Minister for Defence – Major improvements announced to soldier survivability equipment

More than 20,000 Australian Defence Force personnel are set to be issued with new and improved personal protective equipment, with the announcement today of a $170 million upgrade to the soldier’s kit.

Announcing the roll-out at the Australian Defence Force Academy, Defence Minister David Johnston said the multi-million dollar roll-out would significantly enhance the capability of ADF personnel deployed on military operations.

“Known as Land 125 Phase 3B, the Defence project to improve a soldier’s individual load carriage equipment, draws on the direct experience and feedback derived from 15 years of ADF combat operations,” Senator Johnston said.

“This (program) will increase soldier mobility and endurance through the acquisition of lighter and better integrated components and materiel,” he said.

“The protective equipment includes new-generation body armour, combat helmets, hearing protection, and ballistic glasses and goggles,” Senator Johnston said.

Accompanied by Industry Minister Ian Macfarlane, the Defence Minister made the announcement during a visit to ADFA where he inspected a range of armoured vehicles and cutting edge new military equipment including the Australian-made Hawkei Light Protected Vehicle (LPV).

Under the terms of a five-year contract, the first of the Land 125 Phase 3B contracts has been awarded to Bendigo-based Australian Defence Apparel (ADA) for the supply of load carriage equipment, including ballistic plate carriers, packs, basic pouches and equipment bags.

“ADA is an Australian company based in Bendigo, Victoria and is a successful long-term manufacturer for Defence, including the new Australian Multicam pattern combat uniforms,” the Defence Minister said.

“Support services, including ongoing design and development will be provided by ADA in Australia,” he added.

The first thousand sets of Load Carriage Equipment are expected to be delivered in May 2015 with packs and pouches to be supplied to more than 20,000 ADF personnel in a staged roll-out over the next several years.

Media note:
Imagery will be available through the Defence Image Library: http://images.defence.gov.au/S20142545.

Media contacts:
Mark Dodd (Minister Johnston’s Office) 0477 389 560
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999


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