Mission Ready Services has completed development of a next-generation protective combat shirt, ballistic base layer (BBL), for the US Marine Corps (USMC), which is intended to provide soldiers with better protection and mobility.

In 2014, the Marine Corps Systems Command (MARSYSCOM) awarded the $1.4m, two-year project to Mission Ready Services’ subsidiary Protect The Force for research and development of the next-generation body armour architecture.

The project was funded through the Department of the Navy (DoN) Office of Naval Research (ONR) Rapid Innovation Fund (RIF).

"The Marines Next Generation Body Armor is a Marine-unique development that integrates a number of life-saving features."

The BBL shirts are currently being prepared for field deployment as per the RIF’s goal to speed-up the transition of new technologies into military systems.

More than 100 prototypes of the BBL and six additional prototypes with integrated micro-climate cooling tubes have already been delivered to the Marines Product Manager Clothing Infantry Equipment (PdM ICE).

Protect The Force chief technical officer Francisco Martinez said: “The Marines Next Generation Body Armor is a Marine-unique development that integrates a number of life-saving features.

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“The BBL is a first-of-a-kind protective combat shirt, specifically tailored to the Marine Corps equipment requirements, that addresses deficiencies identified by injuries recorded through Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.”

Designed to be worn under the marine's body armour vest, the BBL is an armoured shirt that integrates modular deltoid, yoke and collar protection into an athletic flame-resistant combat shirt.

In order to provide extra protection against fragments emitted from improvised explosive device (IED) detonations, the newly developed breathable fragment protective knits have been integrated into the sleeves and lower torso.