INDUSTRY NEWS – ADF Issues New Load Bearing Tender

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A Dashing Lighthorseman is Absolutely Flabbergasted!

 

Well, I’ve just seen the new tender document for individual load bearing equipment.

Although a very long, dry and somewhat boring series of documents at some 640 pages, some interesting facts become apparent. This is for the next generation of load bearing equipment.

Multicam is in. There is no call for Auscam. Surprise, surprise, surprise.

Even bigger surprise: “The load bearing equipment system is intended to maximise the User’s ability to carry combat loads efficiently, minimise discomfort, and increase the combat effectiveness of the User. When used in conjunction with the hip belt and shoulder harness, the pack will distribute the load contained in the pack onto the User’s hips and shoulders. Packs will also need to integrate with body armour systems and other elements of the SCE.”

So, I am rather pleased to see that the system has finally woken up to itself and is moving ahead to a hip loading system.

It’s a bloody big change in mindset. I’m very impressed that the ADF procurement system has made this leap. In a nutshell, this means we (the Royal “We”) have gone to an alpine styled hip loading pack. The ALICE pack, team, is finally dead.

From my limited reading so far, it would appear the following are part of the ensemble:

Tier 0:

A belt with sleeve for attaching pouches to  (ie. Light weight war belt)

Some sort of chest webbing for hot & humid jungle ops (looks like a system that can be worn as traditional belt webbing, or jacked up as a split front rig). Makes me wonder if someone has been channelling my thought processes there…. I remember saying something like this should be in service years ago.

Tier 1A: Concealable body armour, soft armour and ballistic plates.

Tier 1B: Low profile body armour.

Tier 1D: Specialist diver body armour/ load bearing vest.

Tier 1E: Diver close combat body armour/load bearing. It’s actually a plate carrier.

Tier 2: Close combatant body armour/load bearing (Plate carrier).

Tier 3: General Combatant body armour (TBAS)

Pack, Small Assault (PSA): Platatac Bullock Echo.

Pack, Medium Assault (PMA): Mystery Ranch 3DAP/BVS.

Pack, Field Mounted (PMF): Currently unfulfilled, approx. 60L pack. Shall be fitted with ergonomic shoulder suspension system and waist belt to enable efficient carriage of heavy loads on the User’s back.

Pack, Dismounted Field (PDMF): Currently unfulfilled, approx. 80L capacity.

Pack, Light Sniper: Mystery Ranch NICE Overload and Eberlestock G3.

Pack, Heavy Support (PHS): Mystery Ranch NICE Overload and Eberlestock Dragonfly.

Pack Bag, Carry All (PGB): roller assault bag.

 

The PMF, PHS, PLS and PDMF shall use a common frame, shoulder suspension system and waist belt so that the pack components are interchangeable.  I can only hope that this means the NICE frame is here to stay in Australian service. If this is the case, I’m pretty flabbergasted at the strides made. It means we truly can claim to have the best in the world.

There’s some thought with people I talk to about the packs to fulfil the roles of the PMF and PDMF, which I’m willing to bet will be the Wolf Alpha for the PMF and the 6500 (or maybe even the new DG-6) for the PDMF.

 

Pouches of various descriptions.

 

It would appear that what a lot of people have been calling for has finally happened: a system of components and platforms to be individually setup for individual requirements. Again, I’m glad such moves have been made, but am very cautious of how introduction into units with dinosaurs who make the assumption that everyone should have exactly the same equipment setups, no matter the load or role.

The work though, is only just beginning. In order to achieve this introduction of such a huge change in mindset into units in the ADF, it will take a very hard and sustained effort to fully introduce and convert dinosaurs and educate the masses. I don’t envy the command of this task. But I applaud them for taking such huge strides.

It would appear we live in exciting times.


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