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Protecting Warfighters in Battle

The battlefield always has been a place of peril. And over the years, as technology made weaponry more powerful and effective, this danger only increased with the times. However, today BAE Systems is using cutting-edge technology to also make modern warfighters safer. How is the company accomplishing this? Through the broad range of tactical vests, armor, and helmets it produces.

A New Generation of Tactical Vests

Since 2007, BAE Systems has produced more than 900,000 tactical vests equipped with body armor for U.S. troops serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world.
IOTV, TAP, MOLLE BAE Systems' IOTV, TAP and MOLLE Equipment

The company recently received nearly $60 million in new orders from the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to produce the next generation of tactical vests known as the Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV).

So how has an already popular piece of equipment been improved? For starters, its armor is 3 pounds lighter. That doesn’t sound like much, but it can mean the difference between life and death when you have to move quickly during combat.

The IOTV vest can also be removed easily. It’s a benefit that makes it ideal for medics treating the wounded or for troops trying to escape from overturned or submerged vehicles.

The design of the IOTV provides a number of benefits, including a 10-percent weight reduction in the armor system. It helps soldiers stay agile and, more importantly, it supports the Army’s mission to provide lighter, more efficient equipment.

Eric Gavelda, director of Warfighter Protection

 

Bulked-up Armor

One of the most important components of BAE Systems’ tactical vests is their hard armor inserts.
IOTV and ESAPI BAE Systems has been providing hard and soft body armor for over 14 years to the Armed Forces.

These inserts are worn inside the fronts and backs of the vests and protect the torso from armor-piercing bullets and shrapnel. The inserts are fully qualified by the U.S. government through rigorous physical, environmental, and ballistic testing.


Since 1998, BAE Systems has produced more than 1.2 million hard armor inserts, under various Department of Defense contracts. Within the last few months, the company was awarded several multimillion-dollar contracts to continue this tradition of warfighter protection.

Lighter Helmets

Although torso protection is critical, BAE Systems also designs state-of-the-art headwear for the warfighter.
USMC Lightweight Helmet (LWH) BAE Systems' ballistic helmets are lightweight, provide maximum protection and incorporate the latest materials in ballistic composite construction.

The company has, in fact, now produced more than a million combat helmets for the Department of Defense.

For example, BAE Systems recently received additional orders to produce lightweight combat helmets for the U.S. Marine Corps. The lightweight design — first created by the company in 2012 — represents the latest model in Marine Corps helmets since the Personnel Armor System Ground Troops helmet was replaced in 2003. It is fully certified to meet rigorous standards for ballistic, structural, and non-ballistic impact testing set by the Army’s Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland.

The helmet is a sophisticated design engineered to meet the Corps’ protection requirements for bullets and fragmentation.

Eric Gavelda, director of Warfighter Protection