Army tests body armor tailored for female soldiers

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Associated Press

Posted on September 19, 2012 at 1:00 AM

Updated Wednesday, Sep 19 at 2:00 AM

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. (AP) — The Army has developed body armor that's shorter and tailored specifically to fit women's physiques.

The tactical vests, which better accommodate smaller torsos and fit closer to women's chests, will be fielded for the first time by female soldiers from Fort Campbell, who are deploying to Afghanistan.

Members of a female engagement team from the 101st Airborne Division, who will be directly interacting with Afghan women during the upcoming deployment, have been equipped with the prototypes. The vest eliminates gaps between the material and the body and can be fitted with smaller side ballistic inserts for small waist sizes.

Female soldiers have said that poor fitting armor made it difficult bending over, getting in and out of tight spaces like military vehicles, or positioning rifles against their shoulders.

Women now make up 14 percent of the Army and are closer to combat than they have been previously.

Sound: upcoming

%@AP Links

APPHOTO KYMH101: Spc. Sarah Sutphin adjusts her new body armor while training on a firing range on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in Fort Campbell, Ky. Female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division are field testing the first Army body armor designed to fit women's physiques in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan this fall. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey). (18 Sep 2012)

<<APPHOTO KYMH101 (09/18/12)>>

APPHOTO KYMH102: Spc. Sarah Sutphin removes her new body armor after training on a firing range on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in Fort Campbell, Ky. Female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division are field testing the first Army body armor designed to fit women's physiques in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan this fall. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey). (18 Sep 2012)

<<APPHOTO KYMH102 (09/18/12)>>

APPHOTO KYMH103: Sgt. Bobbie Crawford removes her new body armor after training on a firing range on Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2012, in Fort Campbell, Ky. Female soldiers from 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division are field testing the first Army body armor designed to fit women's physiques in preparation for their deployment to Afghanistan this fall. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey). (18 Sep 2012)

<<APPHOTO KYMH103 (09/18/12)>>

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