The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) is asking for industry’s help in providing enhanced hearing protection to Marines, the service announced.
On April 22, Marine Corps Systems Command (MCSC) released a Request for Proposals (RFPs) for a suite of hearing enhancement devices that interoperate with the Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) and Marine Corps tactical radios. The technology will increase Marines’ situational awareness in a variety of training and combat environments.
In fiscal year 2020, MCSC received $10 million Operation and Maintenance, Marine Corps funding to purchase hearing enhancement devices. Per the RFP, the hearing enhancement devices must be rugged and adaptable to various environments, from cold weather to extreme heat. The system would allow Marines to wear hearing protection, yet still enable them to communicate and understand their surroundings.
PM ICE will assess the submissions to ensure compatibility with Marine Corps radios and the Marine Corps ECH. The systems must include versions that are both communication-enabled and non-communications enabled.
MCSC estimates the new hearing protection will be fielded to infantry units in fiscal year 2021. PM ICE will conduct New Equipment Training with each unit receiving the technology.
In addition to improving Marines’ situational awareness, the hearing enhancement devices will also offer additional hearing protection. The hearing enhancement devices will complement the Combat Arms Earplug Generation IV—the Marine Corps’ current hearing protection system—by offering a secondary level of protection to further avoid hearing damage.