There’s Going to be a New ILBV for SAF Soldiers & It’s Pretty High Tech

Last Updated on 2020-02-17 , 7:18 pm

Honestly, I’m pretty satisfied with the current iLBV. It isn’t the best, but it’s far from the worst too.

Image: CMPB

Although of course, improvements are always welcome.

For things only get better with time. Like wine.

And chicks.

The new iLBV

Image: TODAY
Image: TODAY

Granted, the new iLBV’s not exactly a looker. But you gotta admit; it looks tough.

And in war, toughness triumphs over looks. Anytime, any day.


The SAF acquired a pretty nifty programme called the Loads Effects Assessment Programme (LEAP) around two months ago, and they will be utilising it to gather the “time taken to complete tasks and temperature data of every soldier, enabling equipment that improves mobility and performance to be identified.”

Incidentally, the tests will be conducted by human factors engineers who specialise in comfort and functional design.

So one thing’s for sure: the new iLBV won’t feel like an irritating dead weight you’re just itching to throw into the sea.

Although I’m sure it’s still better off than on. Naturally.

What will the new mods be like?

The human factors engineers will be making improvements to the fit of soldiers’ gear by tapping the science of measuring, as well as anthropometry (application of body dimensions).

Image: TODAY

As a result, the new design will “fit soldiers of different shapes and sizes more snugly as its belt and vest components could come in different sizes.”

(The fit of the vest component can also be adjusted in five places)

Additionally, the new iLBV will also distribute weight equally across the body, instead of the old one which practically dumps everything on the shoulders.

So yeah, your poor shoulders would still be usable at the end of the day, and you won’t be so fatigued anymore. Emphasis on the so.

“Well-designed equipment that distributes weight well across the body can delay the onset of fatigue,” Second Minister for Defence Ong Ye Kung said.

“It also improves the mobility of the soldiers significantly. This will ensure that the equipment our soldiers wear and use fits them well and allows them to perform their combat tasks effectively.”

Well said, Minister! It’s about time!

Periodic scans

To really get the best out of the upcoming LBV, they have also scheduled a series of tests to try and achieve two things:

  • No more sauna feeling whenever you’re in your loaded vest.
  • Durability for the entire time span of enlistment TO retirement.

For the first point, they will be testing selected equipment out at a 200m course with 10 obstacles (your standard SOC, probably) to see whether design tweaks could improve a soldier’s ability to move faster without the increased heat.

Image: TODAY

During the process, soldiers will have their body temperatures scanned by a thermo-imaging system after completion of tasks, which incidentally includes a low crawl, an agility run and load transfers.

Image: TODAY

For the second point, soldiers might go through 20-second body scans from the first quarter of next year. This is to collect body data, and effectively allow the SAF to establish body dimensional trends spanning a soldier’s enlistment to retirement.

Aren’t you excited?

This invention would mean primarily three positives:

  • no more shoulder press every time you put on your loaded vest
  • no more of that intense heat that suggests the Sahara desert, rather than Singapore
  • increased comfort, fitting and all-around movements

Which I’m sure everyone of us would appreciate.

But there’s just one little thing

While improvements to the iLBV are more than welcome, I can’t help but question:

What about the field pack?

Because let’s face it; the loaded vest’s irritating.

But the field pack’s at least a hundred times more problematic. It saps your strength, destroys your confidence and generally makes you a zombie with a field pack.

Which leads to the little thing in question.

When is the SAF going to make an improved field pack?