Australia — New combat armour for Australian soldiers

The first batch of the new Tiered Body Armour Sys­tem (TBAS) for Aus­tralian sol­diers in Afghanistan has come off the pro­duc­tion line at Aus­tralian Defence Appar­el (ADA) in Bendi­go, cre­at­ing an extra 50 local jobs.

Min­is­ter for Defence Materiel Jason Clare inspect­ed the pro­duc­tion line in Bendi­go today.

“The new body armour sys­tem is lighter, fits bet­ter, is more com­fort­able and pro­vides more mobil­i­ty than the exist­ing body armour our troops use,” Mr Clare said.

“At the moment our sol­diers in Afghanistan wear either the Mod­u­lar Com­bat Body Armour Sys­tem (MCBAS) or the Eagle Marine body armour.

MCBAS body armour is very effec­tive, but it’s heavy. It was designed for con­di­tions in Iraq where troops weren’t reg­u­lar­ly required to patrol on foot.

“In Afghanistan the feed­back from troops was it made it dif­fi­cult to move around and do their job, so Defence made an urgent pur­chase of the lighter Eagle Marine body armour last year from the Unit­ed States.

“The new TBAS is lighter than both. It also allows troops to insert dif­fer­ent types of bal­lis­tic plates in the vest depend­ing on their mis­sion.

“Because it is Aus­tralian-made and we own the design we can also make adjust­ments and improve­ments at any time to suit the needs of our troops.”

Mr Clare said Defence was plan­ning for sol­diers from Men­tor­ing Task Force 3 to train in this body armour in April as part of their Mis­sion Rehearsal Exer­cis­es and deploy with it when they head to Afghanistan lat­er this year.

ADA will pro­duce around 1,600 tiered body armour sys­tems over the next few months,” Mr Clare said.

“Over the past 18 months TBAS has been test­ed and eval­u­at­ed by Spe­cial Forces, Navy clear­ance divers and sol­diers from the 1st Brigade in Dar­win, 3RAR in Syd­ney and 2 RAR in Townsville.

“They told us this was the body armour they want to wear in Afghanistan.

“They said it inte­grates bet­ter with their com­bat equip­ment and pro­vides much greater free­dom of move­ment, espe­cial­ly around their shoul­ders. This enables sol­diers to get into bet­ter fir­ing posi­tions and manoeu­vre more freely on the bat­tle­field.

“The pro­tec­tion of our front­line troops is our top pri­or­i­ty. That’s why Defence and ADA have devel­oped, test­ed and pro­duced this new body armour.

“The work­ers here at ADA can be very proud of the work they are doing. It could save a soldier’s life.”

Mr Clare said ADA had a long and proud his­to­ry of involve­ment with the Aus­tralian Defence Force.

“They first start­ed mak­ing uni­forms for the Defence Force here in 1912,” Mr Clare said.

“For almost a cen­tu­ry ADA has been sup­port­ing Aus­tralian troops and local jobs.”

Press release
Min­is­te­r­i­al Sup­port and Pub­lic Affairs,
Depart­ment of Defence,
Can­ber­ra, Aus­tralia

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