The USA’s Interceptor OTV (Outer Tactical Vest) Body Armor, and its SAPI/ESAPI ceramic plate inserts, offer a significant improvement over its 1990s predecessors in terms of both weight and protection. After episodic issues with production ramp-up and quality control, this gear is widely fielded with the US Army and several allied militaries (the US Marines replaced it with the MTV). In May 2007, controversy regarding the armor’s effectiveness boiled over in the wake of a TV news feature. The US Army responded with rare public claims about a competing product, even as several high-profile legislators advocated independent civilian tests to ensure that US soldiers were really getting the best system.
Meanwhile, improvements were being made to the OTV system in response to feedback from the field. Hence the Improved OTV, whose Generation II model is now in production.