United States army to receive new mountain-climbing gear for Mountain Troops soldiers 2502142

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Defence & Security News - United States

 
 
Tuesday, February 25, 2014 09:47 AM
 
United States army to receive new mountain-climbing gear for Mountain Troops soldiers.
The United States Army last week started handing out more than $11 million in new mountain-climbing gear to U.S. troops, who count on the equipment to move across rough terrain in places like Afghanistan. For years, the Army’s inventory of climbing equipment has focused on utility, meaning soldiers were equipped with items such as carabineers that were plenty strong, but also plenty heavy.
     
The United States Army this week started handing out more than $11 million in new mountain-climbing gear to U.S. troops, who count on the equipment to move across rough terrain in places like Afghanistan. For years, the Army’s inventory of climbing equipment has focused on utility, meaning soldiers were equipped with items such as carabineers that were plenty strong, but also plenty heavy.
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Bradley Cormier, a supply sergeant with the Army Mountain Warfare School inventories the newly received Army Mountaineering Kits (AMKs) at the Ethan Allen Firing Range, Jericho, Vt., on Feb. 19, 2014.
     

Since 2007, however, engineers at the Project Executive Office Soldier program have been testing equipment used by sport climbers with a view to upgrading the combat gear. As a result, soldiers will now be traversing cliffs and crags with the same ropes, harnesses, carabineers, crampons, ice axes, avalanche transceivers and rock anchors used by mountain climbers throughout the world.

Product Manager Soldier Clothing and Individual Equipment engineer Darren Bean, a former mountain warfare instructor and recreational climber, helped select the new gear, which is certified by the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation.

Mountaineering skills are used regularly by troops in Afghanistan to move across rough terrain, deliver supplies and set up observation posts. Personnel have used climbing skills to search wells, tunnels and caves for hidden weapons caches and to disarm bombs placed on highway overpasses, Bean said.

The new gear was fielded last week at the Army Mountain Warfare School in Vermont, which trains 600 to 700 personnel each year.

The gear is divided into kits that allow infantry platoons to climb in urban terrain and over rock, snow and ice. There’s also a kit for Special Forces troops with advanced mountaineering skills.

The new equipment will help troops move casualties in rough terrain, Guyette said, noting that the school developed a rough terrain evacuation course after a soldier bled to death in a ravine because a helicopter couldn’t reach his position.

About 80 percent of the newly issued items are also contained in the Marine Corps’ Assault Climber Kit, so soldiers and Marines will be able to work together if they find themselves climbing the same slope in a war zone.

The gear will be sent to mountain warfare training centers in Colorado, Alaska, Vermont and Georgia first, but starting next month, active-duty brigade combat teams and National Guard units will also get the new equipment.

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