Is Osprey Too Much Protection?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Equipment & Rations' started by Boris3098, Sep 21, 2010.

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  1. I was going to put this in my daysack thread but I think it's deserving of it's own discussion. The USMC has issued a lighter weight Plate Carrier for operations in Afghanistan
    essentially front and rear SAPI plates with a level III Cummerbund with the option of side plates.
    Here's a link describing in greater detail:

    Essentially giving the same hard (Rifle) protection with less soft coverage giving greater mobility and cooler protection than a full armour set such as Osprey.

    I noticed that the USMC were wearing them in Sangin yesterday. I remember that for some operations Stuart Tootal allowed his Paratroopers to operate without armour.
    Biiig decision time folks.
    Views? **
  2. jim24

    jim24 Book Reviewer

    IMHO a Chally2 does not give enough protection when some cnuts shooting at you
    • Like Like x 1
  3. What does Osprey have that a plate carrier doesn't? Answer - soft armour protection.

    What does soft armour protect against? Answer - blast and frag

    What's the main threat in theatre?

    Draw your own conclusions!
  4. MrBane

    MrBane LE Moderator Reviewer Reviews Editor

  5. I remember the USMC were complaining about armour weight and design for longer mountain patrols, one of the reasons for the Eagle Plate Carrier.
    Here's some more quotes, from the daysack thread. Many thanks to the posters!

    *Originally Posted by Closet_Jibber*
    So they're now having to adapt the design of Daysacks because Boddy armour is far too bulky for its purpose. First was webbing, then helmets, next will be bergans. Re inventing the wheel time and time again to get around the fact that the body armour is unfit for purpose.

    Now I am interested:*

    1. What is the purpose of the body armour, in your opinion (no more than 10 words please), and

    2. In what way is it unfit ? (again no moe than 10 words per reason)

    I'm not being pedantic, it is just that 20 yrs ago, I was very angry about INIBA, which weighed a ton, had the ergonomics of a cast-iron pot-belly stove, and (were it not for orders from above) I would have ditched it faster than I would have humped Linda Lusardi - but the IED threat we faced, even in S Armagh, was peanuts compared to AFG.

    No good you bleating without you explaining.

    What does the current armour NOT do, that it should?

    No more than 10 words my arrse. Its purpose is not just to reduce the impact of bullets and bits of bomb.

    It should and generally is to allow the wearer an increased level of protection against a threat whilst not massively decreasing his range of movement, and massively increasing fatigue.

    I've bleated many times on ARRSE that the body armour is too heavy and too bulky for infanteers. I've seen lads refusing to adopt the prone position because they struggle to get back up. I've seen fit lads who can't run more than half a mile in the Osprey kit. Wear your Osprey and try and complete any assault course un-aided (We did this and the results were dire.)

    As such we have lads moving slower, less able to do their job (Which is already physically demanding) and making themselves slow moving bulky targets who still despite the adapted kit can't properly get the weapon in the shoulder or comfortably get in the prone.

    If its just about stopping bullets why aren't we wearing leg armour?
  6. Just out of interest, since I've brought up Plate Carrier vs Body Armour.
    Has anyone got (m)any anecdotes of instances when the soft armour has saved your bacon?
  7. MrBane

    MrBane LE Moderator Reviewer Reviews Editor

    The main reason we have Osprey, is it's to try and stop people dying. That's the brunt of it. It a nutshell.

    So what we need, is a comparison chart showing those that have been killed whilst wearing Opsrey, and how they were killed, and those that were inured but not killed whilst wearing Opsrey, and where they were hit.

    Every man jack that was injured or killed out us when we were there, would have been injured or killed with or without Opsrey, apart from one possible exception, where it may have lead to death if he wasn't wearing armour.

    So is it actually saving people? We need to find out how many people have been hit in their armour and survived thanks to the plates being there. That's the facts we need.

    However, there is the deception factor too. If you're seen running around without armour and helmet, you'll become target number one. So why not create a 'False Osprey'? It looks like Osprey, so does the helmet, but they're made of something stupidly light, which has no protective features.
    That would be the option if you wanted your guys to ditch the armour. They still need to look like they're wearing something or they'll think he's an easy target.

    It's another topic that was beaten to death whilst we were there, and no satisfying answers were reached. Or at least, none that would satisfy a grieving family or politician.
  8. daywalker

    daywalker LE Reviewer

    The use of body armour on ops should be down to the local commanders discretion, now im not saying that body armour should be binned altogether however there are times where ops dependent we should increase or decrease the amount of body armour worn.
  9. What he said above.
  10. We know the plates work against direct fire. I'm more interested on how many people owe their health and good looks to the soft armour.
    The USMC must have thought it was worthwhile.
    Don't forget we had the Blackhawk plate carrier for a while. With a couple of additions that would have been a very good bit of kit.
  11. This sort of analysis is being constantly done by DSTL: the body armour and helmet of every fatality and most injuries are examined by DSTL to determine wound patterns, trends, weaknesses etc. Obviously this is NOT a topic for open discussion but rest assured - the balance of effectiveness vs risk and load is under constant review. The soft armour does a lot more than stop frag; it also significantly attenuates blast as well and, along with the amazing medical care from point of wounding backwards, is why we have some many guys surviving with injuries that would have meant they'd be dead a few years ago.

    You are absolutely right when you say it is an argument that will never go away - its very subjective and obviously depends upon role and task. There will always be occasions that prove the case one way or the other.

    Boris's last point about the USMC is an interesting one. I was briefed by the USMC Programme Manager for their Plate Carrier. Their decision process was (and no word of a lie here):

    "Oh look, Prince Harry's getting off the plane back from Afghanistan"
    "Hey, what's that body armour he's wearing? Wow, that looks cool!"

    Ok - I paraphrase but in all seriousness, it was seeing HRH getting off the plane with the Blackhawk Plate Carrier over his shoulder that made them buy their own. Scientific development? My ARRSE!

    When they were then briefed on the statistics of injury from blast/frag vs GSW there was a very VERY big gulp when they realised what they were risking. I very strongly suspect we won't be seeing many of them cutting around Sangin wearing it - not for long anyway.

    The Blackhawk carrier was issued for the RC South Battlegroup - who were the Reserve BG that were being tasked into all sorts of environments - not just Helmand - where the IED threat was low. Since that role has been withdrawn then so has the requirement.
  12. daywalker

    daywalker LE Reviewer

    But what about the number of people who have had their faces taken off by osprey plates whilst caught in IED blasts....

    Does anyone know how often the plates in theatre get tested for fractures?
  13. Scary, but in an awesome way. (If that's possible...)
  14. Good discussion, but don't forget there is a plenty of other mandatory FP equipment that adds considerably to a dismounted soldier's load in HERRICK.

    If we replaced Bowman with Cougar or Harris and had commander's discretion on carrying the other kit, a soldier even in osprey and first line scales would be considerably more agile than he is at the moment.
  15. *
    And I thought they were switched on.