USAF Looks to Buy Female Body Armor for Guard, Reserve Security Forces

The Air Force wants to procure up to 2,000 more Female Body Armor units for Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve security forces Airmen.

The modular, scalable body armor system is designed specifically for women’s bodies, and will protect female defenders against fragmenting munitions, handgun, and small arms threats, with a four-tiered system that allows protection levels to be tailored to different missions, according to a federal contract announcement.

The action is a sole source additional scope firm-fixed priced modification to a contract awarded to Tactical & Survival Specialties, Inc. (TSSi) of Harrisonburg, Va. The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center’s Female Fitment Program Office awarded the contract to begin production and development for the female body armor this summer.

Female body armor
The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center Female Fitment Program Office has awarded a contract to begin production and development for body armor designed to better protect female Airmen during combat and contingency operations. The new body armor will be specifically fitted to the female body preventing exposure to risks. Graphic: USAF

“This is a perfect example of Air Force Materiel Command getting feedback from the field and delivering the Air Force we need to the warfighter,” AFMC commander Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. said in a June press release. “I’m proud of the team pulling together to do what is right for our Airmen. They deserve gear that offers the protection they need while allowing them to compete their mission.”

The initial contract called for 5,600 FBA units, but in July, Security Forces said they needed 88 more to outfit Guard and Reserve with the same body armor used in the Active-duty force.

The Female Fitment Program Office was created in response to former Chief of Staff Gen. David L. Goldfein’s initiative to revitalize the squadron, with the goal of quickly identifying problems and fielding solutions. The office worked with the Air Force Security Forces Center to find adequate protection for women working in combat or other dangerous environments.

“Our female Airmen had gaps due to poor fitment issues,” said Maj. Saily Rodriguez, Female Fitment Program manager, in the June release. “The new gear fits properly, which improves protection and offers better comfort for gear that has to be work in difficult environments and conditions.”

Delivery is anticipated in March 2021.