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United States Military Weapons of War
Part 1: Weapons and Equipment of the Infantry and Special Ops (Page 4)

Individual Equipment

It's not all about guns and shooting. Here are some nifty individual equipment items used by our soldiers and Marines.

AN/PVS-14 Night Vision Device

AN/PVS-14 Monocular Night Vision Device (MNVD) is a light-weight, third generation night vision device that gives the soldier the operational advantage to “see at night.” NVDs (known also as Night Vision Goggles) are electro-optical devices that intensify (or amplify) existing light instead of relying on a light source of their own.

The devices are sensitive to a broad spectrum of light, from visible through infrared. An accessory illuminator can increase the light available at the infrared end of the spectrum by casting a beam of light that is not visible to the human eye. When a soldier looks "through" a NVD, an amplified electronic image is seen on a phosphor screen, giving the soldier the ability to operate with little or no illumination from the moon, stars, or other ambient light sources.

The PVS-14 system can be used with the head mount, as shown, or with a Kevlar helmet mount.

Field of View (degrees): 40 degrees
Min Focus Range: 40 cm
Weight (unit): 420 grams
Infrared light emitting diode
Automatic brightness protection
Variable gain control knob
Low battery indicator
Power Source: 2) AA batteries (Alkaline)
Operating temperature: -51 C to + 49 C
Storage temperature: -51 C to + 85 C
Immersion: 1 meter for 30 minutes


The SINCGARS RT-1523E Advanced System Improvement Program (ASIP) Radio is the primary Combat Net Radio for the US Army, designated primarily for voice command and control for infantry, armor, and artillery units.

The radio is a Single Channel Ground and Airborne Radio System which incorporates all the features of previous radio systems used with further enhancements to reduce it’s weight and size for the dismounted soldier and optimize its performance in the tactical internet. This is mainly due to the internal redesign of the radio and taking advantage of software based Digital Signal Processing (DSP) architecture.

The ASIP radio is one-half the size and one-third the weight of the full size radio. With battery, handset and antenna, the total man pack weight is less than 9 lbs. The system is used for all inter-platoon communications. SINCGARS is capable of short-range or long-range operation for voice or digital communications. It can be used for single channel operation or in a jam-resistant, frequency-hopping mode that can be changed as needed.

30-88 MHz VHF-FM
2320 Channels
Single Channel and Frequency Hopping
6 FH Presets (including TRANSEC keys)
6 Single-channel Presets Plus Manual and Cue Channels
Enhanced Data Mode (BPS) 1200, 2400, 4800, 9600
Standard Data Mode (BPS) 600, 1200, 2400, 4800, 16,000
Size: 3.4" high, 5.3" wide, and 10.15" deep
33 Hr. Battery Life
Embedded GPS Option
Comprehensive Built-in Test Isolates Fault to Individual Module

Mollie Vest

MOLLE is an Army and Marine Corps item that replaces the aging ALICE (All-purpose, Lightweight, Individual Carrying Equipment) pack and Integrated Individual Fighting System introduced in 1988. One of the main components of the MOLLE system is the nylon mesh vest that has removable pockets to accommodate different carrying needs.

Some of the new technology centers on the MOLLE's frame. Instead of the tubular aluminum used with the ALICE, a new anatomically-contoured frame made with plastic originally used in automobile bumpers has dramatically increased durability, functioning in temperatures ranging from -40 to 120 degrees F. MOLLE also advances load-carrying ability with its new suspension system. Heavily-padded shoulder straps and waist belt are adjustable for varying torso lengths, eliminating the two sizes of ALICE. More weight is distributed at the shoulders and hips, and during a prolonged road march, soldiers can shift the weight to where it feels more comfortable. Additionally, the Fighting Load Carrier (FLC) replaces the Load Bearing Equipment (LBE) web belt and suspenders of the ALICE.

Soldiers and Marines can significantly increase the amount of ammunition they carry, and weight is evenly distributed across the torso. The vest has no metal clips or hooks that can be awkward and dig into the skin, and it has an H-harness in back to minimize heat buildup. It's adjustable to all sizes, and because the vest sits high, soldiers can fasten the MOLLE frame waist belt underneath the FLC to distribute some of the load to the hips. Three flap pockets on the FLC each hold two 30-round magazines, two grenade pockets and two canteen pouches.

