In 2003 the USMC began to research and develop a new system that would improve upon the previous system used, the MOLLE. As a result the Improved Load Bearing Equipment, also called the ILBE, was introduced. This system is built to be lightweight and durable. The three day assault pack is intended for short missions, in which the solider can carry everything that he would need for three days. Because the ILBE three day assault pack is much lighter and smaller, it enables the solider to move quickly under hostile situations.
The improved system, ILBE, featured very distinct differences from the MOLLE. The ability to carry both the 60 and 81mm mortars rounds on the outer pack, the system could carry up to 120 pounds, the patrol pack is detachable, and the system was much smaller not exceeding 6000 cubic inches. This system began to be phased into the Marine Corps in January of 2004, priority given to deployed troops to use in current missions.
The ILBE has three notable major components; the assault pack, IBLE hydration pack and the main pack. The assault pack carries the ammunition needed, the hydration pack which can be used with the camelback or other water bladders, the main pack is to carry other supplies needed during the three day period. The ILBE also has a built-in frame, unlike the ALICE and the MOLLE whose frames are worn on the outside with systems attached to it; the ILBE features a lightweight and compact frame sewn inside the system. This helped to make the system more compact overall.
Features are; measurements are approximately 18″ tall x 12″ wide x 6″ thick, shoulder straps are built for quick release, the back is padded for comfort on long patrols, two separate compartments, the waist belt is built in, MOLLE attachment points and the ACU pattern will reflect USMC’s current uniform.