What is the Virtus Soldier System?

What is Virtus?

The VIRTUS soldier system is a comprehensive system of integrated combat and protective gear developed by Source to cope with the challenges and needs of the modern infantry soldier in today’s battlefield.

It is the world’s first integrated load carriage and protection system.

The system will replace the current issued Osprey 4 body armour and Mk7 helmet.

What is the Concept?

The general concept is that the Virtus soldier system forms the core of a scalable soldier architecture, and is composed of seven subsystems and a variety of components:

  • Head Subsystem:
    • Helmet with cover front  mount and mini rail.
    • Visor.
    • Mandible.
    • Low impact eye-wear spectacles.
    • NVG counter weight.
    • Medium impact eye-wear goggles.
    • Rx QLX.
    • CBRN strap extender.
  • Torso Protection Subsystem:
    • Scalable tactical vest (STV).
    • Non-protective plate front and back.
    • STV front and back soft armour filler (SAF).
    • STV shoulders SAF.
    • Plate carriers SAF front and back.
    • Plate carrier SAF side.
  • Hydration Subsystem:
    • Rider 3L hydration pack.
    • Pack side 3L hydration pouch.
  • Extremities Subsystem:
    • Nape protection.
    • Knee pads.
    • Collar protection.
    • Pelvic protection Tier 2.
  • Load Carriage Subsystem:
    • 90L general user bergen.
    • 90L bergen.
    • 65L drysack for bergen.
    • 40L general user daysack.
    • 45L commander’s daysack.
    • 22L drysack for daysack.
    • Pack side 5L zip pouch.
    • Radio cover.
  • Chassis Subsystem:
    • Yoke.
    • DWD system 1/2.
    • DWD system 2/2.
    • Chassis/MOLLE hip belt.
  • Pouches Subsystem:
    • Grenade pouch.
    • Smoke grenade pouch.
    • PRR pouch.
    • LMG pouch.
    • Ammunition pouch.
    • UGL pouch.
    • Pistol magazine pouch.
    • SS pouch.
    • Medical pouch.
    • ETH pouch.
    • Bandolier.
    • Commander’s pouch.
    • Bowman pouch.
    • Bayonet scabbard pouch.
    • Utility pouch.
    • Magazine drop pouch.
    • Water bottle pouch.
    • Ready to use link ammunition pouch.

What does this Concept Mean?

This concept means that a soldier can configure their equipment to the mission by adding or removing components.

Two Important Innovations

The Virtus Soldier System incorporates two unique and innovative soldier subsystems;

  • Dynamic Weight Distribution (DWD) system:
    • This provides real weight transference between the shoulders and the hips, easing the burden.
    • The DWD system allows the soldier to control the load forced along the spine, while inhibiting the natural movement and flexibility of the body.
    • This allows the soldier, while on-the-move and with a simple pressing of a button, to shift the weight of the load from 100% on the shoulders to 100%
      on the hips, and anything in between.
    • The soldier can decide at any given moment throughout the mission, how weight is distributed on their body.
    • This capability not only reduces potential back injuries, it also improves comfort, reduces the perception of the weight carried, and allows better ventilation & thermal control.
    • The DWD permits complete natural movement and flexibility while bearing extremely heavy loads.
  • Scalable Tactical Vest (STV) system:
    • This allows for rapid response using minimal amount of parts, cleverly designed to enable the soldier to quickly and easily scale up or down according to different threat levels and missions.

The Manufacturer

In January 2015, Source signed a multi-year contract with the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) to supply integrated personal protection and load carriage systems to the British Military.

The contract was initially awarded for a three year term, but can be extended to 2026.

By April 2018, the UK MOD had purchased 37,275 Virtus soldiers systems.

References and Further Information

  • Source: https://sourcevirtus.com/.
  • Beale, J. (2016) Army Soldiers Raise Concerns About New Body Armour. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36327103. [Accessed: 24 June, 2018].
  • Farmer, B. (2016) Soldiers Test Army’s New Hi-tech Body Armour. Available from World Wide Web: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/04/01/soldiers-test-armys-new-hi-tech-body-armour/?sf23538486=1. [Accessed: 24 June, 2018].
  • American Military News Article: http://americanmilitarynews.com/2016/03/when-the-british-army-got-new-cutting-edge-body-armor-something-changed/?utm_source=amn&utm_medium=facebook&utm_campaign=alt [Currently blocked for EU-based readers].
  • Muncey, S. (2015) This Time It’s Personal: The Army’s New Body Armour System is About More Than Just Protection. Soldier: Magazine of the British Army. July 2015, pp.35-38. Available from World Wide Web: http://soldiersystems.net/blog1/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/UK-Virtus-program.pdf. [Accessed: 26 June, 2018].
  • FOI 2018/02714 dated 11 April 2018.
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