As early as spring, Marines will be dawning the next generation of improved body armor designed to be more comfortable and adjustable than current models.

The designs are similar to those of existing vests, but have been refined, said 2nd Lt. Jamie Larson, a spokeswoman for Marine Corps Systems Command, out of Quantico, Va.

The development of the IMTV dates back to at least 2008, when troops in Iraq and Afghanistan complained of the discomfort of the MTV, which can add up to 30 pounds when filled with armor plates.

The neck hole on the new IMTV is about a half-inch larger than the current version’s, a move that compromises protection but allows a Marine to turn his head more quickly. The IMTV also will give Marines the ability to adjust how their side small-arms protective inserts hang to reduce interference with arm movement. Binding in the armpit and an improved cummerbund are designed to reduce chafing and improve distribution of weight, officials said.

The IMTV also has redesigned shoulders, with a cut similar to the Outer Tactical Vest worn prior to the MTV’s fielding in 2006. Like the IMTV’s neck, the cut of the vest’s shoulders offers slightly less coverage than the MTV’s, but addresses Marines’ requests for more arm and shoulder mobility and allows Marines to better shoulder their rifles.

The new plate carriers also have been designed with a more comfortable cummerbund that includes the same quick-release system incorporated on the IMTV, allowing the vest to be discarded quickly in the event of an emergency. Shoulder buckles were moved to the front of the vest, making them easier to adjust. It also has improved shoulder padding.

Source: Dan Lamothe for Marine Corps Times.

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