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 Post subject: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Thu Sep 25, 2014 11:00 pm 
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Curiosity is getting the best of me and wondering if anyone here with the knowledge would oblige me and run down a little quick and dirty history of the armor carriers used by U.S. Military post 2000. I've already Googled this topic and wasn't finding good concise info.

My personal experience in the U.S. Army and CA National Guard only includes the IBA, IOTV, and a little with TAC-1. I personally own a FirstSpear Siege (MOLLE) and recently acquired a CB Land CIRIAS. I am most curious about the development leading up to and through the land and maritime CIRAS, MBAV, RBAV, IMTV and the LBT and MSA/Paraclete versions. Feel free to include others I failed to mention. I'm looking particularly for carriers that are designed to include soft armor and that made it to official gov. issue (given an NSN). Including which units used which styles and colors would be awesome.

Lastly, if anyone has experience with the Siege and any of the others, I'm interested to hear how it compares.

I understand everyone has better things to do with their time, so I really do appreciate your input.


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:13 am 
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Now that's a broad topic...
I'm not sure you could actually trace back modern body armors to one "patient zero", considering almost all branches initiated some sort of program in the mid/late 90's.

As far as I remember (as a mere enthusiast mind you), the "modern" armor carriers (that is, after PASGT and Ranger Body Armor) start with PBPV on the SOF side (mid 90's), followed by the SPEAR program (BALCS) . I believe that PBPV and BALCS actually share pretty much the same geometry, but I could be wrong. BALCS were done in woodland, 3 color desert and black, with various version (mesh liner for swimmers, horizontal webbing for Rangers etc...)

On the Marine side, the FSBE AAV was started post 99 after that Helo crash in the ocean that claimed several Marines lives traped by their equipment. That development led to some sort of litigation with Paraclete's owner who felt that his own releasable evolution of his assaulter vest (that became RAV) was cheaply ripped off by USMC.

OTV was part of the MOLLE program is memory serves, and intended for all service branches (Woodland, 3 color desert and Coyote).

Land CIRAS was initialy developped for FSBE II around 03 (again, there was a litigation between paraclete and Eagle about design copyrights, as the original version of the CIRAS was nothing more than a coyote RAV). Consequently Eagle modified the CIRAS design through a couple of iterations to get to what we know as Land CIRAS. I believe that the first batch was made in MJK and went to the training wing, while CB versions were fielded to Force Recon and Marine Recon. Later on, 75th Ranger was issued with a ranger green version as part of RLCS program.

Mar CIRAS was an evolution of the Land version for NSW and Navy EOD, part of the MLCS program. It was mostly issued in MJK but there were other variants floating around like woodland (not sure if that was actually issued).

I believe this roughly summs up the early 2000s effort with body armors...

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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 2:55 pm 
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Great info! And thanks for taking the time.

I have a couple questions if you know the answers.

There is a Woodland Land CIRAS on eBay right now. That was probably like the Woodland MAR CIRAS and not actually issued out?

Let me see if I have this right.

After the initial armor carrier development dust settled in the early 2000s, the Eagle Land CIRAS became a defacto armor carrier for SOCOM units for a time. Then the Maritime CIRAS made an appearance for NSW and Army SF(?).

All that was replaced with the new BAE contract and introduction of the RBAV? When did BAE win the contract and begin fielding RBAVs? It seems like it was pretty early, like maybe 2007ish? Was there much overlap between CIRAS and RBAV issuing? Is the RBAV standard through the all the various programs now? (FSBE II, RLCS, MLCS, SFLCS, etc)

Where did the MSA Paraclete line of carrier fit into use? Were they more individual unit purchases?

Oh, and how does Safariland fit into this armor carrier evolution? I read something about SF units using Safariland early on?

Lastly, I have a Coyote Brown/Tan Land CIRAS (without stiff cummerbund btw). It's safe to say it was part of the early FSBE II program and issued to USMC Recon units exclusively?

