The Corps will start testing possible replacements for its standard ruck this summer, a top acquisition officer said at a recent conference outside Washington.
The Individual Load Bearing Equipment pack, which was approved in 2004, not only clashes with the existing body armor, but Marines also complain that it causes chaffing and pain in their knees, back and shoulders, causing them to rate it “completely unacceptable” in a survey conducted last year, said Lt. Col. A.J. Pasagian, program manager of the Corps’ infantry combat equipment at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.
The new pack will be designed with an adjustable suspension system to fit closely against a Marine’s body regardless of whether he is wearing body armor or not. It also will have a built-in hydration system and multiple adjustment points, reducing the stress on a Marine’s body, he said.
“Our ILBE pack was not designed with the intent of being worn with body armor,” Pasagian said. “This was back before the prolific expansion of the body armor as we know it today. We need to fix that. We are doing that by scaling across the entire playing field and we are looking at government designs as well as across industry.”
The testing this summer will focus on existing government designs, such as the Army’s Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment pack, or MOLLE, as well as several bags already used by U.S. Special Operations Command. The service then hopes to seek proposals from industry in fiscal 2011, Pasagian said.