There is a need for a updated, fully integrated system for individual battle equipment. Special Operations Forces past and present have had several techniques for rapid insertion and extraction methods. They are required to perform with tactical load bearing gear of various configurations. What is the only common factor, is that no harness and battle gear were designed to work together. The use of the SWAT type vest or British style chest system. Results in the paratrooper’s torso being too big to fit a jump harness around him. Thus, often his gear must be jumped inside or secured to his Ruck sack. Not conducive to battle readiness landing in a hostile area. The traditional use of the ALICE issue LBE, requires the full elongation of the suspender straps to allow the pistol belt to fit through the T-10 saddle. So many troopers just leave their suspenders stretched out and just learn to function with the LBE belt riding almost near the back of their knees. Also not conducive to proper equipment usage as a result of two pieces of equipment being forced to work together.
When a paratrooper lands in a in a hostile drop zone. He has his LBE routed through the saddle portion of the T-10 harness in order to jump. He most often has to remove both harness and battle gear to try to separate the pistol belt from the harness before he is ready for action. The military command has been afraid to change T-10 significantly since the T-5 of World War II. A time when parachuting was a all new concept, so it’s harness was made of overly sewn layers of thickness of the cotton webbing of the day. Only half of the JMPI is a true inspection of the parachute and its serviceability. And the other half is simply deconflicting equipment that was never built to work together.
Special Reconnaissance and Surveillance teams maintain the SOP to keep their extraction harness on at all times throughout the mission. Because their teams lightly armed they are dependent on a stealthy entry. If in the event they meet resistance attempting insertion, their mission is now compromised. Then immediately becomes an on call extraction in the pre-planed mission abort criteria.
Those extraction harnesses were “in house” collaborations between special operators and their unit riggers. These Rigger creations are often very simple but painful to use by design. But are looked at as a small price to pay to get out of a bad situation at any time fast. But to have a full harness and equipment suspenders together becomes redundant. So the Riggers asked yet again to modify the extraction system with built in pistol belt or vest panels to meet the requirements of the battle gear. But conversely this creates a conflict of wearing a parachute harness over top a extraction harness. And again if the mission calls for a airborne infiltrate, they will have to do so without their battle gear on, but inside or on their Ruck sack. Not holding true their SOP of having the exhilarate harness ready from the missions start to end.
Another higher specialized unit. Found that simply improvising a FRIES rig from a store bought civilian rappel seat best for extraction. Along with a strap of one inch tubular nylon with loops sewn at each end. Passing from behind the back and under the arms secured together with a snap link as the simplest and less cumbersome way to be ready for exhilaration at all times. A quick fix to today’s equipment that as a result does a disservice to the fighting man at his greatest time of personal equipment needs.
What is needed is a signal harness, which can be used for multiple mission configurations. Currently there exist separate harness for Static Line jumping and another for Free Fall. The STABO harness of the past has been updated to the FRIES/ SPIES technique of rapid extraction. There are over a hundred civilian Climbing/ Rescue harnesses, but still no issued military rappelling harness. Load bearing battle gear is being produced by dozens of makers in the Suspender/Belt, Chest Rig and Tactical Vest configurations. But none designed to meet all of these needs in a true multi-mission harness. There is a need for a lightweight harness with just optional attaching points for that will accommodate that missions needs. And the pack tray to the Static Line or Free Fall parachute will simply be warn as if it were a back pack with simple shoulder straps.
The advantages are a significant reduction in the amount of materials and labor to make two different parachutes with their own harness and an equipment harness already present, where only one is needed. This harness will be inside the existing battle gear, so there fore it would be almost impossible to be worn incorrectly. Eliminating much of the JMPI’s inspection for twist and miss routing of straps in the delicate arrangement we use now.
With more inexpensive components the system would be more modular to replacing warn parts or sections. When the paratrooper lands in a hostile area. He can quickly release the canopy release assemblies (static line or free fall). Pulling the chest and waist bands. And be out of his parachute pack tray and ready for action as easily as throwing it down like a backpack. Fully mission capable in his battle gear and ready to extract from then forward throughout the mission. War time combat jumps of the past have had those paratroopers with the unfortunate luck to land in the center of the assaulting airfield. Falling victim to the enemy fire because his exposure time not enough to allow him to get free of the burdensome parachute equipment.
What is needed is a better “hop and pop” system. Another inherent advantage is that on a MC-4 parachute removable pack tray. Is being able to release the reserve set of risers also and sill use a chest reserve parachute in case of a double malfunction. The MC-4 would also no longer have a complicated integrated harness eliminating the expense and 15lbs of redundant wedding weight.