A soldier on patrol wearing an OTV with ammunition, water and utility pouches attached. He also carries a backpack and his helmet is fitted with a video-camera. (FranĂ§ois Prins)
other items are included and they have to be attached to the vest. Additional armour protection in the forms of shields are also included and these are added as required; they offer protection to the front and back as well as sides. All this adds weight but due to the clever use of modern materials means that the extra armour panels â€“ though still heavy - weigh less than they would have done a few years ago. A modern combatant carries far more equipment than his counterpart of some forty years ago and in standard use the average body armour, in light fighting order, is worn over the combat uniform to offer upper body protection. In complete fighting order, the full collar, brassards, shoulder guards and cummerbunds are worn. Additional neck, throat and groin (for the lower body) protection panels may also be specified and worn in a battle situation. Originally the average body armour systems weighed around 8kg, with the vest weighing 4kg and two plate inserts weighing about 1.8kg each. This was lighter than the previous systems which could weigh more than 11kg. However, due to the increased dangers of IEDs, a newer version of the vital plates and components has been developed. The Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts (ESAPIs) and
Enhanced Side Ballistic Inserts (ESBIs) have become available, along with the Deltoid and Auxiliary Protector System (DAPS). These new systems are becoming the standard for forward deployed troops. The E-SAPI plates offer increased protection from 7.62mm high velocity ammunition. The ESBIs is an attachable MOLLE ballistic panel with a pouch for an 8x6 side-SAPI, for protection of the side of the torso/under the arm. DAPS consists of two ambidextrous modular components, the Deltoid (upper arm) Protector and the Auxiliary (under arm) Protector, and provide for additional protection from fragmentary and projectiles to the upper arm and underarm areas. These developments have significantly increased the overall weight of the average body armour which can be in excess of 15kg. On average, each body armour vest costs around $800 but recent developments have brought this price down to around $450.
This shows a UK soldier in full combat body armour with knee guards, half collar brassards and various panels and pouches. (US DoD)
EDR - September / October 2015
European Defence Review magazine issue #23