Army and Air Force researchers are continuing to work on how better to fit female Soldiers with more comfortable form-fitting body-armor plates.
The Army is studying unisex armor plate designs, while the Air Force is investigating female-specific geometries. Teams from both services are using male and female torso curves from 3-D surface scans for front/back and side plate shape concepts.
Originally introduced with Interceptor body armor, the current front/back ballistic plate shape known as the enhanced small arms protective insert or ESAPI, was designed for male Soldiers. Those designs have been maintained during the evolution of body armor and the deployment of the improved outer tactical vest.
“By all measures, the body armor system has been very effective in protecting Soldiers,” said Lt. Col. Jon Rickey, product manager for Soldier protective equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier. “However, comments from the field indicate some female Soldiers are not being fit well with the current ballistic plate shape.”