The 'AF-Pack'

LongTabSigO

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http://www.military.com/news/article/army-to-field-new-pack-for-afghan-ops.html?ESRC=dod.nl

The Army is set to field a new combat backpack that meets the emerging needs of Soldiers fighting in the steep terrain and remote outposts of Afghanistan.

The so-called “medium ruck” uses technology from today’s mountaineering equipment and tactical packs and combines it with the specific needs of Soldiers doing rotations of up to three days at observation posts, long patrols, or helicopter assaults where a trip back to the forward operating base may not happen for up to 72 hours.

The new 3,000 cubic inch-capacity backpack will offer Joes a better option for missions that don’t require the 5,000 cubic inch-capacity modular lightweight load bearing equipment, or MOLLE, ruck, or the 2,000 cubic inch “assault pack.”

I don't envy the folks who have to come up with a uniform solution for every problem. No matter what they come up with, it won't be "good enough".

I found this paragraph interesting:

Natick later surveyed a “focus group” of 17 Soldiers from the 173rd and asked them to show engineers the packs they used most in combat. Natick officials were stunned to see that out of 17 packs displayed only two used the MOLLE, and the remaining 15 were made by 11 different manufacturers.
“It wasn’t even like we could say ‘this particular brand A meets their needs,’ ” Kirk said
.

I wonder if it would be wiser/more efficient/more cost effective to just give grunts a "pack allowance" and let them select an appropriate commercial option within certain specific parameters (e.g. size, ACU pattern, specified vendors, etc). Seems that it might save a lot of money and reduce the inevitable carping by "the experts" in the long run.

Your thoughts are appreciated.
 

surgicalcric

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Mil.com Article said:
...Natick later surveyed a “focus group” of 17 Soldiers from the 173rd and asked them to show engineers the packs they used most in combat. Natick officials were stunned to see that out of 17 packs displayed only two used the MOLLE, and the remaining 15 were made by 11 different manufacturers...

This highlights one of the glaring problems with Natick IMNSHO. They are seriously out of touch with the needs of the guys on the ground; believe they can design (insert piece of kit here) better than commercial manufacturers -which take feedback from the guys on the ground and put it to use; and believe in the end the soldier will be happy with gear built by the lowest bidder...


As for your question LTSO, I dont foresee a time in the near future where soldiers use everything the Army provides -again- instead of using COTS solutions. A pack/ruck is one of those things which people like to fill a need, not use whats provided even though it doesnt fit the need of the individual soldier or mission.
 

x SF med

the Troll
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I was caught in the original testing for the Lowe alpine systems rucks for Natick (the joys of being stationed at Ft Devens) - they got issued, and were not rated for jumping for over a year because the harness and lowering line for the alice didn't work and ther were issues with the design of the modified harnesses/lowering lines. Even after the redesign, they were a bear to jump - too many straps, couldn't get the mmission ready quickly. The other issue was the size of the Lowe packs, way too long, too much heavy gear had to be packed high and outside for access.

We stuck with the Large Alice, it fit the mission profile better and was more versatile in the long run. We liked the idea of the internal frame, but there was way too little airflow between the ruck and our backs, we tended to overheat with the Lowe rucks.

I tried the MOLLE frame once, and after it was loaded, it cracked on me - with a civvie load for a short trip. I like the Alice, mine's older than some of the members on this board, and is still mission capable, frame, bag and straps, with only minor comfort modifications.
 

AWP

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I wonder if it would be wiser/more efficient/more cost effective to just give grunts a "pack allowance" and let them select an appropriate commercial option within certain specific parameters (e.g. size, ACU pattern, specified vendors, etc). Seems that it might save a lot of money and reduce the inevitable carping by "the experts" in the long run.

It makes too much sense and will destroy the "dress right, dress" mentality found in too many units.
 

DA SWO

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It makes too much sense and will destroy the "dress right, dress" mentality found in too many units.

Agree. Uniform gear is often more importent then gear that aids in mission accomplishment.
I always told my guys get what you want (on your dime); but within certain parameters; i.e. BDU/DCU/Black/OD as the only acceptable colors.
 
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