The USMC Scalable Plate Carrier (SPC) is body armor that is lighter and more flexible than the USMC Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) or similar systems derived from the Interceptor Multi-Threat Body Armor System. Weighing only 25.4 lbs, SPC provides a body armor capability with greater mobility and reduced thermal stress in high elevations, thick vegetation and tropical environments than that provided by the MTV, while maintaining direct fire protection.
A Marine with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, wearing the Improved Scalable Plate Carrier, Camp Lejeune, NC, 28 April 2009.
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Both the Marine Corps Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) and Scalable Plate Carrier (SPC) use the standard Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts (ESAPI) and Side SAPI plates to provide the best protection available against a wide variety of small arms threats. MTV and SPC offer identical ballistic protection. Coupled with the Modular Tactical Vest, the Scalable Plate Carrier provides options to address various mission/threat requirements. That is, Scalable Plate Carrier (SPC) will not take the place of the MTV, but will serve as a complement to it to be used at the commander's discretion.
Approximately 14,000 Scalable Plate Carriers were fielded from mid-2008 through early 2009. Based on positive feedback, the acquisition objective was increased to approximately 65,000 plate carriers. The SPC is manufactured by Eagle Industries Unlimited, Inc., Fenton, MO.
Improved Scalable Plate Carrier (ISPC)
The Improved Scalable Plate Carrier (ISPC) include a cummerbund interoperable with the Modular Tactical Vest/Improved Modular Tactical Vest and enhancements to the shoulder straps. Increasing the comfort of Marines wearing the ISPC was a major objective. During 9-20 March 2009, testing was conducted at Camp Pendleton, CA with Marines from Company I, 3rd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. They tested the Modular Tactical Vest and the ISPC plate carrier to find advantages and disadvantages. After days of operations in various conditions, Marines preferred the lighter ISPC, especially for longer periods of wear and in the heat. However, they noted that the plate carrier doesn't have as much frag protection as the MTV; it is more vulnerable to grenade shrapnel. ISPC also does not distribute the weight as well as the MTV.
Marines with 1st Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, who used the MTV in Afghanistan, tested the Improved Scalable Plate Carrier at Camp Lejeune, NC during a five day period in late April and early May 2009. They reported that changes to the shoulder area did in fact provide better load and weight distribution. The ISPC was given high marks for increased mobility, durability and comfort. ISPC also simplifies donning/doffing.
In September 2009, Marine commanders in Afghanistan formally permitted the use of the ISPC instead of the full MTV for many operations, based on the mission and the threat to the Marines.
The Carrier, Scalable Plate, Complete consists of the following components, as illustrated in the photo above:
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