The Perfect Soldier: Special Operations, Commandos, and the Future of Us Warfare by James F. Dunnigan

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A Sweet Ride
by James Dunnigan
February 26, 2009

SOCOM (Special Operations Command) held a competition for a new rucksack and selected the Mystery Ranch TactiPlane. This device weighs ten pounds and holds 113 liters (6,900 cubic inches) in three compartments. Some 80 percent of that is in the main compartment, with the smaller compartments above and below holding ten percent each. The TactiPlane was designed to be worn comfortably with body armor, using a small pad for the lower back, to aid in doing that comfortably. When worn without body armor, the TactiPlane allows for ventilation between back and pack.

SOCOM BALCS (Body Armor Load Carriage System) is a program striving to eliminate the problems created when current body armor (including the ballistic plate worn in the front and back) is used by a soldier carrying lots of different types of equipment. BALCS is trying to achieve some standards, so that manufacturers of the armor, rucksacks and other carrying devices, do not work at cross purposes. As is usually the case, the army and marines are watching the BALCS program for solutions to identical problems their troops are having.


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