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Home > News > Army to roll out better body armor, combat shirt in 2019

Army to roll out better body armor, combat shirt in 2019

In 2019 the Army expects to roll out anew, lighter BODY ARMOR system. The armor will provide at least as muchprotection as today's system, but with more comfort, and greater flexibility toadjust based on the mission, Army officials said.

Already, improved ballistics materialshave allowed the Army to cut the weight of TEP, when compared to theArmy`s current heavy-duty option, the Improved Outer Tactical Vest. TheIOTV, when loaded with heavy plates, weighs about 31 pounds, while a comparable TEPsystem checks in at about 23 pounds, or 26 percent lighter.

Brown said the Army pushed with industryto reduce weight while meeting future threats. In addition, the abilityto add and subtract different elements and plate inserts in the vest, is a real"highlight," Brown said. .In addition to TEP, the Army isdeveloping new body armor plates and a new head protection system.

Soldier feedback has already played amajor role in development of TEP, Brown said. Trials by soldiers at threedifferent installation, as well as by Marines and special operations units,provided design advice and feedback. Brown said that ultimately helped producea system earning a 95 percent positive feedback.

[One great aspect of the SoldierProtection System is we really listened to the voice of the customer, thesoldier," Brown said. [Based on feedback from the soldier we were able to makedesign changes."

The Army'snew Ballistic Combat Shirt was designed to improve comfort.Photo Credit:Courtesy PEO Soldier

Ballistic Combat Shirt: Designed to be worn with aballistic vest, the shirt consists of protection on the upper back, upper chestand neck, while completely covering the arms withballistic-protective sleeves. The material has a similar feel to the Armycombat shirt, but is more comfortable and offers ballistic fragmentationprotection, Brown said. It also eliminates the need for the DeltoidAuxiliary Protector, an add-on to the IOTV which has driven soldier complaintsfor being bulky and obstructive. The shirt is moisture-wicking and has a degreeof breathability, Brown said, adding to comfort.

[Soldiers really liked the BallisticCombat Shirt because they felt they had the full range of motion to be able toget into a shooters stance, and also to be able to fit their weapon in theshoulder area," said Brown. [The biggest revolutionary change (in the system)is with the Ballistic Combat Shirt which provides the same level of protectionas the DAP and the yoke and collar (of the IOTV)."

TheModular Scalable Vest includes a quick-release feature.Photo Credit: CourtesyPEO Soldier

Modular Scalable Vest: The Army developed a Soldier PlateCarrier System during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to offer a nimbleralternative to IOTV. The MSV is similar to the SPCS: old plates will work,as will new plates being developed to offer a variety of levels of protectionand fits. It features a quick-release system for easy removal. And again, theMSV`s Ballistic Material offers similar protection at a lighter weight, as dothe various optional plate inserts. In addition, the design is now afully-government-owned program of record, whereas the SPCS was generated by anoperational needs statement (a quick fix to address a newly-emerged need). Thatmatters because future technology advancements can be more easily incorporatedby the Army as production continues, Brown said.

The Army'snew Blast Pelvic Protection will replace two current protective items: anundergarment and an over-garment.Photo Credit: Courtesy PEO Soldier

Blast Pelvic Protector: The new protection for the pelvisand femoral arteries will replace two current protective items: an undergarmentand an over-garment. Brown said soldiers like how the simplified protectorconnects to the system and fits the body`s form, and she said feedback alsoindicated improved mobility.

Load Distribution System: With weight cut by advancedmaterials, Brown said, the Army managed to add a new element while cuttingweight overall – one that distributes remaining weight more comfortably. TheLDS consists of a ballistic combat belt that flows underneath the vest and aload-bearing spine that distributes weight to the waist rather than putting itall on the shoulders.

The Amy isrolling out a variety of plates, tailor-able to the mission to be worn with theModular Scalable Vest.Photo Credit: Courtesy PEO Soldier

Plates: The Army is developing new inserts in parallel withTEP, and have also been cleared for development. The hard plates are coming inat about 7 percent lighter than their current protection equivalents, Brownsaid. The options provide modularity in strength and weight for differentmissions and fit for different bodies, including two new plates tailored tofemale body types. As with the ballistic material on the vest and shirt, Brownsaid the Army didn`t want to get specific on the threshold of munitions thateach plate protects against. She did say that, fully loaded, the plates andvest [are able to defeat the most prevalent threats on the battlefield" andcompared to IOTV offered [no degradation of performance, only enhancement."

Integrated Head Protection System: The new helmet the Army has been workingon for about three years will not clear the research and development milestoneuntil late 2016. The PEO Soldier portfolio outlines objectives includingprotection against rifle threats and improved impact/blast protection over thecurrent helmet at a slightly lighter weight. It should also be modular forpossible add-ons like night vision, eye and mandibular (jaw) protection and anadditional layer of armor for even more blast/ballistic resistance, among otherattachments.

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