Army Holds Up Lighter Armor for Soldiers in Afghanistan

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2009 1:49 PM CDT
US soldiers patrol north of Kabul, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – In a sign of the Army’s careful—some say plodding—procurement process, $3 million in lightweight body armor destined for Afghanistan is still stateside pending a widened assessment, the New York Times reports. The armor would shave 20 pounds off the punishing load—up to 130 pounds—some soldiers carry on overnight patrols. The Army wants to continue testing on the vests, which could be issued service-wide.

A team sent to Afghanistan in March, to test the gear on a battalion operating in a remote valley, was soon called back. Though Special Operations have already adopted the lighter vest, some caution that the reduced coverage is not beneficial to less elite troops. Advocates say the lighter equipment could always be supplanted by the older armor, which will remain in-country.