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Armor Works' Answer to the Scalable Vest Quest

Kit Up! readers will remember that we reported on a pretty cool armor system being developed by BAE Systems for the Army's look at scalable armor systems that can go from a concealable vest for MPs to a plate carrier for door kickers all the way up to a full-on IOTV for MRAP gunners.

We had a great chat with Jason Beck, the president and founder of TYR Tactical, a subsidiary of Armor Works which offers some very cool tactical products in the pouch/armor/pack arena. He explained to us his prototype of the Modular Scalable Tailorable armor system at the annual AUSA conference, and I gotta admit, his company has taken a unique approach to the problem.

Where BAE's Soldier Scalable Protection System does a good job of providing a wide range of body armor configurations in one system in a layered approach, the TYR Tactical vest instead focuses on construction, movement and ergonomics. Beck told us he developed the geometry of the vest in close collaboration with Army combatives instructors and Marine Corps Martial Arts Program experts, having Soldiers and Marines spar with prototypes on to see where they can shape corners and close gaps.

For example, Beck showed us how the vest is constructed in such a way to allow freedom of movement by allowing gaps near the arms, but when the trooper holds a weapon in a shooting position, those gaps close and the coverage increases in the heat of battle. Beck also mentioned a new fabric his company has developed to cut weight in the vest by 23 percent.

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While the Army is tepid on the scalable armor effort (we think it's simply a lack of congressional interest and therefore, money) it's good to see that the service is pushing industry to develop more comfortable, adaptable and innovative armor concepts that lighten the load and make the trooper more maneuverable.

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