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Air Force begins production of new, better-fitting female body armor

Participants of the Female Flight Equipment Workshop discuss the advantages and disadvantages of multiple piece of body armor at AFWERX Vegas, Las Vegas, January 30, 2019. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Bailee A. Darbasie)

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) — based at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base — has awarded a contract to begin production and development for body armor designed to better protect female airmen in combat.

The center’s Female Fitment Program Office awarded the contract, and the office partnered with the Air Force Security Forces Center in San Antonio, Texas to find a “sufficient armored plate carrier system that addresses appropriate form, fit and function while providing adequate protection for female airmen,” the Air Force said Thursday.

“This is a perfect example of Air Force Materiel Command (AFMC) getting feedback from the field and delivering,” said Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr., commander of AFMC, also based at Wright-Patterson. “I’m proud of the team pulling together to do what is right for our airmen.”

AFLCMC’s Human Systems Division is the lead organization to assess, evaluate and acquire new body armor for security forces defenders and other female airmen whose jobs require them to operate in dangerous environments, the Air Force said.

“The new body armor will be specifically fitted to the female body preventing exposure to risks,” the Air Force said.

Female airmen had “gaps due to poor fitment issues,” Maj. Saily Rodriguez, female fitment program manager, said in a release. “The new gear fits properly which improves protection and offers better comfort for gear that has to be worn in difficult environments and conditions.”

The contract was awarded to TSSi of Harrisonburg, Va.

“The feedback during our field assessment was overwhelmingly positive. This is something our airmen want because it offers a great benefit to their health and safety,” Rodriguez said.

The first product deliveries are expected this fall.


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