The Navy is in the process of purchasing a new armored vest for aircrews that modernizes the older, more restrictive PRU-60 aircrew armor.
According to Naval Air Systems Command officials, the service is scheduled to purchase 1400 of the new PRU-70 armored survival vests designed in house by Navair's Human Systems Division starting in January. The vests will be manufactured by Peckham Vocational Industries in Michigan and will be fielded to Navy and Marine aircrew (not pilots) in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The PRU-70 is an entirely new concept in this product line that merges both the aircrew survival vest and the latest in body armor," said Dick ORourke, the Fleet Support Team Lead for Aircrew Survival Vests and Body Armor. "The new system was developed to fit the entire range of body types represented by the men and women in todays aircrew population. The PRU-70 is also designed to reduce the bulk, weight and heat stressors commonly encountered by helicopter aircrews flying six or more hours on combat missions. As an example, the extra large sized vest, with full soft and hard armor, weights about 22 pounds, which is less than the current vests."
"...the PRU-70 is also constructed from a cutting edge material called Halo-Tech. Halo-Tech is as fire retardant as the Nomex material used for flight suits and yet is far more durable," added ORourke. "The PRU-70 will also be the first of the survival clothing items produced in the new Coyote Brown camouflage color. The Coyote Brown color was developed to blend into the environment of 70 percent of the worlds land masses."
A Navair spokesman said the vest is designed to be compatible with all the survival gear needed by an aircrew in combat and will be fielded to deployed units for use in theater and will not be general issue to squadrons outside the AOR.