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Interceptor Body Armor (IBA)

What is it?
The IBA is a modular, body armor system capable of defeating multiple small arms and fragmentation ballistic threats. It is composed of a set of front and rear enhanced small arms protective inserts (ESAPI); an improved outer tactical vest (IOTV); soft armor plate carrier with integrated deltoid auxiliary protector; groin and throat protector; and a set of enhanced side ballistic insert (ESBI) plates. The soft armor IOTV plate carrier protects against fragmentation and up to nine millimeter rounds. The ESAPI and ESBI plates protect against multiple ballistic threats. The IBA system is compatible with the modular lightweight load-carrying equipment (MOLLE), and includes webbing attachment loops on the front of the IOTV plate carrier that allow Soldiers to attach MOLLE pouches to tailor their combat loads to meet mission needs.

What has the Army done?
The most significant improvements are a single stage quick release feature with a single pull handle on the IOTV plate carrier to allow Soldiers to quickly lighten the IBA system during an emergency situation; a medical access feature to allow medics to treat wounded Soldiers without having to remove their ballistic protection; a reduction in weight of 3.8 to 3 lbs depending on size; increased area of coverage; and the addition of extra sizes for Soldiers with long torsos. Additionally, the Army modified the IOTV neck yoke and collar to increase its stability during continuous wear. This system was developed to improve performance and comfort as compared to previous body armor.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?
The Army conducts Soldier protection demonstrations and post-combat surveys to collect feedback from Soldiers to incorporate immediate improvements into the next generation of body armor and to improve the performance and comfort of the existing Soldier protection equipment. These feedback sources have informed and enabled the Army to make changes to the current system. The Army plans to provide Soldiers increased protection against emerging ballistic threats in 2009 with the award of new higher protection level XSAPI plate contracts and the procurement of a theater contingency stock.

Why is this important to the Army?
The Army leadership considers the protection of Soldiers to be a top priority. The IBA is the cornerstone of the Army's Soldier force protection strategy. It provides our Soldiers with unprecedented protection against lethal bullet and fragmentation threats.

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