Individual Integrated Fighting System
The Individual Integrated Fighting System or IIFS was introduced in 1988 as a possible replacement for the All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment in United States armed forces service. The IIFS replaces the age-old concept of a shoulder-harness suspenders and individual equipment belt design with the newer concept of a tactical load-carrying vest. The IIFS vest is also known as the Tactical Load Bearing Vest or TLBV.
The IIFS has design roots in combat and load-carrying vests designed by Natick Laboratories for use by United States Navy SEALs during the Vietnam War. The concept of a load-carrying vest is that the weight of the equipment carried by an infantry rifleman is more evenly distributed over the body than with the old "suspender and belt" load-carrying concept.
The IIFS tactical load-carrying vest [also known as the Individual Tactical Load-Bearing Vest or ITLBV, Tactical Load-Bearing Vest or TLBV, and Load-Bearing Vest M-1988 or LBV88] is designed to replace the All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment or ALICE system individual equipment belt and individual equipment belt suspenders as well as the small arms ammunition cases [even those continue to be utilized with the IIFS to carry extra ammunition]. Trial versions are utilized with woodland camouflage pattern versions of the ALICE water canteen cover and field first aid dressing case. The ALICE system intrenching tool cover remains unchanged and is also utilized during testing.
In the original design, as well as testing, the tactical load-carrying vest had panels made of Kevlar to improve the protection of the infantry rifleman when worn with the Personal Armor System Ground Troops or PASGT flak vest. The weight of this prototype vest was too much to continue to consider this concept.
Along with the tactical load-carrying vest a new individual equipment belt is introduced with a black plastic Fastex quick-release buckle and redesigned adjustment system. It is decided that instead of contracting new ALICE components in the woodland camouflage pattern that existing ALICE components will be utilized with the IIFS. These being the water canteen cover, field first aid dressing case, and intrenching tool cover.
Like the ALICE system, the IIFS is broken down into a fighting load and existence load along the same design concepts as the ALICE system.
In the mid-1990s the tactical load-carrying vest is redesigned, due to problems with ventilation and redesignated the Enhanced Tactical Load-Carrying Vest or Enhanced Tactical Load-Bearing Vest or ETLBV with no change to the National Stock Number. Two modifications are slant of magazine pouches inward (easier removal of magazines) and mesh panels to replace the material panels (which retained body heat)
Fighting Load Components
The IIFS fighting load comprises the following components:
- Belt, Individual Equipment [NSN 8465-01-322-1965-series]
- Vest, Ammunition Carrying [NSN 8415-01-317-1622]
- Vest, Tactical Load Carrying [NSN 8415-01-296-8878]
In addition the following ALICE system components are utilized with the IIFS:
- Carrier, Entrenching Tool [NSN 8465-00-001-6474]
- Case, Field First Aid Dressing [NSN 8465-00-935-6814]
- Cover, Water Canteen [NSN 8465-00-860-0256]
The ALICE system Case, Small Arms Ammunition [NSN 8465-00-001-6482] is also frequently used in conjunction with the IIFS to carry extra ammunition. This is especially true with infantry riflemen utilizing the ammunition carrying vest, which has no provisions for carrying cartridge magazines.
In the mid-1990s the M-1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment or MLCE Field Pack is resurrected for use with IIFS system. A modified olive green version of the M-1967 MLCE Field Pack [sometimes referred to as a "butt pack"] has been utilized for sometime as a "three-day training pack" in conjunction with the ALICE system, but is not a component of it. The IIFS version is manufactured in the woodland camouflage pattern and retains the same National Stock Number as the M-1967 MLCE version [the "three-day training pack" also retains the same National Stock Number].
Vest, Ammunition Carrying - The ammunition carrying vest is intended for use by the infantry rifleman (grenadier) armed with the M203 or M79 grenade launcher. It is constructed of a seven ounce nylon fabric printed in the woodland camouflage pattern and weighs 2.1 pounds. empty. The ammunition carrying vest is compatible with the standard individual equipment belt which is secured to the ammunition carrying vest with 10 belt loops. The loops use hook and pile fasteners and snaps. The ammunition carrying vest has 18 permanently attached ammunition pockets that can carry 4 pyrotechnic and 14 high explosive 40mm rounds. The pocket covers are secured by one snap. A pull tab is used to open the pocket. The shoulders are protected by 1/2 inch [1.27 cm] foam padding. The ammunition carrying vest closes in front with two chest straps using plastic quick release buckles. Two 21⁄4 inch [5.71 cm] webbing and two D-Rings sewn to the back of the ammunition carrying vest can be used as equipment attachment points.
