Rescuing Injured Soldiers With An Ingenious Backpack System

The ultra-lightweight harness allows soldiers to strap fallen comrades to their backs, thus keeping their hands free.

One of the toughest parts of war is evacuating wounded troops. While the Pentagon and NATO have been discussing the feasibility of using UAVs to fly injured troops to safety (PDF), an Israeli company is offering a new solution: high-tech plastic backpack/sling/bungee hybrids that allow troops to carry injured comrades to safety—on their backs.

Agilite Gear markets the Injured Personnel Carrier, a lightweight (0.8 lb.) high-tensile plastic cord system that straps to a wearer’s back and can hypothetically hold up to 2,000 lbs. The padded cord wraps around the injured party, who is then carried around on the back of the non-injured soldier like a human backpack. Unlike traditional war-zone rescue products, the Injured Personnel Carrier is hands-free—rescuers are able to hold weapons and other objects while returning their comrade to safety. The heavy straps also assist in lifting the injured off the ground.

The company, which just launched the carrier on the American market, is supplying (Hebrew-language link) the United States Marine Corps and Australian Special Forces with IPCs. In addition to foreign militaries, Agilite is also targeting military contractors, search-and-rescue teams, and emergency services. The carrier’s origins lie in a practice among several Israeli Defense Forces units of tying together four rifle slings to use as a backpack.

The IPC retails for $95 in single, non-bulk purchases with free shipping to the United States. Non-military purchasers for the product have also included hikers and cruise ship emergency staff who purchased it due to the ability to use in confined spaces, according to Agilite’s Elie Isaacson. Apart from the personnel carrier, most of the company’s other products are vests, backpacks, and rifle slings of various sorts.

Extracting injured troops from battlezones has been a persistent problem for the Pentagon. The military and defense contractors, who are deep in the throes of drone-mania, have been flirting with the idea of replacing medevac helicopters with unmanned drones. A variety of extraction tools are currently used for on-the-ground evacuation of injured troops, but tactical stretchers—many of which have armor or medical accessories—are most frequently used overseas. For Agilite, the big challenge will be marketing an extraction method in which the injured party is not lying down. Slinging injured troops into a "human backpack" cannot work in all situations; earning viable sales will depend on convincing troops and search-and-rescue organizations that the IPC is better than a stretcher.

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  • Sno-Oki

    I like the potential for this to be used outside of warfare senarios. With a bit more development, the company could really have a strong market for paramedics and resuce services. How many of our current technologies have been developed because of war and been adopted by the public market as useful? Despite the horror of war, there are technologies from it that have greatly benefited our society and saved lives (e.g. the radio).

  • $27180517

    War is the most common theme throughout the history of the world....its great you can sit there and say no war, but guess what it'll never happen...its part of human nature and will always exist...and unfortunately everything else you sited still exists

  • Karan Kapur

    Why can't we say NO to war,  as we have successfully done in so may countries to smoking, drunk driving and racism. 
    It just seems that with war there is so much harder we need to focus and not deem it an economy building activity.

  • Jeff Stevens

    We can say no but getting the majority of the world to say the same thing is the hard part. I read another interesting article concerning AXE in the co.create area on this site. It amazes me how much time and effort is spent studying the habits of 14 to 25 year olds in order to sell them a body spray. Imagine if we put the same amount of energy into showing this same group that finding healthy alternatives to war is even "cooler" than smelling good. The problem as you say is - war is profitable. Body sprays are profitable. How do we show that "peace" is more profitable and desirable than either of these? How do you market peace without looking like a hippie?

  • Jeff Stevens

    I have a better "ingenious" solution. Stop fighting wars. Bullets, bombs, missles and mines will never offer a real solution. Neither will finding ways to deal with their results though we should applaud saving lives versus taking them. Why do we spend so much effort and money to build weapons and ingenious battle field gadgets? War is misguided and selfish. Lets finally bring real innovation into this world and design a way to end it.

  • Dave

     Jeff, the sad reality is that much of the world is not civilized.   There are millions of humans on this planet that would gladly accept your offer of a flower in their gun barrel, just before they blow your head off, take your children and wife as sex slaves, and laugh at your corpse, and revel in the gifts their "god" has provided them thru your naive belief that love conquers all.     

    Maybe after a few more centuries we can educate the rest of the human race to be civilized enough to accept different points of view and discard the horrors of war, but humans are not anywhere close to that point yet. 


  • Markir

    Yes War Works, you and your family dies and the bad guys get all your stuff and remaining family for sex slaves.  You are dead and they win the war.  War is always the solution through time.  The less you fight, the sooner you die, and your family too.  Reality bites, even Liberals too.