SureFire

PEO Soldier Tests Modular Scalable Vest at Fort Carson

FORT CARSON, Colo – Soldiers with the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company participated in the final round of field-testing for the Army’s new body armor, the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV), during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks conducted here Oct. 16-20.


SPC Hannah Carver-Frey, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist with 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company, participates in the final round of field-testing for the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army Photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

According to the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center’s website, the MSV is part of the Soldier Protection System (SPS) and is the Army’s next generation Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) system. The SPS is a modular, scalable, tailorable system designed to defeat current threats at a reduced weight in comparison to the Army’s existing PPE.


Damon Brant, a new equipment trainer from Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment at Prince George, VA, ensures the proper wear and use of a new body armor system by SPC Creed Cooney, an explosive ordnance disposal technician with 62nd Ordnance Company, during a weeklong field-test of the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Following the field-test, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

Stephen McNair, test manager for Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment (PM SPIE), a division of Program Executive Officer Soldier (PEO Soldier) at Fort Belvoir, was on-site to observe as Soldiers conducted an obstacle course, weapons training, don and doffing procedures, tactical vehicle access capabilities, and a ruck march.


Soldiers with in the 71st Ordnance Group (Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company participate in the final round of field-testing for the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

“We have been working on this vest for the past five years and have since have gone through four versions of the vest and an additional two versions of the Soldier plate carrier system,” said McNair.

McNair said once the evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year.


1LT Dawn Ward, a platoon leader with 663rd Ordnance Company and evaluation officer in charge, participates in the final round of field-testing for the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) during a weeklong series of evaluated tasks at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

Debuting in 2008, the Improved Outer Tactical Vest’s modular design was carried over and improved upon for the MSV. Most of the pouch attachment ladder system (PALS) have been replaced with a rubber-like material with laser-cut slots. The improvement still allows Soldiers to affix mission essential gear to the vest, while reducing overall weight.

The MSV weighs approximately 11-pounds, based on a medium size vest without ballistic plates. Fully configured, the MSV weighs approximately 25-pounds, which is five pounds lighter than the IOTV.


Michael Spencer, a new equipment trainer from Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment at Fort Bragg, NC, demonstrates how the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) can be separated into different configurations, during the final round of field-testing of the vest at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG. Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

McNair said the big push to design a new body armor was based on “cutting down on the weight of a Soldier’s load.”

Many of the testers said the MSV was noticeably lighter than their current body armor.

“Compared to my IOTV, this vest is lighter and cooler, has a greater range of motion, and a better fit,” said 1st Lt. Dawn Ward, a platoon leader with 663rd Ordnance Company and officer in charge during the evaluation.

“It is a huge improvement over previous body armors,” Ward said.


Michael Spencer, a new equipment trainer from Project Manager Soldier Protection Individual Equipment at Fort Bragg, NC, demonstrates how to transfer ballistic plates from the Modular Scalable Vest (MSV) to a plate carrier configuration enclosed within the MSV, during the final round of field-testing of the vest at Fort Carson, CO, Oct. 18, 2017. Once this evaluation is complete, the vest will go into production and is expected to reach Soldiers in the field by summer of next year. (US Army photo by SSG Lance Pounds, 71st Ordnance Group (EOD), Public Affairs)

In addition to saving weight, the MSV is scalable, which was made possible by a four-tier configuration. The tier system will allow the wearer to tailor the vest to better fit mission requirements.

The first tier enables the wearer to pull out the inside soft armor to be used as concealable body armor. The second tier is the soft armor with plates. The third tier is the vest with ballistic plates and soft armor.

The final tier is the addition of a ballistic combat shirt that has built -in neck, shoulder and pelvic protection and a belt system designed to relocate much of what Soldiers affix to their vest to their hips.


(Graphic credit: PEO Soldier)

Spc. Isaac Bocanegra, an EOD technician with 764th OD CO, said he prefers the MSV’s ballistic combat shirt over the IOTV’s yoke and collar set up because it gives him more range of motion.

