19 May 2016
British Soldiers Voice Concerns Over New Body Armour
Safety concerns have been raised over new body armour worn by British Army soldiers, according to a BBC report.
Virtus helmets, body armour and load-carrying systems are replacing Osprey which some experts say could contribute to muscular and skeletal injuries.
The Ministry of Defence says the new system’s design is lighter and more streamlined in comparison.
But complaints have been made that the new equipment’s webbing, where kit is stored, has been snapping, it is difficult to put on in the dark and that, once on the ground, soldiers wearing the kit have difficulty getting back on their feet.
The MoD told the BBC: “As with every new system there have been some issues during the initial roll out, and, as a result of constructive feedback from our troops, we are working with our supplier to make improvements.”
Virtus began to replace Osprey armour from the beginning of 2016 and will be rolled out in phases.
The old armour was so heavy that the Taliban in Afghanistan referred to British soldiers – forced to carry loads of up to 22kg – as tortoises” or “camels.”
To date, approximately 9,000 units of Virtus helmets, body armour and load-carrying systems have been issued to members of the British Parachute Regiment, the Rifles, Royal Marines and Royal Artillery.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) described the Virtus equipment as "one of the most advanced integrated body armour and load carrying systems in the world". Virtus body armour is 4.7kg lighter than Osprey and will be even lighter when new armour plates are issued.
In answer to weight issues, the new Virtus kit also features an integral spine or “dynamic weight distribution system”, spreading the load across a soldier’s shoulders, hips and back.
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