Faulty New BodyArmour [UK]

British soldiers on operation in Iraq are refusing to wear Army-issued body armour following fears that it increases their chances of being killed by insurgents.

Soldiers serving in Baghdad, the most dangerous part of the country, claim that the new armour, which was rushed into service last year after a surge of bomb attacks, is too restrictive. Troops complain that they cannot load rifles, drive or give first aid when wearing the protective vest.

Details of the concerns emerged in a letter to the magazine Soldier from an anonymous soldier, who was initially serving in Basra but was later posted to Baghdad. He wrote: "Wearing improved coverage body armour (ICBA) in Basra is not a problem as the risk is lower, but in Baghdad agility is necessary for covering arcs, stopping vehicles and so on.

"ICBA restricts movement from turning around to loading a rifle. Three of our companies tried ICBA, realised it was not worth having and didn't use it.

"Things changed when my company took over because the officer commanding and the squadron sergeant major thought it was brilliant. Although platoon commanders and sergeants asked them to reconsider, their decision is final. My life is more at risk wearing it than not."

Another soldier, speaking to the Sunday Telegraph, suggested that the designers could not have properly "battle-tested" the armour before agreeing to its design.

He said: "The body armour may save your life if you are in a blast but it is so restrictive that the chances of being killed are probably greater. You feel like the Michelin Man, unable to move quickly. A lot of guys have reservations about wearing it."

The body armour, pictured, intended to improve protection around the neck, shoulders and arms, was issued to soldiers on "top cover" sentry duty in armoured Land Rovers. Those soldiers have to expose the top half of their bodies through an opening in the roof to observe the local environment.

A spokesman for the Permanent Joint Headquarters in Northwood, Middlesex, which is responsible for the planning of operations in Iraq, responded to the letter by telling Soldier magazine that there were plans to introduce modifications.

Pointing out that one soldier's life had been saved by the equipment, the spokesman wrote: "No practical body armour provides complete protection and yet allows personnel to carry out missions without some inconvenience."

Extract from the Sunday Telegraph
Never had it when i was in the sand pit but everyone i know who has used it is has said its sh#t
and to restrictive even on top cover espeacialy if you have 2 big guy on top cover

looks like it was a panic buy by civi's with no idea of the job involved .
i hear there is a new body armour to come with a full chest plate anyone know any more ?


Book Reviewer
Yep, protection v mobility again. It's meant for Topcover, and designed to save their lives - running around while standing with your head out of a SNATCH is tricky anytime!

Oddly enough, the Aussies have something very similar, so it can't be that daft an idea. The Yanks are also doing the same - for once, we were ahead of the trend.

You would, as Muzzleflash said, certainly be glad f it anywhere near an EFP, that's for sure.
Saw a news thingy on the USMC in falujah and there was a shot of a guy getting helped into what looked like a pair of kevlar shorts? Any one know anything about them? Looked like the big buggers that ice hockey playes have.

we had it on telic 6 and felt it was to restrictive. and the yes the aussies do have a version but its progressive. it had velcro patches on it so you can add and remove parts as u wish from a set vest. ours is ok for standing still on top cover but if anything else happens it is to large. the old vest was good enough just add velcro to it and copy the oz kit.
Saracen said:
i hear there is a new body armour to come with a full chest plate anyone know any more ?
They was a roadshow on Tellic 6 showing kit that was being procurred.

ICBA v1.5 addressed some of the issues raised about v1, and the trial I saw adds straps for fastening PRR, bullets and water onto it. No major redesign, just a bit of Mr Sheen taken to the turd.

The full chest plate stuff goes on over your head and was also being "sold" as a CBA / Body armour replacement. As comfortable and about the same weight as vanilla CBA, but with better protection

New helmets are also on the way - look identical to mk6's but with better protection.

ICBA slagging
Had it issued. Wouldn't wear it unless orders stated I had to. I'd rather take my chances with the old pattern, EFP or no. The only people I knew who wore it out of choice were officers.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
ICBA was and is solely designed for top cover and drivers of large B vehicles. It is NOT designed for any other role due to the reduced mobility and general restrictions of movement.

The replacement for ECBA is Osprey this is similar to ECBA but with full coverage of the front and back with plates ie. bl00dy big.

The introduction of this will see another reworking of skills and drills. The weight and reduction of movement is a trade off against increased protection.

The drive to reduce risk may well cause as many problems as it solved. Commanders are faced with an impossible decision keep the troops light and mobile or face the wrath of the Scum when a squaddie Cops it.

They are loathed to trade off protection with a perceived reduction in risk. The evidence of lives being saved is evident, but lives saved by increased movement are not visible.

There have been a number of high powered studies into this by DEC GM (and others) and the increased weight and restricted movement is what they are buying into and dismounted tactics will have to evolve to suit.

Like it or not we live in a world that is fearful of litigation and operational and training will change to reflect this fact.

ut proeliator suus crustulum
muzzleflash said:
Trust me mucker - I don't think you'd feel the body armour was s*** if your on the recieving end of an EFP (explosively formed projectile)
Unfortunately the new ICBA is only designed to protect you from fragments - it won't do jack sh1t to an EFP, unless the slug's velocity had already been considerably reduced by going through a load of proper armour before it got to the ICBA. The extra protection afforded by the ICBA should reduce casualties, but at the very real expense of mobility and dare I say it, ability to get a rifle into the shoulder.

Even more unfortunate than the fact that it won't stop an EFP (not that it was ever designed to), is the fact that at the Defence Academy in Nov/Dec last year everyone on ICSC(L) 2 conducted a series of so-called representative tests with the new ICBA to determine the effect on mobility that it had. Funnily enough adopting a fire position with a rifle or getting in and out of the back of a snatch did not form part of the tests. What total bollocks.


War Hero
Book Reviewer
The adoption of a firing position within its designed role i.e. snatch B vehicle top cover is not the problem. It’s when ICBA is used in the dismounted role were the restriction becomes problematic.
Mouse, the key here mate is to employ tactics (not for discussion on this board) that reduce the threat from EFP attack.

As for the ICBA providing jack shit protection from an EFP, your absolutely correct and there's no disputing that fact, however, some of the comments raised so far have come from individuals who've obviously never been on the receiving end. If your unfortunate enough to be hit by an EFP you ARE going to take casualties, live with it, however the survivalbilty rate of the remaining crew (from the effects of blast fragementation) is greatly reduced. There really isn't much time to worry about fire positions!

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