Vest, Tactical Load Carrying - The tactical load-carrying vest is constructed of a seven ounce nylon fabric printed in the woodland camouflage pattern and weighs 1.8 pounds empty. The tactical load-carrying vest is compatible with the standard individual equipment belt. The individual equipment belt is secured to the tactical load-carrying vest with 10 belt loops that use both hook and pile fasteners and snaps. The tactical load-carrying vest has four permanently attached ammunition pockets that can carry six 30-round cartridge magazines for the M16 rifle. The pocket covers are secured by one snap and a strip of hook and pile. A pull tab is used to open the pocket. Located directly below the ammunition pockets are two fragmentation grenade pockets. The shoulders are protected by 1/2 inch [1.27 cm] foam padding. The tactical load-carrying vest closes in front with two chest straps using plastic quick release buckles. Two 21⁄4 inch [5.71 cm] webbing and two D-Rings sewn to the back of the tactical load-carrying vest can be used as equipment attachment points.
Existence Load Components
The IIFS existence load comprises the following components:
- Field Pack [NSN 8465-01-286-5356]
- Pack, Patrol, Combat [NSN 8465-01-287-8128]
Field Pack - The field pack, also known as Field Pack, Large With Internal Frame [FPLIF] or Combat Field Pack M-1990 [CFP-90], is constructed of an 8.0 ounce backcoated nylon fabric printed in the woodland camouflage pattern which has excellent abrasion resistance and water repellency. The weight of the empty field pack is 8 pounds. The field pack has two major sections; the sleeping bag compartment, and the main compartment. The main compartment has a false bottom that may be opened for full use of the field pack when a sleeping bag is not carried. The outside of the field pack has one long tunneled pocket and two smaller cargo pockets, all using compression straps for securing contents. Equipment attachment points in the form of 21⁄4 inch [5.71 cm] webbing and 1 inch [2.54 cm] webbing loops are located throughout the field pack.
Early versions of the pack were produced by Lowe and are considered superior to the production "CFP-90"; the principal reason for this is the use of cotton thread on the production model. The Lowe version is distinguished by having a brown canvas sleeping bag compartment, no top closing flap (the "Pack, Patrol, Combat" is used instead), a black snow collar, a unique suspension system, and black nylon thread.
The internal frame comprises two aluminum staves running the full height of the field pack. The staves are removable. The suspension system is adjustable allowing the user to position the field pack where it is most comfortable. The field pack has lower back padding as well as an extended lumbar support pad and the shoulder pads are made of bi-laminate foam. A softer, open cell foam is against the body for comfort followed by a stiffer closed cell foam for stability and good recovery after compression.
Two strap assemblies with quick release buckles allow for the attachment of the combat patrol pack atop the field pack when both packs are used together. When used in combination with either the ammunition carrying or tactical load-carrying vests, the field pack shoulder pads are worn over those of the vest, where they are retained by two one inch [2.54 cm] pieces of webbing.
Pack, Patrol, Combat - The combat patrol pack is designed for short missions and offers 1200 cubic inches of cargo space in two compartments. The main compartment is padded to protect the back from heavy, sharp items. The main compartment incorporates two tiedown straps that can be used to stabilize equipment such as a field radio. The combat patrol pack has a separate shoulder harness. When used in combination with either the ammunition carrying or tactical load-carrying vests, the combat patrol pack shoulder pads are worn over the vest shoulder pads, and retained for stability by two one inch [2.54 cm] pieces of webbing. The combat patrol pack can also be used in conjunction with the field pack. With the "LCS-88" experimental version, the patrol pack attached directly to the shoulder straps of the LBV, and a waist belt was used to keep it from bouncing around.
- M-1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment or MLCE
- All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment or ALICE
- Modular Lightweight Load-Carrying Equipment or MOLLE
- Buzo Tactico Assault Vest used by the Argentine Buzos Tácticos