Flak Vest

Getting shot or hit by shrapnel can ruin your entire day in combat. In October of 2002, the Army and Marine Corps began issuing a new kevlar flak vest that is 35 percent lighter than the previous version. The 16.4-pound Interceptor system consists of a tactical vest and a pair of small arms protective inserts. The Kevlar vest includes detachable neck and groin guards, while the ceramic plates slide into pockets on the front and rear.

By itself, the Interceptor vest insulates a soldier from shrapnel and 9-mm pistol rounds. When the protective inserts are added, the system acts as a ballistic barrier to 7.62-mm rifle ammunition. The previous flak vest only offered protection against fragmentation.

The Interceptor's inter-changeable components give troops the ability to dress to the level of a particular threat. Applications include combat operations, peace-keeping missions and field-training exercises. Regardless of the situation, Interceptor Body Armor functions as an effective defense against mines, grenades, mortar shells, artillery fire and rifle projectiles.

The Interceptor system allows commanders increased capability in the area's of survivability and maneuverability. Survivability due to the ability to withstand up to 7.62 mm hits and maneuverability due to the 8.7-pound weight savings of the new system.

Land Warrior

American soldiers and Marines are already among the most deadly in the world, but a system called Land Warrior will soon make them unmatched. While Land Warrior is officially still in the test & development stage, there is no doubt that some units are and will be "testing" the system in real combat environments.

Land Warrior integrates small arms with high-tech equipment enabling ground forces to deploy, fight and win on the battlefields of the 21st century. Land Warrior came about in 1991 when an Army study group recommended the service look at the soldier as a complete weapon system. The first priority in Land Warrior is lethality. The second is survivability and the third, command and control. The program will cost $2 billion when 45,000 sets of the equipment are fielded between 2001-2014. The Marine Corps, Air Force and many foreign countries are interested in the system.

First and foremost, Land Warrior is a fighting system. Land Warrior has several subsystems: the weapon, integrated helmet assembly, protective clothing and individual equipment, computer/radio, and software. The weapon subsystem is built around the M-16/M-4 modular carbine. It has a laser range finder/digital compass, a daylight video camera, a laser aiming light and a thermal sight.

This system allows infantrymen to operate in all types of weather and at night. In conjunction with other components, a soldier can even shoot around corners without exposing himself to enemy fire. The integrated helmet assembly is lighter and more comfortable than today's helmet. It has a helmet-mounted monocular day display, a night sensor with flat panel display, a laser detection module, ballistic/laser eye protection, a microphone and a headset.

The protective clothing and individual equipment subsystem incorporates modular body armor and upgrade plates that can stop small-arms rounds fired point-blank. It includes an integrated load-bearing frame, chemical/biological protective garments and modular rucksack.

The infantryman attaches the computer/radio subsystem to his load-bearing frame. Over this goes the rucksack for personal gear. The computer processor is fused with radios and a Global Positioning System locator. A hand grip wired to the pack and attached to the soldier's chest acts as a computer mouse and also allows the wearer to change screens, key on the radio, change frequencies and send digital information.

The subsystem comes in two flavors: The leader version has two radios and a flat panel display/keyboard, and soldiers have one radio. With the equipment, leaders and soldiers can exchange information. Soldiers using their weapon-mounted camera, for example, can send videos to their leaders.

Finally, the software subsystem includes tactical and mission support modules, maps and tactical overlays, and the ability to capture and display video images. The system also contains a power management module. Designers set up the system so it can be updated as technology improves.

One problem the Army must overcome before final fielding is power. Current batteries last about 150 minutes with all systems running. Clearly soldiers won't have all systems running all the time, but the Army does not consider this acceptable. Other batteries under development by the Army's Communications- Electronics Command may push the time up to 30 hours.

The first Land Warrior production version will be fielded in fiscal 2004. The Army expects to procure 34,000 sets of the system. That system will be more streamlined then the "test systems" in use today and will contain a multifunction laser. Soldiers will be able to point the laser at a target and the information will go directly to the network. This will allow the soldier to call for artillery fire, for example, without having to voice transmit coordinates.

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Above Photos are Official U.S. Army and USMC Photos

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