“I currently wear the IOTV about twice each day and it is quite a bit heavier than this body armor,” said Bocanegra. “Having this new body armor would make my job so much easier,” he added.

McNair said the premise of the tier system is to evenly distribute the system’s weight and reduces stress on a Soldier’s upper body.

“It will be up to unit leadership to determine the level of protection required for wear,” said McNair.

The MSV retained the quick-release feature first used in the IOTV to allow for easy removal in emergency situations, but with a simpler and interchangeable design. Instead of a single pull-tab, the MSV has a buckle system that can be used in one of three ways; left shoulder, right shoulder, or both depending on the wearer’s preference.

Extended sizing options allow the MSV to be tailorable and more accommodating to most Soldier body types.

“The extended range allows Soldiers to be more comfortable while performing tasks with greater ease,” said McNair.

“I have an extra-small because it positions the plates where I need them to be and it has a tighter fit for me,” said Spc. Hannah Carver-Frey, a chemical, biological, radiological, nuclear specialist with 10th Chemical Hazardous Response Company.

In addition to developing the lighter weight body armor, McNair said that developers at PEO Soldier are also working on an improved protective helmet system. It too, will be lighter than current protective helmets and capable of stopping certain 7.62 rounds.

For more information about the MSV body armor, visit the U.S. Army Acquisition Support Center’s website at asc.army.mil/web/portfolio-item/soldier-protection-system-sps

For more information about the future of Soldier protective equipment, visit the PEO Soldier’s website at www.peosoldier.army.mil.

This article was written by SSG Lance Pounds and shared via the Army News Service.

45 Responses to “PEO Soldier Tests Modular Scalable Vest at Fort Carson”

  1. Dev says:

    Interesting. Manages to retain that level of scalability but without the expense of a quick release.

    • james says:

      National molding’s Quad release is still integrated into the design but you have the option of not running both shoulders

  2. Alex says:

    Interesting to see that the plate are top loaded.

    Also reminds me of the scalable design of the Crye LVS from covert to tactical.

    • SG says:

      With Hitcoat sleeves and a Blast Belt… Yep! Although they don’t have ballistic funderwear to the best of my knowledge.

      I bet there’s a bleeding edge lightweight, minimalist ballistic boxers somewhere in the Brooklyn Naval Yard, waiting for a hideously expensive sole source order for NSW…

  3. Eddie says:

    If they go with it, don’t expect it to be laser cut.

  4. Mike says:

    What’s the point, as soon as this becomes unit wide issue, Some CSM or BC will dictate that every accessory it comes with will be worn at all times in addition to a standard SOP on where those items will be placed to ensure uniformity amongst his ranks. I am glad to see it has only taken them Five years to come up with this version of the vest. I cannot even begin to remember the amount of vests better and using the same tech I have seen on SSD in the past Five years alone. holy hell

  5. Jon C says:

    I love the guy with Ops Core FAST helmet rails bolted to his ACH

    • pbr549 says:

      CIF isn’t gonna love it LOL.

    • straps says:

      Yeah that dude is jacked up 6 ways from Sunday.

      I think he’s rocking a bunch of 1.5″ pads–or maybe he’s kicking it old school and he’s got his patrol cap bunched up in there. I wonder if he can see straight through the headache he’s giving himself.

      Topping it all of is the cam lock harness.

      He’s got literally improvement going on, and implemented improperly…

  6. No Fun Zone says:

    This is going to sound somewhat dickish, but why are they taking this to a POG unit to “evaluate” for them? The comments speak for themselves. One Soldier mentions it’s significantly lighter than his IOTV. Comparing this design to a CIF issue IOTV G1 or G2 is no comparison at all. They should compare it against the IOTV G.4 or the SPCS which are actually decent designs. I feel like they’re well beyond soliciting user feedback because one of the most criticized features of the IOTV G.4 are the shoulder buckles–but that’s only a problem if you’re Infantry because we carry rucksacks. It seems like the Army has some good things going (lasercut molle) but that they’ve regressed in other areas like moving buckles back beneath the front flap, which is a poor design choice. I’d just really like the Army to get this right for once so Soldiers will stop buying aftermarket carriers with no ballistic rating.

