Infantry: New Armor Fixes Old Problems

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January 25, 2008: Last year, the U.S. Army introduced new body army, the Modular Tactical Vests (MTV) [PHOTO], this year. This replaced the 1990s era Interceptor body armor. The MTV, true to its name, provides many protection options. If troops only want the same level of protection the Interceptor vests provides, the MTV is about three pounds lighter. But if the side armor, and several other additions, are included, MTV weighs about a pound more (18 pounds) than Interceptor. With all these options, the MTV costs about $2,700 each. The army has bought 230,000 of the new vests. The U.S. Marine Corps adopted the MTV about six months before the army did, and spearheaded the new acceptance of the new armor.

The MTV adds more protection to the sides, back and throat. Troops wearing MTV are expected to suffer 5-10 percent fewer casualties than those wearing the older armor. A precise figure will be available after users experience several thousand combat hours with the new armor. MTV is much more user friendly. It has a quick-release system that enables troops to drop the vest in seconds in emergencies. This has proved very popular with troops who have been in vehicle accidents, or just been hit by a roadside bomb. Without the quick release, they might not have been able to get out of a burning vehicle, or avoid enemy fire on the vehicle. Medics have also found the quick release a life saver, enabling them to treat wounds more quickly.

The vest puts more of the weight on the waist, making it more comfortable to wear. Also included are a lot of nice little features, like channels for radio and computer wires. There's a rifle bolster, making it easier to handle a rifle while wearing the vest. The improved closure system makes it easier to put the MTV on, even after using the quick release.

Both army and marines are developing an MTV replacement, that will incorporate lighter, curved, ballistic plates, that will cover more of the torso. These next generation vests aren't expected to enter service for another three or four years.

 


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