NVD in the picture attached is not Binocular, it’s Bi-Ocular. It has only one image tube and two viewing tubes. Similar to the AN-PVS 7. BEL, OLF Dehradun, TASL, Alpha Design Technologies, MKU and others all make NVDs of this pattern.We have seen how start ups like Tonbo Imaging has changed the situation for our infantry in the tactical optics. Tonbo's sights found use in the special operations first & then become increasingly common with specialized infantry & regular forces. The story of Armasen Tactical is following a similar trajectory. It is much younger than Tonbo & still just a couple of years old. But in these few years they have made an incredible impact on the wearables used by special operations forces. Armasen makes plate carriers, rigs, bags, belts, helmet covers, knives etc.
Army's PARAs were the 1st users of their wearables, Navy's MARCOS have started using some of their stuff too. The most popular product seems to be the SF rig & the tactical waist belt.
It is not difficult to see why the SF rig is gaining ground. But first some background. Until say about a decade ago the Army had bullet proof jackets (BPJ) that offered protection all around the body, shoulders, neck & sometimes groin area. It was less of a BPJ more of a juggernaut suit. naturally a BPJ of this type that offered an all around STANAG Level III+ protection wasn't going to be light. The BPJs were fine for cross border shooting but were unsuitable to most respond to nimble "hit & run" tactics that were being employed in Kashmir.
At that time if they wanted to be nimble they had to be unprotected. Thus the Army started to explore options for a tactical vest that had the optional ability of carrying ballistic plates. It is not clear if they found a vendor who would supply them these vests or if they designed it themselves. The vests were mostly made in some OFB military clothing factories.
This is what the vests looked like:
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The vest had the following going for it:
1. Very light weight & made of breathable fabric with limited fire retarding capacity. Weighed next to nothing compared to the BPJs.
2. MOLLE webbing all over the place for mounting mag pouches, radio etc. Adjustable to a users own needs & wants.
3. Pouches that can carry everything from multiple INSAS mags, AK mags, AR mags, radios, grenades (frags, stunt, smoke).
4. 10-12 liter hydration pack with a mouth piece.
5. Ability of carrying 2 ballistic plates on front & back. The plates can be STANAG Level II, III or III+
The Army Paras were again probably the first to start using it. Soon specialized infantry like the RR joined in. Before you know it everybody was using it: Army & Navy spec ops, RR, state & central police forces. This vest became the de facto standard issue vest in the valley.
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But as with all things the vest wasn't perfect. Look at the photo below, notice the sagging of the fabric caused by the weight of the plate ?
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This is a very common thing for this vest. The heavier the plate the more the sagging. The sagging leaves the upper chest exposed without protection & restricts some movement.
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It is still very good for many other purposes & it is unlikely the regular forces will stop using it anytime soon.
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The Spec Ops Units are starting to move on to the Armasen Tactical SF rig. There are 2 variants of the SF rig: one for land based ops & one for maritime ops.
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The rig is definitely better designed from a load carrying point of view. As the shoulder straps directly attaches to the plate carriers adjusting the straps would solve any sagging under load problems. The rig is well cushioned to reduce the effect of projectile momentum. The sides have no protection like with the vest but the design should allow for more degrees of motion.
Wearing the Land based SF rig:
View attachment 21712
SF rig for maritime ops:
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The needs are different for maritime operations & thus a different design was necessary. It is also smart to have 2 version as with the formations of the AFSOD the Army & Navy spec ops are now more likely to work together then ever.
Wearing the Maritime SF rig:
View attachment 21716
The Army's Paras were likely the 1st users:
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This is what the current standard issue for Kashmir looks like. We have:
1. An AK with dual mags as the primary weapon & a Glock 19 as the secondary weapon.
2. Helmet mounted Binocular NVD.
3. SF rig land version
4. Tactical waist belt with medical pouch & a grenade pouch.
The tactical waist belt part in new. None of our units have used them before. Until recently we just wore belts to hold our pants. The idea of using belts to carry stuff isn't new, it has been used by the NATO for a while now. But our guys were introduced to it very recently. Whether that is due to the Armasen guys pitching it to the Army or due to the joint exercises we are doing recently with the US spec ops is not known. Probably a bit of both.
continued in the next post....