The US Marine Corps has turned to industry in a bid to provide enhanced hearing protection for the troops.
The Marine Corps Systems Command released a request for proposals on April 22 for a suite of hearing enhancement devices that interoperate with the enhanced combat helmet and marine corps tactical radios. The technology will increase marines’ situational awareness in a variety of training and combat environments.
“The program manager for infantry combat equipment intends to purchase hearing enhancement devices for every infantry and infantry-like marine,” said Lt. Col. Bryan Leahy, MCSC’s individual armor team lead.
The service received $10 million operation and maintenance, marine corps funding in fiscal year 2020 to purchase the devices.
As outlined in 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.
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.
MCSC estimates the new hearing protection will be fielded to infantry units in fiscal year 2021.