Defense

September 28, 2012

Modular Backpack Panel to allow soldiers to carry heavy, unwieldy loads

Tags:
Bob Reinert
Natick, Mass.
Army photograph by David Kamm
Rich Landry of the Load Carriage Prototype Lab, Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment, at Natick Soldier Systems Center, hopes that the Modular Backpack Panel will help soldiers carry unwieldy loads such as ammunition, electronics or medical gear.

Lightening soldiers’ loads has always weighed heavily on Rich Landry’s mind.

While more and more equipment is being developed to assist them on the battlefield, Landry worries how soldiers will carry it all over rugged terrain in places such as Afghanistan without incident or injury. As an individual equipment designer with the Load Carriage Prototype Lab, Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment, at Natick Soldier Systems Center, that’s his job.

Recently, Landry and colleague Murray Hamlet were tasked to come up with another solution for a load carriage problem. They took the frame and suspension from the Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment, or MOLLE, Medium rucksack and affixed a panel that allows a soldier to add a variety of equipment or modular packs to accommodate unwieldy ammunition, medical or electronic loads, depending on the situation.

“This is just a pack board, or a foundation for an entire range of tactical equipment beyond that of what we call the Soldier’s fighting load,” Landry said. “Anything that is MOLLE compatible, you’re going to have the ability to have a suspension system that’s designed to support upwards of 60 pounds that you can truly tailor specific to what your tactical mission is.”

The Modular Backpack Panel, or MBP, transforms the MOLLE Medium, intended to carry up to 60 pounds of essential gear for 72 hours, into an even more versatile system, Landry said.

“We’ve had calls from various organizations that carry all kinds of odd loads,” said Landry, adding that the rucksack sometimes was in the way. “Anybody who’s carrying large, crew-served weapons would find this application useful, the mortar guys, who are carrying a base plate, the tube, the various rounds, etc. They could utilize a modular setup to support those unusual loads.”

As Landry pointed out, the MOLLE’s frame, made of injection-molded plastic originally used in automobile bumper technology, has already proved itself over 15 years in the field.

“Car bumpers have to survive that huge range of temperatures, extremely hot and extremely cold,” said Landry, “and that made perfect sense to us.”
To that sturdy frame, Landry added the adaptable panel.

“It’s very basic load carriage capability,” Landry said. “They still need to carry their basic, critical individual equipment. So we will provide a set of larger pouches, which will attach to the panel but still allow the larger items to be carried.”

That includes water, which presented an early stumbling block for Landry, until he added a little something to the MBP.

“You’ve got a pocket inside here that’s designed specifically for the hydration system,” Landry said. “It’s got a little bit of extra room, so you can actually put some smaller items – cold-weather clothing, wet-weather gear, ration components, things like that, down inside here.”

Landry, a former 82nd Airborne Division pathfinder, can’t wait to get the MBP into the hands of light infantrymen.

“That is my customer,” Landry said. “It’s the guy that’s got to carry this on (his) back, and, obviously, light infantrymen are kind of the soul of that. That’s where we get our best information on things like that, because they’re out there carrying it. Let’s see where we can make it fit, and let’s see what improvements we need to make to it.”

Landry and Hamlet will use the feedback from the infantry and others to refine the prototype’s design.

“The great thing about this job is, every day is something different and you can always improve,” Landry said. “Everything can get better, and we can do that here.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>