Infantry: January 7, 2000

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The US Army has decided to send its newest protective vests, designated Interceptor, to the troops stationed in Kosovo. These troops are currently provided with the 20-year-old flak jackets which can stop shrapnel (not bullets). Added plates can stop 5.56mm bullets, but increase the weight to 25 pounds. The Interceptor jackets weigh less (only 16 pounds including their ceramic plates). They can stop shrapnel or 9mm bullets; the added ceramic plates can stop 7.62mm rounds. Plate production is behind schedule compared to the vests. The first month, the troops will receive 1,000 vests and 275 sets of plates. The plates will catch up with the vests in a few weeks; the troops in Kosovo will receive 1,000 vests per month until 5,000 have been delivered. The Army had originally planned to send the first 5,000 to a "contingency pool" that would go to any brigade headed for combat. That pool will now start getting vests in early summer. After the pool is stocked, high priority light infantry units such as the 75th Rangers and 82nd Airborne will receive the vests.--Stephen V Cole

 


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