Marines in Afghanistan might soon scrap the sandbags. Instead, they’re snapping together armored walls that connect like Legos.
The Marines Corps in December spent $797,400 on 14 kits of McCurdy’s Armor, a patent-pending portable wall system. The service has already tested 25 kits.
The 6.5-foot-tall units can be assembled into bulletproof walls and forts — a process that can take less than an hour. This could save days’ worth of work digging trenches, laying sandbags and constructing outposts, according to the manufacturer, New Jersey-based Dynamic Defense Materials. “We’ve seen them used on everything from a podium to a guard tower to a long wall,” says Joe Dimond, a product specialist for the company.
The product offers protection from mortars, grenades, rockets and improvised explosive devices. It has aluminum frames that connect using steel pins, and the units can be arranged in several formations: U-shape, V-shape, J-shape or a wall.
It also has ballistic windows that open and close so service members can fire downrange. Four men can assemble one unit in less than 10 minutes without any tools or equipment, according to the company’s website.
“If you’re worried about armor-piercing rounds, you can also put on a second layer of armor,” Dimond says. “And you can add more if you’re going to be there a while.”
The product was named for Ryan S. McCurdy, a Marine who was killed in 2006 by insurgents in Iraq while pulling a wounded friend to safety.