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A recent assessment of body armour in the UK saw the Defence Equipment & Support organisation (DE&S) issue a voluntary notice in respect of a contract for the Supply and Support of VIRTUS Personal Protective Equipment and Load Carriage System. Project VIRTUS is for an integrated head, torso and load carriage system with the ability for quick release that will form the foundation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It will be the core component of the Dismounted Close Combat Soldier, which encompasses Soldiers, Marines and Airmen involved on Land, Littoral Manoeuvre and Ground Support to Air Operations. An MoD spokesperson said: “The VIRTUS contract for the supply and support of personal protective equipment and load carriage has now been awarded to SOURCE Vagabond Systems Ltd. This is a multi-year contract to supply an initial 9,000 systems to the British Army.� The new equipment is scalable, meaning that the level of protection can be adjusted to meet the threat level. Trials with the new armour were carried out over the past three years and final tests were held earlier this year on Salisbury Plain in Wiltshire, UK. The UK MoD was pleased with the results of the trials and has ordered the VIRTUS system into full production. The first systems are scheduled to be delivered to the Army in September, 2015. The complete system comprises of the body armour vest and chassis system, helmet and face protection, including ballistic glasses, ballistic goggles and a visor, as well as load carriers which includes a 90L Bergan, 40L daysack and Commander's 40L daysack. Project VIRTUS will bring derivations of these into the core programme and support the current Osprey Mark 4 body armour system now employed in the UK Army. Something that had to be addressed in the past few years was that of female combatants in NATO. Male and female Soldiers had to wear body armour that has been designed specifically for men. However, that has changed in the US where a new type of body armour, designed for women, that is shorter in the torso with customised adjustments specific to the female form has EDR - September / October 2015

A mannequin dressed in full body armour offering total body protection, upper and lower, from small arms fire and from any splinters from IEDs etc. (US Marine Corps)

been trialled. Lt. Col. Frank Lozano, the product manager for Soldier Protective Equipment, said one thing he realised quickly from studies was that women generally have narrower shoulders than males. The shoulder area on the new IOTV design was brought in closer to the neck by adding more fabric and opening the area around the armpits. Lozano added that the new design will keep the IOTV from rubbing on the hips, which can cause chafing while walking. Developments in protective plate design will make ballistic protection more comfortable and form-fitting for both female and male Soldiers. Prototypes were distributed to selected female soldiers at Fort Campbell, Kentucky for field testing. "The male size extra-small was too large for 85 per cent of the females, so they weren't getting

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Profile for La Passion Artistique

EDR Magazine N°. 23 September / October 2015  

European Defence Review magazine issue #23

EDR Magazine N°. 23 September / October 2015  

European Defence Review magazine issue #23

Profile for clubfoot
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