BAE Systems wins US body armour order

BAE Systems has received a $43.7 million contract to produce and deliver 75 000 Improved Outer Tactical Vests (IOTV) to the US Army.
BAE Systems officials anticipate having the body armour system in full production at a Tennessee facility by the end of March.
“This contract award from the Army will restore more than 100 jobs at the Grainger County facility and allow Tennessee’s strong work force to continue to help protect our soldiers,” said Congressman Zach Wamp in a company release.
As the latest design for the U.S. Army’s body armor, the IOTV provides increased ballistic protection and enhanced comfort levels, reduced weight over previous designs, and features an emergency quick release mechanism that allows soldiers to remove the vest with one pull in an emergency.
BAE Systems has received 51 percent of all IOTV orders with this award.
“Our IOTV is the latest generation of life-saving vests that enhances ballistic protection for our warfighters,” said Joe Coltman, vice president of Individual Equipment for BAE Systems. “This award is a testament to the Army’s confidence in our IOTV.”
The award comes as the South African military mulls the future of Project African Warrior, its soldier system programme. Reports indicate the project to adapt general equipment, combat dress and weapons to shifting tactical needs is continuing with an emphasis on an upgrade of the R-4 assault rifle and replacement of night vision and navigation equipment.
One driver behind the programme is the continuous deployment of SA National Defence Force personnel on peacekeeping missions in both tropical jungle and Sahara desert whereas the SA uniform and accoutrements was optimised for Savannah and subtropical bush. Another driver is the increased number of women in combat units, including the infantry and the need to adopt suitable body armour and combat vests.
Armscor African Warrior Programme Manager Nico Ras last year said the SA concept for soldier modernisation “is the most advanced on the continent.” Armscor is the SA Department of Defence`s acquisition agency.
He told Soldier Modernisation the way forward was incremental. “We are currently in what we call the Warrior programme [running from 2007- 2011]. Then the acquisition strategy is to go to Future Project 1 [with production from 2011], which will typically look at near term Command and Control system equipment and items.
“Future Project 2 [with production from 2014] will look at equipment such as integrated helmet systems. The reasons for this phased approach are economic. Based on allocated budget, we will follow a phased approach in term of our Warrior programme.” Further iterations will follow Future Project 2 as and when they are considered necessary.