Thanks again!


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:14 pm 
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I can answer one of your questions I think; When I was deployed in 2009 USarmy SF we worked with used both CIRAS and RBAV in the same team, so there was a large overlap. From wath I could understand it came down to some of the older dudes in the team not wanting to trade out the CIRAS, nothing more.

As to how the Siege is up to other carriers, I have a Siege(early gen. with just velcro flap in front), a paraclete RAV and have owned a land CIRAS back in the days.
Of the 3 the CIRAS is the best one, in my mind, and the Siege is a close second. The CIRAS is more adustabel then the Siege and that is why I like it more, but as to comfort and quality the are in my book evenly tied.

Hope that helps some.


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:52 pm 
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Great info Asgeir!

I do have the front flap Siege and last night was able to fit my Land CIRAS and agree that they feel very similar and the ease of adjusting and adjustability of the CIRAS is very nice. One thing I like about the Land CIRAS over the Siege is the smaller front flap. It's smaller width makes it easier to flip up and manage. Pulling the wider flap takes slightly more effort on the Siege as the Velcro on the sides don't give as easily when pulling. And having four full mags vs six on the flap is a noticeable difference when flipping it up. It's by no means horrible, just easier with the narrower flap on the CIRAS. I imagine it's the same with any wider front flap design.

Thanks for your input!


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 4:59 pm 
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B-Rad do you have any pics of your land CIRAS? it might be part of a early test run made before the introduction of the FSBEII kit.

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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:35 pm 
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No pics, but I can take some after work. Any traits I can loof for to tell?

Externally, the vest looks hardly used, but the paper tag looks quite worn. There is an NSN listed on the tag. It came with Ceradyne BALCS soft armor.


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 5:53 pm 
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first of all the color, do you have any FSBEII stuff for comparison? also, early kits have a green tag similar to this one:
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v236/ ... G_0613.jpg

You can try running that NSN through a search database, it's usually the best way to get some detailed info.

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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 6:20 pm 
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No green tag like that on the CIRAS. The NSN is quite worn, but I'll see again if I can make it out. The M4 Eagle pouches have tan tags and COY as the color and match the CIRAS perfectly.


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:27 pm 
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usually FSBEII items have "516", "521" or "518" in their NSNs (ie: 8470-01-518-2553); this should give you a general idea, but to be 100% sure you need to check the contract number.

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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 8:39 pm 
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I got curious and made my wife check the NSN. Well, asked really nicely actually. She said she could make out the following NSN 8470-01-518-2557, so it's FSBEII.

Unfortunately, the Contract number and Date were too hard for her to make out.


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 10:31 pm 
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A bit more light on this topic. "Patient zero" for US would be RBA, because it's first carrier with soft and hard plates in one package, there were also TG-Faust and PT body armor with similar setup. Then came PBPV in 97 then BALCS and FSBE AAV (non-QR) in 98 and they have same shape of soft armor, but different hard plates. Also Paraclete RAV appeared in 98/99. In 99 came FSBE AAV QR. Then there were AWS carriers in BALCS cut. First CIRAS was actually Maritime one in 02 DG-MLCS and after that¨in 04 Land was made for Rangers in RG and USMC Det-1 in MJK.

early CIRAS prototype:
Image


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2014 11:04 pm 
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Great info Danny, thanks! I didn't realize the hard/soft armor development was going on so early. Little did they know then how much it would be put into use in just a few years!

Very interesting to see just design elements that haven't changed much if at all.


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 12:33 am 
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I have never seen that vest. That's crazy!


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 Post subject: Re: History of Armor Carrier development
PostPosted: Sat Sep 27, 2014 6:56 am 
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AFAIK this one wasn't actually fielded, but I have seen the early DG-MLCS one on ebay a few years ago. It looked like Maritime but release was on the bottom like on this prototype an seller stated that only plates were releasable. I was dumb enough not to save pictures, they were pretty detailed :(


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