As part of its effort to upgrade the equipment supplied to its soldiers, the Canadian Army is looking for a new tactical assault vest/load carriage system.
Army officials told Esprit de Corps that a Request for Proposals will be released to the industry sometime this fall.
Here are the content lists:
1.What are the current tactical assault vest design and drawbacks?
2.What’s the bidding document Canadian Army officials will have on the new tactical assault vest?
3.What about the Canadian Army’s results of its testing of a new camouflage pattern?
1. What are the current tactical assault vest design and drawbacks?
The current tactical assault vest was developed in the 1990s based on the experiences of the Canadian Armed Forces in the Balkans. That design anticipated soldiers would uniformly carry minimum equipment, however, it is widely known that the present vest is disliked by troops, who often respond by purchasing their similar equipment.
Before departing his role as Director of Soldier Systems for the Canadian Army's Directorate of Land Requirements in July, Lt.-Col. Ray Corby openly admitted that the present vest is no longer enough to suit soldiers' needs. According to Army officials, polls done by Defence Research and Development Canada suggest that the assault vest is at the top of the list of equipment that soldiers want to see replaced. The lack of modularity in the existing vest is cited by the majority of soldiers as the primary source of their dissatisfaction.
2. What’s the bidding document Canadian Army officials will have on the new tactical assault vest?
According to Canadian Army officials, the Requests for Proposals for the new load-carrying system would be specially worded to stimulate sector inventiveness. The bid package will specify what troops must do, what they must carry, and where they must operate, as well as give industry latitude in determining how new technology might fulfill those responsibilities. The new equipment is planned to be delivered in 2022.
Small amounts of equipment might be acquired at the start, with adjustments made later, according to Corby. “We want to show that as an Army, we can rapidly and efficiently trial and choose equipment so that we can take advantage of industry improvements in the future,” he said. “We are not searching for a solution that will last 20 to 30 years. Every five years or so, we'd want a taste of the greatest for those who need to keep an edge on the battlefield.”
New load carriage system selection trials are slated for next summer, with a cross-section of soldiers from a variety of Canadian Army trades evaluating industry prototypes. According to Army officials, the idea is to create a modular system that will allow soldiers to customize their equipment based on their employment and body type. Aside from modularity, another important issue to consider is "load management," which refers to the total weight of all the equipment a soldier must carry. Overburdening soldiers has the unintended consequence of slowing them down.
3. What about the Canadian Army’s results of its testing of a new camouflage pattern?
The results of the Canadian Army's testing of a new camouflage design, on the other hand, have yet to be released. In September 2019, troops from the 2nd Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group in Petawawa began testing a new disruptive pattern. The soldiers were largely from the 3rd Battalion, Royal Canadian Regiment. The bulk of soldiers wore the “Prototype “J” pattern.
According to the Canadian Army, the trial lasted about six months and finished in February 2020, producing a wealth of relevant data. In addition, Prototype J is still worn by members of the Battalion. Uniforms, a soft field cap, helmet covers, and fragmentation vest covers were supplied to the troops participating in the Prototype J camouflage tests.
Uninhabited aerial vehicles were utilized in some of the tests to assess how far the new pattern could be observed from such drones.
According to the Army, a final decision on the new camouflage will be made no later than 2022. In 2027, the new camouflage uniform will be fully implemented.
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