NATICK, Mass. (Army News Service) -- Along with the 20,000 U.S. peacekeepers being sent to the former Yugoslavia are 350 sets of Ranger Body Armor. RBA was designed by the Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center to meet the operational needs of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Initially used during missions in Somalia, RBA is credited with saving lives and reducing injuries to Rangers involved in hostile actions there.
RBA is a two part system; a flexible vest and a rigid plate, both which provide ballistic protection to the upper torso. The flexible vest consists of an Arimid (Kevlar KM2) filler encased in a nylon woodland camouflage printed carrier. The vest protects the front and back torso from most 9mm and 44 magnum threats, as well as fragmentation protection similar to that of the Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops vest. The RBA vest weighs approximately 8 pounds (size Medium).
The heart of RBA is the 8-pound ceramic upgrade plate. With the plate inserted into the front pocket of the vest, it protects the approximate 10" X 12" area of vital organs in the front torso from both 5.56 mm and 7.62 mm ball projectiles. The plate is made of 2" X 2" aluminum oxide ceramic tiles. The vest and plate meet the National Institute of Justice Standards, Ballistic Resistance of Police Body Armor. With the ceramic plate inserted in the vest, the system weighs 16 pounds.
RBA was Type Classified Limited Procurement Urgent in November 1994, is available in three sizes; medium, large and extra large, and is available for purchase through General Services Administration contract GS-07F-6041A, Protective Materials, Inc.
(From a Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center release)