Russian military to receive enhanced body armor amid Ukraine conflict

Rostec announced on Monday that production is underway on the latest iteration of its “Obereg” (Amulet) body armor system. The new version features over 50% more coverage area to better shield soldiers.

Russia’s armed forces are set to be equipped with upgraded body armour offering significantly increased protection against bullets and shrapnel, according to the state corporation behind the new design.

Rostec announced on Monday that production is underway on the latest iteration of its “Obereg” (Amulet) body armour system. The new version features over 50% more coverage area to better shield soldiers.

Touted as providing a “BR-4” protection class, the enhanced armour is rated to stop 7.62mm and 5.45mm armour-piercing bullets fired from automatic weapons. Its ceramic plates and aramid fibre packaging aim to ensure robustness even in extreme weather from -40°C to +40°C (-40°F to 104°F).

While Rostec did not mention specifics, the upgraded body armour appears intended for use by Russian troops engaged in the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Intense combat has raged for over 15 months, generating heavy casualties on both sides.

Military analysts say the new armour system could provide increased protection for Russian ground forces facing fierce Ukrainian resistance reinforced with Western-supplied weapons and ammunition. At the same time, it remains uncertain how quickly and how many soldiers will receive the gear issued across Russia’s massive military.

Robust body armour has been a critical provision for both Russian and Ukrainian troops battling in urban areas and trenches across eastern and southern Ukraine. Dramatic accounts have emerged of lives saved by protective gear stopping rounds and shrapnel.

Russia’s defence industrial base has faced challenges from sanctions restricting access to imported materials and components. But Rostec, the state conglomerate producing the Obereg armour, maintains wide-ranging domestic capabilities.

Moscow’s decision to significantly enhance protective gear for troops hints at preparation for a protracted attritional conflict in Ukraine, even amid recent Russian setbacks and leadership shakeups. Supplying forces with better armour may provide a needed morale and tactical boost.