Air Force to introduce new body armor carrier system for aircrew > Air Force Life Cycle Management Center > View Article

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio – U.S. Air Force aircrews operating 20 different rotor, tilt-wing and fixed-wing aircraft, including the CV-22, HH-60, C-130 and C-17, will receive the new body armor carrier system as part of an effort to update and replace older models.

“We are replacing approximately 7,300 of our current, outdated ballistic vest delivery systems and parts because their weight and specialized design compromise mission capability,” said 1st Lt. Diego Martinez, aviation ballistic vest program manager for the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Human Systems Directorate. “This effort is critical because aircrew members often operate in dangerous environments and having the proper ballistic vests on board or in the aircraft could save lives.”

The body armor carrier is unique and designed specifically for air crew members.

“Aircrew members have a very different mission compared to other Air Force occupational fields that require bulletproof vests,” Martinez added. “For example, the aircrew body armor delivery system is [aircrew] It needs to be removed for medical reasons.”

One advantage of the new carrier system is that it will be lighter than previous systems.

“In the past, weight wasn’t considered as much of an issue because bulletproof vests were originally thought of as heavy,” Martinez said, “but nowadays there’s been a lot of effort by manufacturers to develop different types of materials and different designs, especially to reduce weight.”

So far, the department has identified two candidates for replacement systems for aircrew members: the Aviation Ballistic Vest (ABAV) and Army Aircrew Combat Equipment (ACE).

Testing to assess the operational use and safety of the two systems is expected to begin in October 2023 and conclude by summer 2024. Selected systems will be deployed to individual units between summer 2024 and summer 2025.


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