10 years ago
In Old and New Body Armor for Marines, I discussed the planned deployment of the new Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) to replace the Interceptor System. Following up on this post, I wrote Snipers and Body Armor, and followed up this post with Snipers Having Tragic Success Against U.S. Troops, in which, using a New York Times article, I showed that snipers in Iraq had adapted and were learning to aim for gaps in SAPI plate coverage in the Interceptor body armor system, and that the new MTV was superior to the Interceptor regarding these gaps in coverage.
While writing and subsequent to these posts, I communicated numerous times with USMC Public Affairs Officers, and they were mostly helpful. For instance, unless it is explained to you in a word-picture, it is difficult to understand how the MTV handles weight distribution better than its predecessors. Backpackers can visualize this easily, but others may not be able to as well. Any back packer who carries a heavy pack, whether internal or external frame, knows that the shoulders cannot withstand all of the weight for very long. The shoulders need a break. The MTV gives them the break they need. The MTV has a design similar to backpacks in which the weight rests on the hips rather than the shoulders, and this may give the Marine the edge he needs to fight more effectively.
The help from the PAOs has withered lately, and hopefully will start up soon as I press the issues I have with body armor. It has been said to me that the MTV was intended to be an improvement over the Interceptor as it regards comfort, but that “Interceptor offers the same level of ballistic protection as the MTV.” This contradicts the Strategy Pages and Stars and Stripes, both of which are linked in my earlier posts. In fact, the MTV apparently offers fully and more integrated protection in the side SAPI plates. Here is a picture of the side SAPI plate.
The Marine Corps Times has a nice 360-degree flash player that shows the body armor and how it fits the Marine. There is also an updated article in the Marine Corps Times that says what I have learned from the PAOs, that the USMC will issue the new MTV in or about February, but that they do not know yet which specific units will have the MTV. For me, this isn’t very satisfying, and I will pursue the matter.
On the issue of snipers which I have covered with a vengeance, the Strategy Page has an interesting update, which doesn’t shed new light beyond what I have already covered, except to say that al Qaeda snipers in Anbar are using children to hunt for snipers, and paying handsome rewards for kids who find U.S. snipers and report back to them.