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New helmets and armour for troops in Afghanistan

Category: Defence Industry

A Royal Marines Commando shows off the enhanced Mark 7 helmet and Osprey Assault body armour at DVD 2009

New and improved helmets and body armour which will provide better personal protection and comfort will be making their way to British troops in Afghanistan this autumn.

The enhanced Mark 7 helmet and Osprey Assault body armour, which will provide excellent ballistic protection and an improved fit for personnel to ensure free movement, were unveiled at the Defence Vehicle Dynamics (DVD) equipment show this week.

The MOD has ordered over 10,000 sets of the new helmets and armour under initial contracts worth £16m, with companies including NP Aerospace, Morgan Armour Ltd, Aegis Engineering Ltd, Seyntex and Solo International Ltd.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Quentin Davies, said:

"The Osprey body armour that we issue to all troops on operations provides excellent personal protection, as recent stories of troops surviving due to their armour show.

"However, we can never be complacent, and the new Osprey Assault body armour and Mark 7 helmet offer an improvement in the way that these items fit and feel. The contracts that I am announcing today for this new personal protection system demonstrate that we're listening to what our troops need by continuously upgrading their equipment."

The updated helmet has the same protection as the current Mark 6A, but will improve the effectiveness of the soldier.

It is equipped with a new harness keeping the helmet more stable on the head when night-vision equipment is fitted to it and is also better integrated with new weapon sights, making it easier to use weapons in a variety of fighting positions.

The new Osprey Assault body armour has all the stopping power of the current Osprey but is closer fitting, less bulky and easier to move in.

Chief of Defence Materiel, General Sir Kevin O'Donoghue, who unveiled the new kit at MOD's DVD equipment show, said:

"Osprey is a proven world-class system and is undoubtedly a success story in terms of providing better protection to our troops. It is specifically developed to meet our requirements using cutting-edge materials and manufacturing technology.

"Osprey Assault is a development of this success that allows us to ensure our troops are getting the best kit for the job they are doing. Specifically the troops will be issued with a new ballistic plate that is much thinner, considerably reducing their bulk and burden and improving their endurance.

"There will also be a new body armour cover to hold this plate and the soft fragmentation armour. This has been designed for an improved fit, based on user feedback, and includes a new system for carrying ammunition, first aid equipment and other vital kit."

The DVD event is an equipment showcase organised by Defence Equipment and Support, which highlights the importance of diverse areas such as fuel delivery, clothing, food and vehicles that have been bought or upgraded under the Urgent Operational Requirements programme.

U.K. MoD

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