“Soldiers currently receive the bulk of 5.56-millimeter ammunition as 10-round clips consolidated in fabric bandoleers that add $7 to $8 to the cost of the packed out M2A1 container. The fabric design also makes automated packaging a labor intensive process.” This according to Dan Klein, an engineer with ARDEC’s (Army Research, Development and Engineering Command) Packaging Division [via packagingdigest.com]. “A bandoleer that holds 120 rounds of 5.56-millimeter ammunition costs $1 to $1.25 each, while the plastic variant will cost much less and hold the same amount. Based on bandoleer production numbers for the next five years, the program could save more than $2 million annually.” Two million? That’s a rounding error! Or life or death . . .
The bandoleer fabric also uses a lot of the available volume in the container that could hold additional ammunition. Replacing it with plastic frees enough space that the number of rounds per container could increase from 840 to 1050.
An additional benefit is ammunition distribution, Klein says. By adding perforations between each 30-round pouch, a Soldier can tear off as much ammunition as necessary for the mission. A Soldier is currently forced to improvise during this situation.
The project has been presented to the U.S. Army Combined Arms Support Command for user input.
If history is our guide, it’ll be another two years before this idea gets a thumbs-up. And probably not even then.