The Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) is the current body armor provided to U.S. combatants. IBA uses a modular design, enabling periodical enhancements of subsystems and inserts. In the current version IBA consists of the Outer Tactical vest (OTV), made of a combination of cordura, Kevlar or Twaron. Pockets built into the fore and back of the OTV contain ergonomically designed kevlar backed composite ceramic panels (Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) / Enhanced SAPI (ESAPI) and other elements protecting the sides, shoulders and bicep.
Mounting casualties from IEDs required the enhancement of the IBA which in its basic form, provided torso protection from the fragmentary effects of IEDs, leaving the upper arm and underarm areas vulnerable. New components were introduced to cover these areas included the Enhanced Side Ballistic Insert (ESBI) and Deltoid (upper arm) and Axilliary (under arm) Protector (DAP) are used for arms and shoulder protection. DAP is worn under the OTV, protecting the vulnerable armsye (arm hole area). A fully loaded Medium size suite could weigh up to 24 pounds, depending on the configuration. The system is produced in eight OTV sizes and five sizes of front and back, ergonomically designed SAPI/ESAPI ballistic plates.
The basic IBA represents nine pounds weight saving, compared to the previously used Personal Armor System Ground Troops (PAGST)/ Interim Small Arms Protective Overvest (ISAPO) combination. ESAPI represents the latest protection insert available for the IBA, stopping multiple small arms hits. With additional protection for the throat and groin the system provides effective protection to the most critical body mass.
One of the leading producers of IBA components is Armor Holdings. At AUSA 06 the company introduced the LIMBS system, Lightweight Integrated Mobility Body Armor System. LIMBS provides enhanced protection to the shoulders, Bicep and Thigh while offering 25% less weight compared to existing systems. Its ergonomical design improves mobility, comfort and performance. The suite combines a shoulder-Bicep system.
In this series Defense Update covers the following topics:
- Body Armor Suites
- Ergonomic Body Armor Designs
- Ballistic Helmets
- Physiological and Physical Challenge of Body Armor
- Eyewear Protection for the Warfighter
- Tactical Benefits of Laser Eye Surgery (LASIK / PRK)
- Cooling with Phase Change Materials (PCM)
- Improving the Combat Survival Rate Among the Wounded
- Load Carrying Systems for the Infantry