Marine Corps awards contract for lighter-weight body armor to better fit all Marines

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Marines Bullet Proof Vest

Marines will soon be getting their hands on a new lighter and better fitting plate carrier.

On Wednesday, the Defense Department announced that a five-year contract of $62,612,464 was awarded to Vertical Protective Apparel LLC, a New Jersey-based company, to produce the Corps’ Plate Carrier Generation III.

The contract calls for a maximum of 225,886 new plate carriers over a five-year period.

The Corps has been in collaboration with the Army for new lighter and better fitting plate carrier and ballistic armor since a policy update in 2016 from the Capabilities Development Directorate called for a fit update.

“The legacy carrier fit the span of the Marine Corps, but this new system is more tailorable to fit Marines of various sizes with three new smaller-stature options,” Flora “Mackie” Jordan, body armor engineer for the Infantry Combat Equipment Team at Marine Corps Systems Command, said in a command release. “We wanted to give as much mobility back to Marines as possible by reducing the weight and bulk of the vest without decreasing ballistic protection. We were able to reduce the weight of the vest by 25 percent.”

The Corps managed to shave an inch-and-a-half from the bottom and removed some material from the shoulders.The new fit will help lighten the load and reduce fatigue on the battlefield.

The new plate carrier is “less bulky, lighter in weight, and provides a smaller overall footprint than the current plate carrier while maintaining the same soft armor coverage and protection level,” Barbara Hamby, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Systems Command, told Marine Corps Times last July, while describing a prototype of the new plate carrier.

The new carrier also comes with a quick release, which will help Marines take the carrier off faster than the legacy system.

Marines are also amid plans to procure lighter ballistic armor.

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