrid warfare. The changing nature of warfare and combat environments in the 21st century have seen women soldiers engaging with the enemy, receiving awards for combat actions and becoming combat fatalities. These changes require the female soldier, like their male counterpart, to wear body armour and carry increasingly heav y loads, ranging between 40 to 60 kg in Iraq and Afghanistan.16 Why does gender make a difference in load carrying equipment?

Israeli Military Medical Research One of the consequences of overloading or improperly loading dismounted soldiers is that they expend more energy, become fatigued and then become less effective fighters. In Israeli research on Israeli women Border Police Recruits, female military personnel had a higher incidence of stress fractures. The research notes that the female soldier is clothed and equipped as her male counterpart; but even the smaller-sized fighting gear is often too big for the female size and since most females have a narrower shoulder girth, the combat gear hangs over their torsos. The equipment weight is similar for both genders which de-facto, means a higher percentage of body weight for the female fighter to carry and even higher when calculated for lean body mass. This

can amount to 20-25% of her body weight.17 Improved physical training and conditioning was noted to reduce the incidence of stress fractures, but as the Australian military research reveals, like men, women need equipment and body armour that is adaptable to their range of body shapes. Problems with pack fit, shoulder strap fit and position of the waist belt have been identified as the more common concerns.

Women Dismounted Soldiers’ Equipment Needs These load carriage equipment concerns are exacerbated when female soldiers are required to wear body armour. A study by Fullenkamp capturing the anthropometric data of defence force soldiers from four NATO countries highlighted the fact that designing protective equipment to accommodate female soldier structure was not as simple as scaling down maleproportioned figures. Likewise, data collected by Harman led the authors to recommend that female soldiers required more specific sizing options than male soldiers due to greater variability in chestwaist-hip ratios.18 One particular problem is the inability of some women soldiers to be able to cinch the waist belt of the MOLLE pack while wearing Interceptor Body Armour. This means that for these women load carriage becomes less efficient and the woman soldier more prone to injuries.19 The authors of this study point out that the US MOLLE system was designed for men and that sizes should be made available for women’s features and that a failure to do so ‘could impact on future force generation and sustainment.’20

The Indian Army Looks to a Fantastical Future India’s steady economic growth is reflected in expenditure on new equipment for the Indian army. Earlier this year, The Times of India carried a news report, or is it a science fiction dream, of what a soldier of the future might WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 13


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

The changing nature of warfare and combat environments in the 21st century have seen women soldiers engaging with the enemy, receiving awards for combat actions and becoming combat fatalities

look like. A nano-technology based Kevlar robot with super computer capabilities, high motor-assisted agility, lethal firepower, long distance multi spectrum vision, high NBC (nuclear, biological chemical) protection, terrestrial connectivity, and automated databases to decide friend or foe. The soldier can use thought control, issue and receive orders through display devices, and is drugged to keep awake and have reduced fatigue.21 Of course, the body armour and clothing and load carriage are integrated. But their new capabilities are astounding. This will now reduce to just 22 kilogrammes. The future warrior’s devices and systems will be scaled-down to 100 nanometres or less. When a round is shot into the uniform, it will

sense the strike and become rigid. A few nano-seconds later it will become soft again, thus being able to absorb unlimited numbers of machine-gun rounds… The fabric could also change on its own, with the camouflage pattern matching the background. The uniform from the waist down will have a robotic-powered system that will use pistons to actually replicate the lower body, giving the soldier over 300 per cent greater lifting and load-carriage capability. Lightweight silicon solar power cells laminated onto the fabric will recharge batteries.22 It will be interesting to see this soldier on operation. Although it isn’t wrong to be sceptical, too often the rapid development of new technologies defies credibility.

The next-generation personal equipment system from SnigelDesign is designed to be used in many configurations – for various missions, climates and threats. Examples:

LIGHT-WEIGHT CONFIGURATION FOR MAXIMUM MOBILITY

HEAVY LOAD FOR LONGER UNSUPPORTED ENDURANCE

Hot climate, medium risk – for Dismounted infantry soldier

Temperate climate, medium risk – for recon soldier with AT4

Basic equipment for maximum mobility and low heat stress. Combat shirt, trousers, open sides plate carrier with front and back protection and a minimum amount of pouches.

A heavier load for seven days of operations requiring a mix of medium protection, more carrying capacity, less mobility and long endurance. Combat shirt, trousers, plate carrier with front and back protection, additional pouches and a detachable 24-hour-needs backpack

14 | WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

References: 1

http://www.army.mil/article/127055/Natick_studies_how_fatigue_affects_Soldiers/

Natick studies how fatigue affects Soldiers

June 2, 2014 By Alexandra Foran, NSRDEC Public Affairs

2

Soldier Load Carriage: A Risk Management Approach Lieutenant Robin Marc Orr ADFPTI, BFET, MPhty http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:292953/s4043663_phd_finalthesis.pdf University of Queensland Australia

3

Soldier Load Carriage: A Risk Management Approach Lieutenant Robin Marc Orr ADFPTI, BFET, MPhty http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:292953/s4043663_phd_finalthesis.pdf University of Queensland Australia

