SOF Week


PEO-Soldier announced earlier this week that it had begun fielding the Gen II Improved Outer Tactical Vest (IOTV) in the Operation Enduring Freedom Camouflage Pattern (OCP). The pictures associated with the article are awesome and give you a great look at the new pattern. The photo below also shows a mounted TAP.

There are 17 improvements in the Gen II IOTV. Ultimately, the biggest improvement is probably the new sideplate pocket that is adjustable to the wearer. Many Soldiers found wearing sideplates almost unbearable. While the Army’s copy makes it sound like this is a whole new vest that is modular and scalable, ultimately, nothing is really that new. This is the same IOTV they have been issuing since earlier this year but what is important is that Soldiers deploying to OEF will be getting the latest in everything.

Having said that, it’s still an IOTV. Is it effective? Yes. Does it hinder mobility? Sometimes, like say if you are walking or climbing. Is it scalable? Sort of. If the IOTV were truly “all that”, the Army wouldn’t have fielded the Soldier Plate Carrier System and there would be no reason to undertake Soldier Protection Demonstration (SPD) 8 which is currently assessing Scalable, Modular armor vests from four different vendors including BAE, Point Blank, Armor Works, and PPI. These vests allow a Soldier to go from a concealable set up all the way out to full IOTV protection with all of the add-ons. The catch is that it has to be accomplished with one set up and must shave at least 10% off the weight of a fully jocked up IOTV.

Unfortunately, PEO-Soldier is staying mum on the subject of SPD 8 so we will wait to reveal more until they are ready.

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