Hear what Soldier Systems Daily has to say: Eric Graves of SSD reviewed Mustang Survival's new, low profile inflatable life preserver with a programmable inflator, inspired by a special forces customer request.
For the past several years, Mustang Survival has been working to introduce a new inflatable life preserver. What they’ve come up with is so low profile and lightweight, it changes the way we will look at them.
While the SOF LPU only weights one pound, it provides 40 pounds of buoyancy. The biggest contributor to this weight savings is a new, ultra-lightweight membrane film, used for the inflation chamber.
But Mustang Survival didn’t build this new system in a vacuum. Eric Graves of Soldier Systems Daily first saw a prototype at last summer’s Warrior Expo East. At that point, they’d already been working for five years with ADS to refine the form, fit, and function of what would eventually become the Mustang SOF LPU.
But over the last six months, that collaboration—conducting some pretty significant customer engagement and feedback, as well as market analysis—looks to have really paid off. In fact, the two companies have been working together for 20 years, since the whole Diving Equipment Prime Vendor program started.
Since Graves’ first look, they’ve brought in long-time partner CM Hammar® to develop a new programmable inflator, which allows the user to configure it to trigger inflation by depth, time submerged in water, or a combination of both.
They are also working together to identify and validate a next generation electronic inflator technology for the SOF LPU.
However, the SOF LPU will be offered in three configurations, which fit the operational profiles of most LPU users. The MD1500 utilizes a Programmable automatic inflator, MD1501 utilizes HIT Hydrostatic inflator, and MD1502 utilizes Hammar’s® new manual inflator.
This video was shot during a demonstration in a Norfolk pool in November. When discussing history of the project, Mustang Survival reps explained an SOF customer had initially approached them, asking to integrate a new life preserver into an armor vest.
Mustang Survival took a look at how many different vests had been in use at that organization and suggested they instead create an appliqué that could be attached to ANY vest. PALS compatibility seemed like the best answer.
It’s being referred to as a SOF LPU, but everyone who currently uses some form of inflatable LPU is going to want this. Not only can it be attached via PALS webbing, but they’ve also created a standalone harness so the LPU can be worn alone. That’s great for over the water Helo passengers, parachutists during admin jumps, and small boat passengers.
Additionally, SOLAS retro-reflective tape or GLINT can be attached to the inflation chamber via hook and loop to support those TTPs which use those markings.
Because of the SOF LPU’s low profile, the wearer will barely know it’s there. It’s not going to impede movement or situational awareness. In the event of inflation, the chamber is out front, above any equipment, such as ammunition, first aid kit, or radios. That way, the wearer can still access that gear.
The SOF LPU will be offered in Sepia, MultiCam, Coyote Tan, and Black.
Both in the field and as a civilian, Eric Graves has spent an exuberant amount of time researching and understanding the landscape of the defense industry. When he started Soldier Systems Daily in 2008, his expertise coupled with real-world experience instantly positioned him as an authoritative, experienced, and trustworthy leader in everything tactical. There is no better way to shed light on the importance of quality operational products, technology, and services than in an unbiased forum such as Soldier Systems Daily.