Blue Force Gear is obsessed with lightweight and lightening the load™ of the modern warfighter. A key element in lightweight is advanced materials combined with innovative technology.
Helium Whisper® is a revolutionary MOLLE attachment system that combines a single piece back panel design with an ultra-light, extremely durable high performance proprietary laminate called ULTRAcomp™ . This design drastically reduces the number of parts needed for MOLLE attachment, minimizes the potential for errors and weak points, is easier to produce, and most of all is lighter than any other pouch attachments system available. Pouches with Helium Whisper attachment system are currently issued to some our nation’s most elite units, several with NSN listings.
History of the Modular Belt system:
Shortly after the Civil War, Anson Mills developed a unique process to produce a cartridge belt on a single milling loom. Being made out of a single piece of material was a huge labor and weight savings. It set the stage for modern Load Carriage Equipment (LCE).
Stemming from the success of the World War 2 era M1923, M1926, and M1927 cartridge belts, the M1956LCE can be considered the first modular LCE. It used a single “pistol” belt with removable modular pouches to support the variety of small arms in the U.S. inventory.
M1967 and ALICE LCE
Similar to the M1956LCE, ALICE consisted of a modular belt with enhanced suspenders as a platform for the modular pouches. The heavy, environmentsusceptible cotton duck fabric was replaced with lighter nylon fabric and webbing. Plastic and aluminum hardware also replaced the heavy corrosion-prone brass and steel.
LBV88 / ILBV
An addition to the ALICE system, the LBV88 / ILBV added a vest portion to the long-serving “pistol” belt adding both comfort and the ability to carry more equipment distributed evenly across the chest and waist employing the same heavy ALICE clips made of metal.
Modular Lightweight Loadcarrying Equipment (MOLLE) was first introduced in the late 1990’s. Modularity was achieved by installing the modular attachment system to each pouch – stiffened tabs that are woven through corresponding loop fields on the modular platform. Through lighter than metal ALICE clips, the redundant webbing and fabric used in the MOLLE system still burdened the soldier with extra weight.
Little has changed in load carriage since the widespread adoption of the MOLLE system. The pace and demand of modern operations make every gram crucial to the survivability of the warfighter that wears it.
Lighter and Stronger
Pouches built with Helium Whisper® are lighter and stronger than traditional pouches. While some companies switch to construction to inferior or inappropriate materials, Blue Force Gear pouches are built with industry standard 500d CORDURA on the front, saving the weight with Helium Whisper back panels. This allows Blue Force Gear pouches to be up to 60% lighter than equivalent pouches with no loss in durability or function. Helium Whisper® back panels while being seemingly light and flimsy exceed the durability of 1000d CORDURA.
Fewer parts also equates to fewer failures. There are no shortage of combat users that tell tales of corroded closed, missing, or damaged MOLLE snaps, sometimes rendering pouches useless – experiences that can be backed up by the broken closures now found in surplus stores. The hook and loop closure of the attachment straps are field repairable with a sewing kit and do not need special rivet or snap sets or industrial sewing machines
Helium Whisper® one piece back panels are easier to produce which greatly reduces production errors. Like broken snaps, there are plenty of pouches that arrive new but unusable because of imperfect MOLLE attachment strap construction or misalignment. Helium Whisper® panels are laser cut with extreme precision, eliminating alignment errors both with pouches and with the MOLLE vests, belts, and platforms they attach to. The flexible laminate straps can fit in narrow or misewn MOLLE webbing channels, giving the user the ability to install pouches where they were previously unable.
The Natick Snap system, the most common MOLLE attachment backing found on issue pouches, consists of 27 parts at roughly 84 grams or 3 ounces. Helium Whisper® reduces just the attachment system down to 6 parts at almost half the weight - roughly 44 grams - on that same double M4 mag pouch. Less parts allows the pouches to be lighter and more durable than conventional pouches.
There are several similar looking MOLLE attachment systems on the market using a rubberized material often mistakenly called ‘hypalon’ - but only one Helium ® built with superior ULTRAcomp®.
Below is a simple diagram to help you identify genuine Helium Whisper built gear.
Generation 1 - manufactured from 2012 - 2015/2016
Generation 2 - manufactured from 2015/2016 - present
All MOLLE pouches currently offered by Blue Force Gear are built with Helium Whisper technology. US customers can purchase pouches and other light weight gear right here or at your local Blue Force Gear Dealer.
There are also several other manufactures that license Helium Whisper back panels. HeliumWhisper.com lists our current licensees and their gear lineup.