The average generation II improved outer tactical vest weighs about 26 pounds. But the new torso and extremity protection system, or TEP, under development now at Program Executive Office Soldier, sheds about five pounds of weight and also adds a wide degree of scalability that commanders can make use of depending on threat level and mission.
The TEP is part of the new Soldier Protection System under development now at PEO Soldier. The SPS includes both the TEP and the integrated head protection system.
The TEP can replace the IOTV, at less weight and greater scalability, depending on the mission. It includes the modular scalable vest, the ballistic combat shirt, the blast pelvic protection system, and a battle belt, which is aimed at getting weight off a Soldier's shoulders and onto the hips.
With the TEP, commanders can require Soldiers to go with full protection -- which provides the same level of protection as a fully-loaded IOTV -- or go all the way down to wearing soft armor under their uniforms for missions that require less protection.
"It's about giving commanders on the battlefield the ability to use the modularity capability of the equipment to fit their particular mission profile or protective posture level," said Lt. Col. Kathy Brown, the product manager for Personal Protective Equipment at PEO Soldier, Fort Belvoir, Virginia.