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Military PLCE Backpack
- Dec 04, 2017 -

Personal Load Carrying Equipment (PLCE) is one of several current tactical webbing systems of the British Armed Forces. Dependant upon the year of design, and the decade of introduction, the webbing system was designated, and is commonly referred to, as either the 85 Pattern, the 90 Pattern or the 95 Pattern webbing.

The basic configuration consists of a belt, a shoulder harness and a number of individual pouches. Associated with the PLCE webbing system is a series of other similar load carrying equipment, individual items and rucksacks that are produced of the same materials and feature high interoperability.

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The PLCE webbing system had replaced the Type 58 Pattern webbing, which was Olive drab (OD/OG)]] in colour and made of canvas material. This system, after having been introduced to the forces in 1960, and considered long outdated by 1980, was still being part of the standard issue equipment of the British Armed Forces during the Falklands War in 1982.

To overcome the common issues associated with canvas materials, such as shrinking and accelerated decomposition in damp climate conditions, arctic climate conditions, or constant exposure to wet terrain, military load bearing systems, outside of the range of use by the British Armed Forces, had been revised to incorporate or be produced of newer and tougher materials.

During the Vietnam War, the United States Armed Forces had introduced and serviced the M-1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment (MLCE) in 1968, and later the All-purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE)]] in 1974. Both systems had incorporated non-decomposing synthetic fabrics and were produced of highly durable nylon material.

Following this influential lead, and reconsidering the progression and renewal of military load bearing systems around the world, Britain developed the Type 72 Pattern webbing, which mainly consisted of two ammunition pouches, to be worn on the front, and a field pack, to be worn on the back, produced of Polyurethane-coated nylon and Butyl rubber. This system was never generally issued, but was a Troop Trials Equipment.

The National People's Army (Nationale Volksarmee) of the German Democratic Republic designed and introduced the Uniformtrageversuch 85-90 (UTV 85-90), resembling, with the exception of the clothing system, a modified duplicate of the British Type 58 Pattern webbing, inheriting very similar features in appearance and function. The shoulder harness was of identical design, the belt had featured the use of identical buckles, and Type 58 Pattern C-hooks had been incorporated in all components. Complementary items, such as pouches, had been changed in design and size, to meet Warsaw Pact requirements. The webbing system and components were produced of a more robust Nylon material, and featured the Strichtarn camouflage pattern. Whilst this late improvement was observed by the British Armed Forces, and being found to be an affront, especially against the British Army of the Rhine (BAOR), no further considerations have been made, as the testing of prototypic PLCE equipment was already underway.

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