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Modular Tactical Vest (MTV)

The Marine Corps Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) is a refinement of the Outer Tactical Vest (OTV) portion of the previously used Interceptor Body Armor system. The OTV (and later Improved OTV) lack load carrying capabilities to carry additional armor and the combat load required by Marines. In response to these requirements, the MTV was created as an interim solution during an acquisiton process in the 2006-2007 time frame.

Marine with Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, dons his Modular Tactical Vest, 2007
Marine with Security Company, Combat Logistics Battalion 4, Combat Logistics Regiment 3, 3rd Marine Logistics Group, dons his Modular Tactical Vest, 2007.

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History of the USMC Modular Tactical Vest (MTV)

Ground commanders in Iraq saw clearly that the Interceptor Multi-Threat Body Armor System with its Outer Tactical Vest (OTV) was not performing for their Marines. The OTV was not designed to carry equipment and additional armor during USMC missions, but was being used that way. An Urgent Universal Needs Statement was generated in late 2005 asking specifically for a body armor vest with integrated, combined load-bearing capability.

Marine Corps Systems Command responded in January 2006 with an accelerated development and acquisition effort involving a series of user conferences at Quantico, VA and in consultation with the Marine Expeditionary Forces. The result was the USMC Modular Tactical Vest (MTV). The first contract was awarded on 23 September 2006 to Protective Products International, a contract for 60,000 new Modular Tactical Vests (MTV) to replace the Interceptor OTV vests, with deliveries to be completed by October 2007.

The MTV was designed by Tactical Applications Group, a Jacksonville, NC company founded by C. J. Quinlan, a former Marine staff sergeant who served two tours in Operation Iraqi Freedom. whose vest design was selected by Corps officials over those of about 20 other competing companies. Protective Products International, Sunrise, FL manufactures the vest at a cost of about $600 each. The MTV is a new design in its soft parts, but continues to use the Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) Ballistic Protection Plates from the Interceptor armor.

In February 2007, USMC began transitioning to the new Modular Tactical Vest (MTV). The Marine Corps ordered a total of 84,000 of the new vests by 2009 and received 76,000. All Marines deploying to Iraq or Afghanistan during that period wore the new vests.

When MVT reached the field the initial reaction was very positive, when compared to the Interceptor OTV. But complaints mounted that MTV was too heavy and cumbersome. It caused discomfort when pulling it on or off over the head. Marines wearing MTV were quickly exhausted on dismounted patrol in the heat and felt too constrained. On 29 February 2008 Marine Commandant Gen. James T. Conway halted further purchases of MTV to address the complaints. Later, in August 2008, the USMC ordered 28,000 more MTVs.

As an alternative body armor solution, in 2008 the Marine Corps fielded a limited number of Scalable Plate Carriers (SPC), a lighter vest to carry the same SAPI/ESAPI plates.

Improved Modular Tactical Vest (IMTV)

Development of an Improved Modular Tactical Vest (IMTV) was undertaken in 2008 by an Army and Marine Corps team, with engineers from the US Army Research,Development and Engineering Center in Natick, MA. The new design attempts to address the areas of concern identified by Marines who wore the Modular Tactical Vest and to design an IMTV that does the following:

  • Mobility: Reduce Weight, Maximize torso/shoulder mobility to the greatest extent possible, and improve load distribution and weight bearing capabilities
  • Comfort: Reduce soft armor overlap and bunching; and make cummerbund adjustments
  • Accessibility: Reduce donning/doffing concerns, improve cummerbund flap closure
  • Weapons Employment: Facilitate stock weld
  • Modularity/Scalability: Facilitate the commander’s discretion/flexibility for determining overall system weight and level of protection based on the prevailing threat and mission requirements

Acquisition of the Improved Modular Tactical Vest was scheduled for 2009 with a target delivery of 108,000 systems in 2010. At the same time, the Marine Corps was conducting collaborative planning on the Next Generation personal protective vests with other US military services.

Components of the USMC Modular Tactical Vest (MTV)

Modular Tactical Vest components
Modular Tactical Vest components.

ComponentSizes
Base Vest Assembly5 sizes; X-Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
Yoke and Collar Assembly5 sizes: X--Small, Small, Medium, Large, X-Large
Throat ProtectorOne size
Lower Back Protector AssemblyOne size
Groin Protector Assembly2 sizes: X-Small to Medium, Large to X-Large
Cummerbund Assembly3 sizes; X-Small-Small, Medium, Large-X-Large
Side Plate PocketsOne size; one set

Note: Components list from IMTV RFP documents. The SAPI/ESAPI plates shown in the photo are ordered separately.

Features and Benefits of the USMC Modular Tactical Vest (MTV)

Basically, the Marine Corps Modular Tactical Vest (MTV), when compared to the OTV, increases protection while improving comfort. The MTV provides greater body coverage than the OTV, but adds nearly four pounds of additional weight (33.5 lbs versus 29.9 lbs). Still, despite the fact that the MTV is slightly heavier than the OTV, Marines involved in the MTV evaluation commented that the new vest "feels lighter." The soft and hard armor within the MTV and OTV personal protective vests are the same Interceptor armor and provide the same level of fragmentation and ballistic protection.

The vest provides more protection from shrapnel in the side of the torso, the lower back and kidney area and protects the side torso area from bullets by the integration of side armor plate carriers. The integrated cummerbund provides the improved load carriage and weight distribution. The MTV offers many points of adjustment, able to conform to any body shape.

The MTV's adjustable rifle bolster that allows a wearer to better seat a rifle stock in his shoulder was a big hit, as were the internal pathways for communication wiring and cables. A quick-release mechanism allows Marines to get out of the vest hastily in emergency situations and allows for immediate access for medical personnel to provide first-aid.

USMC Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) National Stock Numbers (NSN)

The USMC Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) is issued in five sizes, Coyote color:

SizeNSN
X-Small8470-01-547-5919
Small8470-01-547-5950
Medium8470-01-547-5938
Large8470-01-547-5949
X-Large8470-01-547-5954

The NSN shown for the MTV does not include the ballistic plates which must be ordered separately. Individual components have their own NSNs and may be ordered separately.

Find More Information on the Internet

There are many fine websites that have additional information on this topic, too many to list here and too many to keep up with as they come and go. Use this Google web search form to get an up to date report of what's out there.

For good results, try entering this: mtv body armor. Then click the Search button.

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