    • Che Guevara's Open Chest Wound says:

      My guess would be that they used Chemical units & EOD units because they have both men and women, allowing them to test the body armor on the widest array of body types they can reasonably find.

    • El Guapo says:

      I had the same thought- why they’re testing this with POGs and not Infantry units? Yes they may have a larger cross section of body types and females but they don’t have the experience nor tasks that trigger pullers do. It always seems the Army designs it’s kit around POGs and the Marines design theirs around Grunts.

      • GD442 says:

        I agree.

      • straps says:

        Combat arms testing of equipment isn’t commemorated by PIOs precisely because feedback from the combat arms community is so valuable. Data collectors want objective feedback and they make an effort to get one-on-one and collectively provided data–objective as possible. If that Alpha grunt with a lot of informal authority sees a PIO type and decides to grandstand, data loses literally all its value.

        Also, PIOs have literally given up seeking printable quotes from enlisted grunts…

    • Yawnz says:

      I imagine it’s because mud crunchers aren’t the only ones that risk getting shot. Islamists don’t give a shit if you’re not infantry, so the Army is going to field the broadest brush it can find and you’ll just have to suck it up and deal.

      • d says:

        Standard POG response.

        • Jon says:

          Well, since being EOD I had guys and gals supporting SOF missions, Department of state missions, VIP Support, and Local area support and general deployments. I’d say there is a reason to have them check out the gear. Pretty sure the armor will be checked by infantry dudes too, but like others have said, they have to field the entire army- which includes both male and females. Body armor comes in handy for multiple things, not just direct conflict. UXO and Stateside IED missions kinda need body armor too.

          • SSD says:

            So what you’re saying is that they’re basically SOF?

            • Jon says:

              No- not just that- hell no! We aren’t, but we do have individual deployers sent to support SOF and we have at times companies aligned with SF groups…but we are not SOF.

              What I’m getting at is the old “why are non infantry types testing gear” isn’t necessarily the best method to check gear. It should be checked by infantry and all sorts of units that will have to use it. Also the fact that some wear body armor not just in a deployed situation but also in stateside response and general day to day range work (clearing UXO, domestic response, etc).

              But no SSD- Army EOD is not SOF.

              • SSD says:

                I was just picking on you. I agree that others should try equipment as well.

                • Jon says:

                  Figured as much as I’ve been following SSD for a while now. We aren’t SOF like a lot try to be (especially other branches) but we do have a bigger role with SOF now given the unique trends with IEDS. Both Chem and EOD respond to stateside missions as well, so testing with domestic response is a good call. I think that it should be tested with MPs and other types of units along with infantry too.

            • Yawnz says:

              Pretty big stretch if that’s what you got out of Jon’s post.

              The point is that grunts aren’t the only ones who get shot at or blown up, so pissing and moaning about “Why are they testing this on POGs whaaaaa” isn’t going to do any good. EOD people get issued rucksacks too. Just fill it with your clothes and shit and wear it with the vest. Doesn’t take an infantryman to be able to do that.

        • Yawnz says:

          Standard or not, you have to shut up and deal with it or not re-enlist. Point out where I’m wrong or go pound sand.

      • No Fun Zone says:

        Yes, non combat arms wear body armor too. But firstly they don’t get issued the latest equipment. Most non-infantry types are using their CIF issue gear. Secondly they don’t really use it other than to walk around BAF during an alert. If you’re not combat arms, you’re not using your equipment as much or as hard as you would in the Infantry. Plus, whatever features an Infantryman wants on his equipment is going to benefit everyone.

        You don’t see me complaining that we’re not issued the latest laptops or satellite dishes. We want good kit and weapons.

        • Jon says:

          So every time we went on response for UXO on post (over 200 times in one year) we “weren’t using our equipment as much?” What about all the training with live demo over a year? What about responding to domestic incidents like the methhead who had a homemade modified grenade he threatened his neighbors with? The suspect package at the PX that had to be interrogated?…Again, the idea of who’s using this more is BS. The correct answer appears to be what the army is doing instead of a one size fits all they are actually looking at broad spectrum operations. Councils on equipment are formed to make the best purchases for the entire military, not just what the infantry wants or what EOD wants for that matter.

