Grunts

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TAMPA, Fla. — Textron Systems showed off its newest effort to develop an ultra-light 7.62mm machine gun at the 2015 Special Operations Forces Industry Conference.

The new MG is being designed to weigh 14.5 pounds – more than eight pounds lighter than the lightest version of the M240.

The effort is part of the Case-Telescoped Weapons and Ammunition program which has produced a matured 5.56mm lightweight machine gun similar to the M249 squad automatic weapon, according to Textron officials.

The newer 7.62mm version is under contract with Joint Service Small Arms Program Office to develop the operating system to handle the larger caliber, according to Ben Cole, mechanical engineer for AAI Corp., owned by Textron. JSSAP is based in the U.S. Army’s Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at Picatinny Arsenal, N.J.

Formerly known as the Army’s Lightweight Small Arms Technologies, or LSAT, the program is designed to lower ammunition weight by 40 percent as well as producing significantly lighter infantry weapons.

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Agilite is now offering its new contractor pouch that holds either two or three 5.56mm magazines.

The contractor pouch features mil-spec elastic that tightens the pouch according to the number of mags in it, eliminating rattle, according to a recent Agilite press release.

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Beginning July 1, the Army’s new Operational Camouflage Patterned uniforms will go on sale at Military Clothing Sales Stores, marking a new chapter in the service’s camouflage saga.

Soldiers can wear the new OCP patterned Army Combat Uniform – top, pants, belt, patrol cap, brown T-shirt and coyote brown boots – as the authorized garrison uniform alongside ACUs in the outgoing universal Camouflage Pattern, according to Army officials.

Coyote brown boots are slated to be available in stores in August, Army officials say.

Soldiers may also wear uniforms and field equipment patterned in the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (MultiCam) in lieu of OCP, Army officials said.

This can continue until Oct. 1, 2018, the wear-out date for both OEF-CP and UCP uniforms, tan T-shirts and tan boots.

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U.S. Army body armor officials have figured out a way to save a lot of money on IOTV Operation Camouflage Pattern conversion kits by recycling used body armor.

A team of product engineers, quality assurance representatives, logistics support experts and contracting personnel have developed a plan with the potential to save more than $150 million while providing soldiers with the best possible system, according to an Army press release.

Their efforts are now culminating in the first deliveries of more than 148,000 Generation III Improved Outer Tactical Vest body armor conversion kits that replace the outer, Universal Camouflage Pattern cover with a newer OCP cover at “at approximately half the cost of procuring new systems – $791 versus $413, the release states.

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Late last week, it appeared that the Army had lowered the standard for the 12-mile foot march in the first co-ed class of Ranger School.

Army officials from Fort Benning, Ga., put out a statement that eight female candidates had competed the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week, which included a 12-mile march with a 35-pound rucksack, rifle and fighting load carrier vest.

Military.com did a story last November from an interview with Col. David Fivecoat, commander of the Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade at Benning, that Ranger students had to carry a ruck weighing approximately 43 pounds on the march which has to be completed in under three hours.

I noticed the eight-pound discrepancy and so did a reader, who emailed me about it.

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"U.S. Army Soldiers participate in close arm combatives during the Ranger Course on Ft. Benning, GA., April 20, 2015. Soldiers attend Ranger school to learn additional leadership and small unit technical and tactical skills in a physically and mentally demanding, combat stimulated environment. (U.S. Army photo by Spc. Nikayla Shodeen/Released Pending Review)"

U.S. Army officials announced today that eight out of 16 female soldiers who started the first co-ed class of Ranger School have made it through the Ranger Assessment Phase, or RAP week.

Only 57 more days to go. Check out the Military.com story here.

Whether you like this effort or not, these females deserve a lot of credit for taking on this challenge. There are a whole lot of people out there who want to see them fail. They may not make it, but at least they have had the guts to try.

The Army released a video of the first week. Check out it.

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U.S. Army scientists are working with a new database of the human body to ensure uniforms and equipment fit female and male soldiers better.

The Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, completed the latest comprehensive anthropometric survey of soldiers, called ANSUR II, in 2012.

The ANSUR II 3-D Shape Database uses three-dimensional shapes and contour data to improve the fit of clothing and equipment for warfighters. It incorporates the latest Army anthropometric survey data and 3-D whole body scans, providing a searchable platform for the data and the 3-D shapes.

The previous survey was completed in 1988.

The 2012 survey set out to address changes in Army personnel body size and shape, and the resulting data showed that soldiers have increased in overall body girth since 1988. The new study also set out to document the sizing needs of the increasing number of women serving in the military.

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