Soldier Load Carriage: A Risk Management Approach Lieutenant Robin Marc Orr ADFPTI, BFET, MPhty

4

http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:292953/s4043663_phd_finalthesis.pdf University of Queensland Australia

5

Soldier Load Carriage: A Risk Management Approach Lieutenant Robin Marc Orr ADFPTI, BFET, MPhty http://espace.library.uq.edu.au/view/UQ:292953/s4043663_phd_finalthesis.pdf University of Queensland Australia

6

Rheimetall recent Gladius für die Infanterie der Zukunft By Gerhard Heiming Europäische Sicherheit & Technik, April 2013 issue

http://www.rheinmetall-defence.com/de/rheinmetall_defence/index.php?fid=4679&qid=&qpage=0&lang=3&query=idz

7

Soldier Performance Division Human Research and Engineering Directorate U. S. Army Research Laboratory Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005-5425 and U-S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine Natick, MA 01760 by MAJ (R) Joseph Knapik, ScD LTC Katy Reynolds, MD.

Soldier Performance Division Human Research and Engineering Directorate U. S. Army Research Laboratory Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005-

8

5425 and U-S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine Natick, MA 01760 by MAJ (R) Joseph Knapik, ScD LTC Katy Reynolds, MD. Soldier Performance Division Human Research and Engineering Directorate U. S. Army Research Laboratory Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 21005-

9

5425 and U-S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine Natick, MA 01760 by MAJ (R) Joseph Knapik, ScD LTC Katy Reynolds, MD. 10

http://www.army.mod.uk/documents/general/Black_Bag_A5_booklet.pdf

11

Soldier Performance Division Human Research and Engineering Directorate U. S. Army Research Laboratory Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 210055425 and U-S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine Natick, MA 01760 by MAJ (R) Joseph Knapik, ScD LTC Katy Reynolds, MD.

12

13

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http://www.natick.army.mil/about/pao/pubs/warrior/01/sepoct/packitup.htm Modular MOLLE http://www.natick.army.mil/about/pao/pubs/warrior/01/sepoct/packitup.htm Modular MOLLE Soldier Performance Division Human Research and Engineering Directorate U. S. Army Research Laboratory Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD 210055425 and U-S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Medicine Natick, MA 01760 by MAJ (R) Joseph Knapik, ScD LTC Katy Reynolds, MD.

15

www.miltechmag.com/2015/.../smart-vest-benelux-contract-awarded-to.... 11 June 2015

16

Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health Load Carriage and the Female Soldier By Venerina Johnson , Julia Coyle , Rodney Pope and Robin M Orr In Review Article Issue Volume 19 No. 3 .Abstract http://jmvh.org/article/load-carriage-and-the-female-soldier/

MILITARY MEDICINE, 175, 10:799, 2010 Equipment Modification Is Associated With Fewer Stress Fractures in Female Israel Border Police

17

Recruits Naama Constantini * ; Aharon S. Finestone † ; Nir Hod ‡ § ; Idit Shub § ;Schmuel Heinemann || ; A. Joseph Foldes ¶ ; Gideon Mann § || ** Israel lighter equipment reduces stress fractures Abstract http://publications.amsus.org/doi/pdf/10.7205/MILMED-D-09-00253 18

Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health Load Carriage and the Female Soldier By Venerina Johnson , Julia Coyle , Rodney Pope and Robin M Orr In Review Article Issue Volume 19 No. 3 .Abstract http://jmvh.org/article/load-carriage-and-the-female-soldier/

19

Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health Load Carriage and the Female Soldier By Venerina Johnson , Julia Coyle , Rodney Pope and Robin M Orr In Review Article Issue Volume 19 No. 3 .Abstract http://jmvh.org/article/load-carriage-and-the-female-soldier/

20

Journal of Military and Veterans’ Health Load Carriage and the Female Soldier By Venerina Johnson , Julia Coyle , Rodney Pope and Robin M Orr In Review Article Issue Volume 19 No. 3 .Abstract http://jmvh.org/article/load-carriage-and-the-female-soldier/

21

India Army of Future Future warrior: Robot with a soul but armed with technology Friday, 31 July 2015 - 7:30am IST | Agency: By Air Marshall retd Anil Chopra India Army of Future Future warrior: Robot with a soul but armed with technology India Army of Future Future warrior: Robot with a soul but armed with technology Friday, 31 July 2015 - 7:30am IST |

22 

Agency: By Air Marshall retd Anil Chopra

http://www.dnaindia.com/scitech/report-future-warrior-robot-with-a-soul-but-armed-with-technology-2109437 WWW.DEFENCEINDUSTRYREPORTS.COM | 15


SPECIAL REPORT: ADVANCED LOAD CARRIAGE AND WEAPON CARRIAGE SYSTEMS FOR MODERN MILITARY OPERATIONS

Notes:

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Defence Industry Reports – Advanced Load Carriage & Weapon Carriage Systems for Modern Military Ops  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advanced Load Carriage Systems for Modern Military Operations

Defence Industry Reports – Advanced Load Carriage & Weapon Carriage Systems for Modern Military Ops  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advanced Load Carriage Systems for Modern Military Operations