In 2007, GRC was contacted by a collaborative partner who needed a remote release system for a new type of tactical vest release for the US military’s IOTV. At the time, the release system was hard to operate and put soldiers in harm’s way for lengthy periods to reassemble. Heavy packs have been a life-threatening burden since WWI. Over the years, the weight of equipment has been reduced, and essential gear has been prioritized, but there are still moments when the extra baggage must quickly be removed.
GRC quickly developed a buckle release system concept, and within a few weeks, the two companies joined forces to bring the product to market. The new system releases and reassembles in seconds, shortens training time, and saves lives. The new quick-release system has been a huge success in the field with virtually no defects, working the first time every time, in the harshest environments on the planet.
Because of the nature of tactical engagements, 100% reliability must be achieved for the release system. The mechanical control cables and actuator reliably achieves sequential release of several buckles. By routing the tactical control cables within the vest, the design avoids adding bulk to the shoulders that already carry the backpack straps and other gear. The robust and intuitive design can be easily reassembled in 30 seconds ,or repaired in the field if necessary.
Over the course of design and development, we found that synchronized release led to a loss of leverage. If the wrong buckle released first, the user had considerable difficulty releasing the remaining buckles. Sequential release resolved that issue, and other design alterations improved comfort and reliability. Since the program's adoption, more than 700,000 release systems have been supplied to the US Army. Modular versions have been developed for use by police and SWAT undercover applications, which are light weight enough to work under clothes.