The first batch of the new tiered body armour system (TBAS) for Australian soldiers in Afghanistan has come off the production line, Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare has said.

“The new body armour system is lighter, fits better, is more comfortable and provides more mobility than the existing body armour our troops use,” he added.

The new TBAS allows troops to insert different types of ballistic plates into the vest and enables better firing positions and manoeuvrability on the battlefield.

Australian troops in Afghanistan are currently using either the modular combat body armour system (MCBAS) or the Eagle Marine body armour.

The MCBAS body armour is heavy and has been designed for conditions in Iraq where troops weren’t regularly required to patrol on foot.

About 1,600 tiered body armour systems will be produced over the next few months and troops will be trained in the armour’s use in April, before being deployed later this year.

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