The Marine Corps has a weight problem.
An infantry rifleman may have to haul 100 pounds of gear, including body armor, ammunition and water, said Col. Mike Manning, portfolio manager for Ground Combat Element Systems of Marine Corps Systems Command.
A Marine who is a mortarman, meanwhile, may have to carry even more.
“The bottom line is we are carrying too much weight,” Manning said Tuesday at the Marine Corps League’s annual Modern Day Marine expo in Quantico, Virginia. “We’ve got to cut our weight down across the board.”
To lighten the load that Marines carry, Corps officials are asking the defense industry for lighter protective plates in Marines’ body armor, said Manning.
One reason the plates Marines currently employ in their body armor are so heavy is that they may provide more protection than Marines need, he said.
By matching the plates to the actual threats Marines face, the Corps could cut the weight of body armor almost in half.
“Mobility is a key attribute for us, for everything,” Manning said. “If we could reduce the weight in plates, that is the number one contributor to weight for the individual Marine rifleman right now.”