          Also the argument from a combat specific role is arguable. There are many “non-combat” missions that require armor- Specifically JPAC, Demining, Dept of State missions, humanitarian support, etc. Other branches or roles have it even more such as MPs, medics, engineers or the like. Specific items like body armor, ruck sacks, general comms, weapons will all be “GI” Government issue. special things will go to special people…who for the most part, already have it.

  7. aGENTOFWRATH says:

    More bits and bobs for Joe to keep up with and then be charged exorbitant amounts for said bits and bobs by CIF for when he ETS’s

  8. ak says:

    Is it just me, cos that one hot looking eod!

  9. Paul says:

    Whats with the buckle under the cummerbund? It’s just wasting space on the cummerbund…

    Also, how is this thing weighing 11lbs without plates?! ELEVEN POUNDS?! I’m hoping that includes at least the soft armor. And this is before loading gear onto it?

    Dyneema weighs about .99lbs/sqft and aramid is just over that…so even if the vest weighs 3-4lbs, we’re wearing 7-8sqft of soft armor??

    • Ed says:

      Yeah, no $hite that is heavy! What is the point if you can’t maneuver and fight?? Just stay covered by your vehicle or a wall that hasn’t been hit yet with a RPG or mortar? Army strong, ehh?

    • Buckaroomedic says:

      I was wondering the same thing. Does seem awful heavy.

    • Darkhorse says:

      7 of those 11 pounds are from the huge zippers that run on the bottom sides of the front and back plate pockets and half way up each side. So when you sit the vest on the ground fully loaded, the weight of the vest will be directly on the zippers. Sweet design feature!

      It’s cool though- the army also cooked up a fiend expedient solution for when the zippers fail. You just take some of the safety pins that come in 5.56 bandoleers and pin it closed.

      • SSD says:

        I really like how the wearer is always carrying the low profile carrier inside the normal carrier. Twice the vest for half the performance.

        • Darkhorse says:

          Never know when you gotta get your low vis on…

          • SSD says:

            Okay, everybody take a knee and reconfigure your armor so we can walk into that village to do a CTR in ACUs with low viz armor underneath.

            • Darkhorse says:

              No bro, they wear civvies underneath their ACU’s. They thought it thru and that COA made the most sense. There was a study that looked into it and over the course of 48 months, it validated their COA.

              A close second COA, was the zippers up and down the sides of the ACU for fast low vis access. Everyone knows zippers are a point of failure on uniforms so it got voted down at the last second.

              Guys really liked that you could scale up and down on the same op multiple times.

  10. pbr549 says:

    SO…MANY…LOOSE…..STRAPS…..ARGHHH!!!!
    My inner 1SG is losing his mind LOL

  11. Hodge175 says:

    Why does the Army always have to try and reinvent the wheel with everything they do. There are so many good carriers on the market, proven and tested designs.

    Mayflower came up with the clip on placards how long ago, why cant the Army adopted some of these ideas and please give us a sound piece of gear. Why put those massive buckles on the shoulder, nobody but the Army does that. There are so many proven designs out there and the Army refuses to look at them and give us a design that is atleast a decade old.

    • Darkhorse says:

      No doubt- and given there is an army SMU chartered with testing and evaluating gear for the army- It’s just taxpayer dollars. No big whoop.

    • Exhausted says:

      The Army “Looked At Them” and lost in every trial but decided to go with their own design… Both Safariland and TYRs designs smoked this design in specifications, user trials, etc. Still the NATICK and PEO do what they do every time and screw their own end users.

      Its easy to cut the weight we you don’t meet your own specifications.

      Waste of money is an understatement!

    • straps says:

      Everyone knows HPT and Fastex fails. Everyone in PEO Soldier, that is.

      Meanwhile, the Army is still issuing magazine pouches with SNAPS on them.