Australien — Army Chief tells troops in Afghanistan new body armour coming

In a three day vis­it to Afghanistan last week, the Chief of Army, Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Ken Gille­spie, told Aus­tralian sol­diers that Army will start issu­ing a new light-weight com­bat body armour sys­tem that is lighter than the cur­rent sys­tem for tri­al by the end of 2010.

fitting of a prototype of body armour during a demonstration of new clothing and equipment at the recreation area at Camp Baker at the Kandahar Airfield
Reg­i­men­tal Sergeant Major of the Army War­rant Offi­cer Stephen Ward assists in the fit­ting of a pro­to­type of body armour dur­ing a demon­stra­tion of new cloth­ing and equip­ment at the recre­ation area at Camp Bak­er at the Kan­da­har Air­field.
Source: Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Defence
Click to enlarge

LTGEN Gille­spie dis­cussed and demon­strat­ed the new Tiered Body Armour Sys­tem (TBAS) with troops at Multi­na­tion­al Base Tarin Kowt includ­ing the 1st Men­tor­ing Task Force and Spe­cial Oper­a­tions Task Group, as well as sol­diers at three patrol bases in the Cho­ra and Mirabad Val­ley regions.

He said that the new body armour sys­tem is like­ly to be issued to key ele­ments of the next rota­tion of Aus­tralian troops deployed to Afghanistan dur­ing 2011.

“We are look­ing at issu­ing the first batch of TBAS for tri­al to sol­diers at the end of the year,” LTGEN Gille­spie said.

The TBAS pack­age cur­rent­ly includes up to three load car­ri­ers designed for mul­ti­ple com­bat roles. TBAS also uses a new bal­lis­tic plate sys­tem that weighs less than the cur­rent Mod­u­lar Com­bat Body Armour Sys­tem (MCBAS) issued to most troops in Afghanistan.

“We are con­tin­u­al­ly reassess­ing issued com­bat equip­ment to reduce load and enhance func­tion­al­i­ty and we will incor­po­rate rec­om­men­da­tions from sol­diers into the new tiered sys­tem once the tri­al is com­plete,” LTGEN Gille­spie said.

LTGEN Gille­spie demon­strat­ed the pro­posed TBAS pack­age that will incor­po­rate a new ammu­ni­tion pouch sys­tem designed to enhance pouch access and ver­sa­til­i­ty.

Infantry Sec­tion Com­man­der from the 1st Men­tor­ing Task Force, Cor­po­ral Math­ew McK­eev­er, said that the new sys­tem appears to be more in-line with demands placed on com­bat armour in a com­plex and most­ly dis­mount­ed patrolling envi­ron­ment such as Afghanistan.

“I patrol on foot in the Mirabad Val­ley every­day with my sol­diers and we’ve been in a mul­ti­ple con­tacts with insur­gents,” CPL McK­eev­er said.

“When you’re in a con­tact you don’t think about what you are wear­ing – you’re focused on your job

“The issued kit we have now is fine – it does the job and pro­vides excep­tion­al pro­tec­tion – but it’s also good to know that a lighter and more mul­ti­pur­pose sys­tem will be issued soon.”

1st Men­tor­ing Task Force sol­diers con­duct dis­mount­ed patrols in moun­tain­ous and rocky ter­rain, in deserts, and through the wet and heav­i­ly grassed green zones every­day. Some­times these foot patrols are up to 20 kilo­me­tres.

The Force Pro­tec­tion Review includes a pro­vi­sion to enhance the com­bat body armour for troops in Afghanistan.

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