Saturday, 13 October 2007

SAF to issue body armour for training

Good news on the home front. opswarfare previously wrote about issuing body armour for troops on training, and this has come true...

The Request for Information (RFI) has been issued. Among the requirements mentioned in the RFI, the Integrated Body Armour Vest (IBAV) shall
  • be dual function, as a Load Bearing Vest or a Body Armour Vest
  • be designed to spread its weight over the waist and front instead of relying only on the shoulder
  • have a quick release mechanism
  • include a detachable hydration bladder pouch, and a velcro strap at the front of the IBAV to hold and secure the drinking tube
  • have a groin pouch built into the front of the IBAV for the storage of the detachable groin panel
  • have 4 D-rings for attaching bulky items
  • have grommets to provide rapid drainage of trapped fluids
  • defeat a NATO 9mm round fired from a sub-machine gun for the soft armour
  • defeat a NATO 7.62mm round for the hard armour inserts
The few points above presents us with some questions.
  • will the current Load Bearing Vest (which is just being newly issued) be out of commission once the body armour is issued?
  • some of the requirements are very specific, this may exclude some manufacturers who may not find it profitable to modify their existing off the shelf products to comply. Would this reduce the competition?
Last but not least, the RFI includes a modified test requirement as compared to the specified National Institute of Justice (NIJ) document.

The original paragraph
"Mark the front armor panel, plate, or insert for six impacts, evenly spaced on the panel according to the spacing criteria of a minimum of 76 mm (3.0 in) from any edge to center and 51 mm (2.0 in) from any previous impact (center to center). Wet condition the armor panel, plate, or insert per the requirements of section 5.9.3."

The modified paragraph
"Mark the front armour panel, plate, or insert for six impacts, RANDOMLY spaced on the panel WITH ONLY A minimum of 26mm (1.0inch) from any edge to centre and WITH ONE OF THE SIX IMPACTS AT 51mm (2.0 inch) from any previous impact (centre to centre)..."

opswarfare is still researching on what this change will do to the protection levels as compared to the NIJ standard.

To see who could be the conten
ders, let's take a look at the body armour used by various armed forces.
USMC - Modular Tactical Vest
US Army - Improved Outer Tactical Vest


Oct 9, 2007
Life-saving body armour for all army units
It will be used not only during operations but also when soldiers train
By David Boey

LOCAL troops will be better protected against bullets and shell fragments, with the Ministry of Defence (Mindef) planning to introduce body armour to all units.

Mindef has asked defence companies for information on the armour, worn as vests to protect the body from the neck down to the waist and groin area.

The Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) - the national authority that buys weapons and equipment for the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) - will assess what is available in the market, after which Mindef will progressively equip all army units with body armour.

Colonel Darius Lim, Mindef's director of public affairs, explained that the body armour will be used not only during operations, but also for training purposes such as during route marches, live-firing and urban warfare exercises.

Body armour is not new to the SAF, but it has been issued mainly to crack units, such as the Commando Special Operations Force, or SAF units involved in hazardous operations such as peace-keeping duties with the United Nations.

Armies worldwide have found that body armour and better military medical care save lives. Statistics kept by United States medical units indicate that some 30 per cent of all injured American troops died during World War II.

Better medical care saw that figure drop to 24 per cent in Vietnam but in Iraq, just 9 per cent of the injured lose their lives.

Body armour is usually made of soft bullet-resistant fabrics, or hard plates made of ceramics or resins. Such armour is numbered with Roman numerals from I to IV according to the protection they offer. Smaller numbers indicate lighter protection.

For the SAF troops, DSTA said the body armour should comprise:

# The basic vest - built of tough and lightweight fabrics like nylon, the vest is designed to hold armour panels. DSTA said it should be 'inert to saltwater and mud' and 'printable with camouflage patterns'.

# Removable soft ballistic armour panels - lightweight and water-repellent, the panels should repel 9mm rounds fired from submachine guns like the MP5.

# Removable hard ballistic armour plates - these should resist 7.62mm bullets fired by general purpose machine guns.

# Detachable soft protection pads for the neck and shoulder, and the groin - made of the same material as soft armour, the pads should be fitted when needed.

To ensure the vests work fine in Singapore's environment, DSTA said the vests should be able to withstand 98 per cent humidity and tolerate 'heavy rain conditions'.

Military equipment suppliers told The Straits Times they are steeling themselves for fierce competition when DSTA issues the body armour tender.

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