Special Operations Load Carriage
The ability to comfortably carry required levels of equipment remains a pre-requisite to special operations personnel, who in the case of direct action and special reconnaissance missions conducted on foot, can be called upon to man-haul heavy and cumbersome pieces of equipment. This can include heavy electronic warfare (EW) equipment as well as fire support weapon systems such as anti-tank munitions and heavy machine guns, defence sources explained to MONS.
Currently being supplied to Tier 1 SOF organisations across the globe is Mystery Ranch’s inventory of tactical load carrying equipment, capable of supporting operators in air, land and maritime environments a company spokesperson informed MONS.
The company’s Assault Pack (ASAP) has been designed for the shortest missions in duration across the special operations spectrum. The pack comprises a three-zip design providing rapid access into the bag which can be used to carry ammunition, specialist equipment including communications solutions, as well as multiple hydration configuration options for CamelBak rehydration systems. The ASAP has the capacity to carry a pair of 3l rehydration packs, the company highlighted.
Manufactured from 500D Cordura, the ASAP includes an integrated Futura Yoke system which can be rapidly adjusted to fit multiple torso lengths, a company spokesperson for Mystery Ranch explained to MONS, while an interior MOLLE (Modular Lightweight Load Carrying Equipment) body panel provides the means to attach accessories and ancillaries to the inside of the pack for security, particularly suitable for when unloading and loading equipment in low light conditions. It also includes a zip-up compartment in the underside of the pack’s lid for the attachment and housing of easily-accessible and mission critical equipment.
As one defence source explained to MONS, covert and clandestine operations conducted by SOF can require working in low light conditions with zero use of torch light. “When on task, you could be asked to unpack specialist equipment likes cameras close to target. The last thing you want to do is leave any sign on the ground so an ability to tie down items of equipment is critical to the safeguard of clandestine missions,” the source described.
Comprising an all up weight of 1.4kg and measuring 40x30x15cm, the ASAP provides a small and lightweight form factor allowing operators to carry equipment during offensive action operations as well as specialist counter-terrorism (CT) tasks such as hostage rescue operations (HRO) and non-combatant evacuation operations (NEO).
Additionally, Mystery Ranch has made available the JUMP OVERLOAD pack to the special operations community for airborne insertion operations, including by military freefall (MFF) missions. According to company officials, the bag comprises a ‘weapons carry backpack made jumpable’ for SOF, providing modularity for assault forces to rapidly change its configuration from a patrol pack- to weapons carry- and finally, load hauler, again dependent upon mission requirements.
“In default configuration, [the JUMP OVERLOAD] is a fast access, 3,000 cubic-inches Patrol pack,” officials explained. “When missions change, it securely transports a sniper system or M240G [medium machine gun], even a 60mm mortar tube all set up with bipod, trigger and M8 baseplate. When it’s time for resupply or you have to haul large, awkward items, simply expand the cargo shelf and you have massive load-carrying capability.”
Also manufactured with 500D Cordura fabric and 100D Cordura in ‘critical areas’, with supporting frame for comfort and stability for heavy loads and a Bolstered Ventilation and Stability (BVS) system to allow for easier integration and ergonomics when worn with body armour solutions.
Similar to the ASAP, the JUMP OVERLOAD features capacity to carry two 3L water bladders and interior and waist-belt MOLLE body panel for the attachment of accessories. The pack weighs a total of 3.8kg, measuring 60cm x 33cm x 21.5cm.