Soldiers will get new body armor for the first time in a decade, starting this summer.
The Modular Scalable Vest will replace the Improved Outer Tactical Vest, which debuted in 2008, according to the Army. The MSV is 5 pounds lighter when fully loaded with ballistic plates than its predecessor. The MSV fully loaded weighs 25 pounds.
But weight isn’t the only change soldiers will see.
Over the past five years, researchers have gone through four versions of the vest and two versions of the soldier plate carrier systems, said Stephen McNair, test manager for Soldier Protection Individual Equipment, which is part of Program Executive Office Soldier.
Soldiers with the 71st Ordnance Group and 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company conducted the final round of field testing for the armor in October, according to an Army release.
The body armor offers greater range of motion, cooling and a better fit, some of the testers told researchers.
The MSV has a four-tier configuration, allowing it to be scaled up or down depending on the threat and mission requirements.
The first tier is concealable body armor. The second adds plates. The third includes the vest and ballistic plates with the soft armor, and the fourth adds a “ballistic combat shirt that has built in neck, shoulder and pelvic protection and a belt system to move items from the vest to the hips.”
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.