Osprey Mk IV Ops Panel

This week’s Osprey component is a large panel that clips onto the front of the vest to give the wearer more PALS loops to attach pouches to, known as an ops panel. It is a large rectangular panel in MTP with a full set of loops sewn across the whole of the front:imageThe back of the panel has the hook part of Velcro across the whole of it:imageThis allows it to attach securely to the front of the MK IV Osprey vest, additional support is provided by a pair of loops at the top, each with a press stud on:imageAnd separate T-Bar connectors on the side, each with a Fastex type plastic buckle:imageFour are used for the set, two on each side of the panel. The combination of these T-Bars, the press studs and the Velcro ensure the panel is held very securely to the front of the vest:imageThis secure fastening is essential if the wearer decides to fit pouches with heavy items such as ammunition in them to the front of his vest. The manual gives detailed instructions on the correct sequence to assemble the ops panel:CaptureThe usual stores details and NSN number are on a small label sewn to the back of the panel:imageThis panel is fitted to give extra carrying capacity to the vest, and can be removed and replaced with a pair of cummerbunds if more armour is needed on the wearer’s flanks. Standard operating procedure seems to have varied from unit to unit with some commanders banning pouches form the front of body armour in case an IED turned their contents into more shrapnel over the vital organs. Other commanders did not see this as a problem and were happy for troops to wear pouches on the ops panel, trusting that the Osprey pouches were robust enough and the armour behind them effective enough that this would not be a problem.

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