BAE Systems has been awarded a contract modification for the production and supply of additional X-Threat Small Arms Protective Insert (XSAPI) side ballistic plates to the US Army for integration into individual body armour vests.

The $15.8m order is an extension to a previous contract awarded to Bae in September 2010, which brings the total contract value to $50.6m. The XSBI system consists of a set of interchangeable, contoured plates that can be worn on both sides of the torso to provide protection against multi-hits of small arms rifle bullets and indirect fire flechettes.

Designed to meet US military requirements and specifications, the plates feature weatherometre resistance, high-altitude pressure resistance as well as fluid resistance on exposure to diesel fuel, oil and salt water. The plates are compatible with all auxiliary components, including yoke/collar, throat protector and groin protector, associated with the US Armed Services Interceptor Body Armor (IBA) programme and can withstand multiple small-arms hits, as well as armour-piercing rounds.

The protective body armour plates are fully compliant with the US Department of Defense (Dod) specifications to meet the requirements of the IBA programme and provide ballistic protection against conventional fragmenting munitions. The programme aims to replace the existing personnel armour system for ground troops (PASGT) body armour system introduced in the early 1980s.

Manufacturing work will be carried out at the company’s facility in Arizona, US, with deliveries to continue through February 2012. Since 1998, BAE has manufactured more than a million body armour ballistic plate inserts including the small arms protective insert (SAPI) and enhanced SAPI ceramic plates under the US DoD contracts.