April 7 (UPI) -- The Marine Corps announced Tuesday that it's fielding a next-generation protective vest for Marines.
A press release from the branch describes the Plate Carrier Generation III as a lightweight plate carrying system that "guards against bullets and fragmentation when coupled with protective plates.
The new body armor system will first be distributed to infantry and infantry-like Marines, and then fielded to supporting units, with the expectation that the PC Gen III will reach Full Operational Capability by fiscal year 2023
"This system protects Marines on the battlefield," Lt. Col. Andrew Konicki, the Program Manager for Infantry Combat Equipment at Marine Corps Systems Command, said. "The PC Gen. III is important because it is nearly 25-percent lighter than the legacy technology."
The Marine Corps tested a prototype version of the vest in 2016 and found Marines completed obstacle courses and long hikes faster with the newer body armor than with legacy equipment.
The new armor also comes in an increased variation of sizes, allowing for better fit, increased protection and decreased risk of injuries caused by improper fit.
It is also designed to fit "individuals of all sizes and statures-from the 2nd percentile female Marine to the 98th percentile male Marine," and to fit men and women.