Source: Army Times
The United States Army has been working to modernize some of its protection equipment such as its body armor and helmet, among other protective items. According to BCT Team Gen. Anthony Potts, Colonel Stephen Thomas, and Lt. Col. Ginger Whitehead, fielding of the first runs of the updated protective equipment will begin this month.
The first unit to receive the new gear will be the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division, based out of Fort Bragg, NC.
On March 4, Potts, Thomas, and Whitehead detailed the fielding at a ceremony and provided information on the development and testing of more advanced body armor and helmets, which are set to debut later this year.
During the ceremony, Thomas, who is the program manager for Soldier Protective and Individual Equipment, stated that the Improved Outer Tactical Vest, Integrated Head Protection System, and Ballistic Pelvis Protection will be going to the 3rd BCT later this month. This summer, the 3rd BCT will also field the Ballistic Combat Shirt.
The commander of PEO Soldier, Potts, said that the updated equipment aims to advance ballistic protection “by adding mobility to the gear, providing layers of protection for a variety of threat protection,” all while lightening soldiers’ loads.
The new IHPS gives wearers the option to add a mandible, visor, and an extra layer for even more protection.
Materials and manufacturing research may aid in further advancements, too.
PEO Soldier is developing something called a “Next Generation IHPS” that will provide the same level of protection as the current IHPS – but at an even lighter weight. Thomas said that the Next Gen. version, along with improved body armor, will be fielded by early 2021 at the latest.