The vest can be equipped with side ballistic plates, collar armor, throat protection -- or any combination of these options, said Hanks, a retired Air Force military police officer who worked closely with the Army.
Soldier can decide in the field exactly what they need on their vest.
"We all know missions change at the spur of the moment," Hanks said.
Another key feature, he added, is the quick-release option for removing parts of the vest.
"Now you will not be required to take a one-hour training class on how to reassemble it," he said. "It can be reassembled within minutes with four clicks and three pieces of Velcro."
The IOTV "protects against what you carry," including the 9 mm M9. It's also been tested to help protect against improvised explosive devices, Hanks said.
A key is to balance protection and gear with the ability for the soldier to move around easily.
"It's a lot easier to perform your mission by deciding at the moment" which pieces of the vest you need, Hanks said.
The soldier can determine if a threat requires everything the vest can accommodate or if some features should be removed in order to increase endurance, he said.
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