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29 Jan 15. New Integrated Personal Protection for UK Forces. The VIRTUS contract for the supply and support of a Personal Protective Equipment & Load Carriage System has been awarded to SOURCE Vagabond Systems Ltd. On 4th July 2014 the UK Defence Equipment & Support organisation (DE&S) issued a voluntary ex ante transparency notice in respect of a contract for the Supply and Support of VIRTUS Personal Protective Equipment and Load Carriage System. This contained a short description of the VIRTUS requirements:- Protective gear. Garments for anti-ballistic protection. Project VIRTUS (Formerly Personal Equipment and Common Operational Clothing or PECOC) will deliver an integrated head, torso and load carriage system with the ability for quick release that will form the foundation of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). It will be the core component of the Dismounted Close Combat Soldier. VIRTUS will support the activities of all service personnel engaged in a Dismounted Close Combat role; this encompasses Soldiers, Marines and Airmen involved on Land, Littoral Manoeuvre and Ground Support to Air Operations. Having determined that the VIRTUS contract had been awarded, COMBAT & SURVIVAL Magazine asked the MoD for confirmation. In response an MoD spokesperson said: “The VIRTUS contract for the supply and support of personal protective equipment and load carriage has now been awarded to SOURCE Vagabond Systems Ltd. This is a multi-year contract to supply an initial 9,000 systems to the British Army.”
When approached for comment, SOURCE gave the following statement to C&S:- SOURCE Vagabond announces that it has been awarded a multi-year contract to supply an initial quantity of 9000 personal protection and load carriage systems to the British Army, based on, amongst other key attributes, its class leading VIRTUS Dynamic Weight Distribution system, to enhance the operation effectiveness of the dismounted combatant. The awarded contract is for a firm term of three years, and can be extended, by the UK MOD, until 2026. The first systems are scheduled to be delivered to the Army in September, 2015.
Major General Paul Jaques, Director Land Equipment at MOD Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S), said, “DE&S is committed to supporting the Armed Forces by providing them with a high standard of equipment and this new personal protection and load carriage system meets that requirement. In challenging troop trials we found it performed exceptionally well and was a step change improvement on the in-service equipment. Key is the integrated nature of the system that enables the soldier to operate far more effectively.”
SOURCE CEO Ronny Arazi said, “This is a capstone contract for SOURCE, and validates our position as a world class designer and manufacturer of tactical gear including integrated protection and load carriage systems. We are delighted to be able to provide our VIRTUS system to the British Army, after the most comprehensive and challenging competition of its kind.”
SOURCE Founder and Chief Innovation Officer, Yoki Gill, added: “The VIRTUS competition provided a once in a life time opportunity to work with a customer with the genuine determination and vision to break the mould when it comes to addressing the needs of the infantry. The award of this contract demonstrates the level of expertise that we have built within SOURCE, in terms of enhancing human performance, in an in-field and combat environment”.
The VIRTUS Dynamic Weight Distribution component represents state-of-the-art performance in relieving the burden experienced by the Infantryman from his personal protection and load carriage equipment. Building on SOURCE’s 30 years of experience of human factors integration in both the outdoor leisure and military markets, VIRTUS is the result of a three year R&D programme by SOUR