April 19, 2010
<b>What is it' </b>
Soldier protection encompasses a wide range of capabilities, with one thing in common: they are designed to enable Soldiers to be lethal and survivable in any operating environment. These capabilities are provided to Soldiers in body armor, bomb suits, combat helmets, eyewear, and clothing that protects Soldiers from a wide variety of threats: flame, thermal hazards, extreme climatic conditions, environmental hazards, and disease-carrying pests.
<b>What has the Army done' </b>
Recent accomplishments include:
Aca,!Ac The introduction of lighter-weight body armor, the Soldier Plate Carrier System, for use in certain missions in Operation Enduring Freedom where mobility is key. The plate carrier reduces the weight of fully equipped body armor by just over 9 pounds.
Aca,!Ac Development of the Fire Resistant Environmental Ensemble (FREE), with multiple layers of insulating, fire-resistant clothing tailored to the needs of aviators and combat vehicle crewmembers, for whom the hazard of fire is a daily reality. The 17-part ensemble allows Soldiers to tailor their clothing to the specific mission.
Aca,!Ac Deployment of nearly 7,000 Helmet Sensors and collection of impact and blast data in theater to better understand the effects of such incidents on Soldiers. As the data are being analyzed to gain insight into traumatic brain injury, the Army is preparing to send an even more sophisticated version of the sensor into theater.
Aca,!Ac Factory treatment of Soldiers' Fire Resistant Army Combat Uniforms with the insect repellent permethrin, to replace the current messy and sometimes inconsistent methods of applying permethrin to combat uniforms.
Aca,!Ac Development of the next-generation Improved Outer Tactical Vest, with more than a dozen enhancements to improve form, fit, and function.
<b>Why is this important to the Army' </b>
Soldiers conduct their missions in varying climates and environments, encountering many different hazards and battlefield conditions. The Army is committed to providing our Soldiers with the best protection available against whatever threats and conditions they encounter.
<b>What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future' </b>
The Army never stops looking for the next level of Soldier protection. This means exploring possible new materials, modifying existing Soldier gear to provide greater capability and/or functionality, and continuously improving processes of testing and quality control. The Army's array of fire-resistant clothing, for instance, continues to expand. Also, the Army constantly encourages industry to identify and test materials that could be used to produce body armor that would give Soldiers increased protection at a reduced weight.
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