The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) has developed a new, lighter and more compact next-generation protective vest for its combat troops for reducing load and improving mission effectiveness.

Israeli soldiers currently use two vests, one for protection and the other to carry equipment, which weighs them down and limits operational activity.

Capable of supporting soldiers’ range of motion, the new vest model has been designed to help them conduct daily tasks and operational activities with enhanced ability.

"This is a significant improvement for the soldiers, who take a big weight off themselves since they take off a layer."

The new vests will replace the traditional ones and provide a single platform that will protect soldiers and carry their equipment into the battlefield without limiting their mobility.

IDF’s logistical equipment department personal equipment section commander said: "This is a significant improvement for the soldiers, who take a big weight off themselves since they take off a layer."

Developed over the past two years by IDF’s logistical equipment department, the new modular shorter and tighter vests are equipped with pouches for carrying ammunition magazines, grenades, or other necessary equipment to support missions.

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Around 400 of the new vests have already been trialled by battalions of the Field Intelligence Corps, commando units Sayeret Rimon and Sayeret Egoz, and special units including Duvdevan and Maglan.

"The response to the new vest in the field has been very positive, and we are currently waiting for the final approvals, after which it will be used across the board," the commander added.

Final approval for the new vest is expected to be received in the next few weeks, with deliveries to the IDF’s combat soldiers likely to start from 2013.