The U.S. Marine Corps is asking for industry’s help in providing enhanced hearing protection to Marines.
On April 22, Marine Corps Systems Command released a Request for Proposals 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.
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.
Provides added hearing protection
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.
“The hearing enhancement devices and current earplugs provide double hearing protection, giving Marines more protection from extremely loud noises,” Leahy said.
Leahy believes the Hearing Enhancement Devices will serve as an important asset for Marines on the battlefield.
“Purchasing these devices is a clear indication of how the Marine Corps is investing into the warfighter and giving Marines an edge on the battlefield and in training,” said Leahy.