Aussies preparing to deploy to Afghanistan are now being issued a pelvic protection system (read, bomb-resistant skivvies). (Warning: if you read the comments under the original Australian article, you'll find the Aussies commenting there run the same strange gamut of fiercely patriotic to pro-troop-but-anti-war to just plain monumentally stupid you find in US citizenry.)
Based on the ballistic protective underwear currently worn by Brit soldiers, it is part of the package developed by Australia’s Diggerworks and is expected to be issued by early- to mid-October and should worn by Australian troops by November. They are also currently working on a soft armor ballistic groin piece to be worn over the Diggers’ combat uniforms (who as Kit Up! has reported are now wearing multicam) for increased protection against larger pieces of shrapnel. The new ballistic silk undies cost $55 each and are part of a $5 million dollar overhaul for deploying Aussie troops.
Diggerworks is also the organization responsible for the Tiered Body Armor System, which came out back in January of this year and is now by Aussies working outside the wire in Afghanistan (such as those deployed as Mentoring Task Force Three). Think along the lines of Gruntworks; it’s a “specialist team” of combat soldiers, scientists and engineers tasked with developing and delivering new equipment to Diggers in Afghanistan. This is a Good Thing, as we have a great liking for Aussies (except for the ones we made the mistake of drinking with when we were down there).
TBAS is said to be lighter, more comfortable and better designed for soldiers to move into shooting positions than the “Modular Combat Body Armor System” that preceded it. The unit we trained with down under had not yet received their TBAS when we were there, but e-mail conversations since seem to indicate they like it. We'll soon see how they enjoy their new underwear (that does not mean we're asking for pictures, fellas).
Oh, and if you're interested, watch A Careful War. It's about Diggers in Afghanistan last year. Sometimes folks need reminded we're getting real fighting help from parts of the Coalition, from guys who pay for it the same way our personnel do, and from that perspective we encourage you to pass it on (especially to those folks who remain at the mall, while the rest of us are at war).