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BAE Systems Celebrates One Millionth Hard Body Armor Insert Milestone


PHOENIX, Arizona – BAE Systems has completed the production of more than one million hard armor inserts under Department of Defense (DoD) contracts primarily in support of the U.S. Army, the U.S. Marine Corps and the Defense Logistics Agency. A ceremony to commemorate this milestone was held today at BAE Systems’ Protection Systems business in Phoenix, Arizona where the inserts are manufactured.

“A hard armor insert helps protect a warfighter’s vital organs and has been proven as a critical lifesaver on the battlefield. Our employees come to work each day knowing that the work they do could save a life and bring a loved one home to their family,” said Joe Coltman, vice president of BAE Systems’ Protection Systems. “Manufacturing one million of these plates is a significant milestone for BAE Systems and its employees to achieve. It brings into perspective the number of lives we are protecting.”

Attending the celebration were U.S. Rep. Ed Pastor (D-Arizona), COL William Cole, program manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment, LTC(P) Jon Rickey, product manager for Soldier Protective Equipment and COL John Womack, Commander for the Defense Contract Management Agency in Phoenix.

“Last year, Phoenix and Tucson were ranked among the top ten U.S. metro areas with Aerospace and Defense manufacturing facilities,” said Congressman Pastor. “Arizona is proud to have as an Aerospace and Defense representative BAE Systems and its employees, who diligently create protective products, like the SAPI plate, for our troops worldwide.”

BAE Systems first introduced the Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plate in 1998 to meet the demanding requirements of the DoD Interceptor program. SAPI plates, as they are often called, are hard armor inserts worn on the front, back and side torso to aid in protection against fragmentation and small arms. The protective plates offer greater ballistic protection over soft armor alone and are worn within a warfighter’s vest.

As the original equipment manufacturer of the SAPI plate, BAE Systems’ capabilities have expanded to include other SAPI derivatives and Next Generation (X) plates, including the Enhanced Small Arms Protective Inserts, Side SAPI, XSBI and XSAPI. These plates are designed to provide a wide range of ballistic protection to troops in a variety of combat conditions. BAE Systems continually strives to advance their designs to protect against emerging threats.

BAE Systems expanded its hard armor insert line in 2007 to include the ECLiPSE® Performance Gear SOLAR™ series. The SOLAR™ series of inserts meet specifications set forth by the Special Operations Forces Equipment Advanced Requirements (SPEAR) under its Body Armor and Load Carrying System program.

BAE Systems is a leading provider of Soldier protective and load carrying equipment in the United States, producing a significant portion of the nation’s body armor, tactical vests, combat helmets and load carrying systems. Not only is the company focused on the design, development and production of leading edge survivability products, its integration of advanced materials into manufacturing, rigorous product testing, and field trials support the company’s focus on the men and women who serve in the Armed Forces.


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