Body armor wasn’t originally made for women. That’s the short and long of it (ah…measurement puns). But, before we start getting all up in arms (ha!) about this, think about the reason for that. Initially women didn’t serve in a military capacity that required them to wear body armor, but now all that’s changed.
Now that women are actively engaged in combat zones within their military roles (and have been for a while), the need to have correctly fitting and appropriate protection is a necessity. This isn’t a one-shield-fits-all thing. Well, not anymore. Female soldiers will soon see a big advancement in their protective equipment.
PEO Soldier‘s LTC Frank Lozano says that the new emphasis is on form, fit and function.
Here are some of the new improvements to the body armor for women:
• The old body armor had pretty wide shoulders to accommodate males. The new female body armor has narrower shoulders. This will make things more adjustable and conforming to the female figure.
• The new cut and sew patterns are allowing for a new form and fit. “The top area is more representative of what a female would normally wear in a blouse or a top”, says LTC Lozano. (Admittedly my first thought here was under wire? But I think he means less, well, flat)
• The waist is slightly more narrow than the standard male body armor. They adjusted it so female shoulders could fit more effectively, which will allow them to seat their weapons properly and fire it effectively.
• The length of the female body armor has been adjusted. Torso lengths for females vary (which is shocking, I know). “We’ve adjusted that length accordingly so it results in a better fit”, says LTC Lozano. “This is so that the body armor would more adequately fit the female torso.”
Although they have shortened the length, Lozano says they have not reduced the length of coverage. “The female vest is just as vital and critical and as protective as the male vest, it’s just more fitted adequately for the female form,” LTC Lozano says.
A limited number of this new armor will be fielded this fall, with full fielding expected next summer. Asian Defence News