Defective body armor may as well be ‘used as fire fuel,’ says British soldier

British soldiers © Reuters
British soldiers are raising concerns about their new Israeli-made, Army-issue body armor – with one troop suggesting parts of the latest load-carrying system may as well be “used as fire fuel.”

The criticism focuses on parts of an integrated new armor system called Virtus, which is being brought into service to replace the heavier Afghanistan-era Osprey armor.

The BBC reported Thursday that soldiers are complaining some of the pouches and straps used to store and attach equipment are “snapping.

Another soldier, who the BBC did not identify, reportedly said on social media the system’s daysack and bergen – a small and large backpack – may as well be “used as fire fuel.

So far the military has issued 9,000 units of Virtus to key combat units including the Parachute Regiment and Royal Marines.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) told the BBC it is working with the supplier to fix the issues.

The Osprey’s weight and size led the Taliban to brand UK soldiers “tortoises” or “camels.” The new system is said to be 10lbs lighter – a major reduction considering the Afghan-era squaddie had to carry up to 50lbs.

However, the father of one soldier told the BBC he is “appalled” the new kit appeared to be “substandard.

His son and his fellow soldiers still found it hard to get back up again if they were forced to go to ground in the face of the enemy, he said.

The MoD defended the new equipment, but admitted there are teething problems.

As with every new system there have been some issues during the initial roll out, and, as a result of constructive feedback from our troops, we are working with our supplier to make improvements.

The Israeli firm which made the gear is obliged to fix any issues under the terms of the £14 million (about US$20 million) contract.