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Modular Rucksack Helps Soldiers Tailor Load. (Tech Talk).

U.S. Army units have begun receiving the new MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load-carrying Equipment) system, developed by the Soldier Systems Center, in Natick, Mass. Eventually, Marine units will get the system, too, said John Kirk, project engineer at Natick.

The MOLLE is a nylon mesh vest, with removable pockets to accommodate different carrying needs of combat soldiers, including riflemen, grenadiers, squad assault weapon gunners or medics, he said.

MOLLE replaces the ALICE (All-purpose, Lightweight, Individual Carrying Equipment) pack and Integrated Individual fighting system, which was introduced in 1988.

"ALICE has served its purpose for 28 years," said Kirk. "It was time for an upgrade with the changing threats. Now we're more specified in fighting requirements and applying advances in technology."

A major difference between the two systems is in he frame. ALICE used a tubular-aluminum frame, while MOLLE employs a new anatomically-contoured frame made with a plastic similar to that found in automobile bumpers.

The new frame has increased durability, functioning in temperatures ranging from 40 degrees below zero to a sweltering 120 degrees above, Kirk said. Several ALICE frames cracked after a single drop at 33 feet per second, he noted, while the MOLLE frames took the same abuse five times without any damage.

MOLLE enables soldiers to increase significantly the amount of ammunition they carry, Kirk said. Weight is distributed evenly across the torso. The vest has no awkward metal clips or hooks that can dig into the skin. It does have an H-harness in back to minimize heat buildup. Three flap pockets each hold two 30-round magazines, two grenade pockets and two canteen pouches.
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Title Annotation:Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment
Author:Foster, Sharon
Publication:National Defense
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jan 1, 2002
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