Special Operations Forces have long sought a programmable automatic inflator that allows the user to select the inflation profile of their life preserver units (LPUs) based on the mission. In addition, existing horse-collar style self-righting life preserver units are large and bulky, negatively impacting mission performance. These current LPUs restrict the wearer’s field of vision and head mobility, create snag hazards and interfere with weapon use.

With support from ADS and based on significant engagement with Naval Special Warfare and other SOF users, Mustang Survival developed a groundbreaking life preserver so lightweight, low profile and non-restrictive that military operators barely know they’re wearing it. This solution is the culmination of more than five years of research and development.


Forgettable when worn, secure and safe when inflated.

The RATIS is a Programmable, Lightweight, Self-Righting Inflatable Flotation Device for Elite Special Ops.


The RATIS fits over the shoulders and integrates with a ballistic vest or can be worn on its own. Mounting clips are cinched down to a snug fit and connect to a wide range of vests to suit each operator. The small footprint and flexible material of the RATIS gives operators freedom to execute the same actions they would if they weren’t wearing it: climbing caving ladders, swimming, shouldering a weapon and storing ammunition on the carrier.

LPU uniform design

The new LPU utilizes exclusive inflator technology, developed with long-time partner Hammar®, and is a perfect illustration of how collaboration best benefits the user community and drives industry innovation. The inclusion of inflation expert Hammar® meant providing the operator true mission flexibility through game-changing programmable inflator technology.

This new system allows the operator to choose whether the inflation is triggered by depth, time submerged in water or a combination of both. When compared to current solutions, this sleek inflatable provides a wider range of unencumbered head movement and weapons manipulations, improved visibility and uses minimal real estate on an already overloaded operator.

When the inflation system is triggered, the one-pound RATIS releases a film cell and explodes to over 40 pounds of buoyancy. This system is capable of floating heavy-load users like snipers and can surface operators from depth. Buoyancy distribution in the inflatable cell turns unconscious operators face-up so they have a clear airway, resolving an issue with current solutions.

"We’re very excited about the launch of this unique, new product and the cooperative effort with Mustang Survival that brought it to fruition. We truly value our relationship with Mustang Survival and look forward to many more years of working together to solve our warfighters most challenging problems."

- Graham Kessler, ADS Director of Product Development and Integration

Kessler said introducing the next-generation life preserver for Special Operations Forces is particularly meaningful for ADS, since the company’s first customers were Navy SEALs.

“This is game-changing technology that will make a real difference in the lives and performance of our warfighters and we’re proud to introduce it,” Kessler said.

military man scales side of building

Eric Graves of Soldier Systems Daily reviewed Mustang Survival’s new, low profile inflatable life preserver in 2018. Read his thoughts here on how this new product changes the way we look at LPUs.


ADS, Inc. is a leading value-added logistics and supply chain solutions provider that proudly serves all branches of the U.S. Military, federal, state and local government organizations, law enforcement agencies, first responders, partner nations and the defense industry. Headquartered in Virginia Beach, VA, ADS is a Top 50 Department of Defense Contractor focused on solving our customers’ challenges by providing the best product and service offerings, the broadest array of procurement options, and legendary customer service. We utilize our subject matter expertise and broad network of manufacturing partners to research and develop integrated, modular, interoperable and flexible multi-mission equipment solutions.


Established in 1967, Mustang Survival has been designing and manufacturing lifesaving solutions for more than 45 years. Through constant innovation and application of new technologies, Mustang Survival is the leading supplier of quality flotation and personal protective equipment to the most demanding maritime and aviation customers. Mustang Survival has been an industry leader in researching, designing and producing protective garments for the most demanding users working in the most hazardous environments.