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Marines Don’t Want Their MTV

by Ward Carroll on February 28, 2008

Something told me this would happen.

Saw a great report last night from Fox News reporter Jennifer Griffin who’s been traveling with Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway in Iraq.

She knew news when she saw it and reports that Marines are complaining mightily about their new body armor vest, the Modular Tactical Vest or MTV.

The Pentagon and Marine Corps authorized the purchase of 84,000 bulletproof vests in 2006 that not only are too heavy but are so impractical that some U.S. Marines are asking for their old vests back so they can remain agile enough to fight.

Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway wants to know who authorized the costly purchase of the nearly 30-pound flak jackets and has ordered the Marine procurement officers at the Quantico base in Virginia to halt the rest of an unfilled order, FOX News has learned.

Now, the MTV is the replacement for the Point Blank-manufactured Interceptor and was billed as a more comfortable, better fitting, more protective vest than the Interceptor. The Marine Corps was looking at two other designs during evaluations in 2006. I know one of them was a variation of the Crye Precision-built “Armor Chassis” and I still don’t know what the third one was, though I suspect it was a Point Blank design.

I have a source who was at one of the trials at Quantico and he said people were raving about one, and thought the other two were dogs. When I saw the design the Marine Corps picked, I was pretty sure which one the leathernecks in the field were NOTraving about: the MTV.

Too many bells and whistles. Too complicated to put on and adjust. Heavier than the Interceptor. Ugh…

But…and this is a big but…The company that makes the MTV, Protective Products, has two former Marine Corps body armor program officials at its top ranks. The body armor community is a small one, so that’s not surprising at all. But it sure doesn’t look good on the surface…especially since Conway told Griffin: “Im not quite sure how we got to where we are, but what I do know is it is not a winner.
I think it is foolish to buy more.”

Man, there’s no worse endorsement than that.

– Christian

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