In 2016 the British Army began replacing its Osprey IV body armour with a new system of integrated armour, pouches, helmet and accessories called Virtus. This system was revolutionary at the time and was designed to be scalable to allow soldiers to adapt it easily based on their need. It was not altogether successful and there were reports of problems appearing in the press at the time. Having said that, the system is still in service today and as such some items are extremely hard to find on the surplus market as they are still in everyday service. Other components, however, are out there and I am slowly building up a collection of some of the easier to source elements which will be covered on the blog in the coming months.
As mentioned previously, the Virtus system extends beyond just body armour and load bearing equipment and today we are starting by looking at the ‘Wolf Spider’ goggles used with Virtus:
The Virtus manual describes them as:
The Wolfspider Goggle consists of an interchangeable protective lens that locks into the goggle frame with an adjustable headband. The model you have received includes 3 lenses thhat all provide 100% UV protection.
The adjustable head strap keeps goggles secure during rigorous activity. Your kit also includes a microfibre cleaning pouch/cloth, an anti-reflective sleeve and a rugged storage bag.
The protective sleeve is worn at the back of the goggles when they are on the head:
However when not in use, the sleeve slips around to the front and covers the eyepieces:
The headband is elastic and has a pair of plastic buckles to adjust it to size:
A small union flag is sewn to the strap and the original owner has written his zap number underneath:
As mentioned above, the goggles should come with three lenses, a clear, a yellow and a smoked version. I only have the single smoked lens with my pair and these were for use in the daytime to cut glare:
The back of the goggles has padding to ensure a comfortable fit to the face:
A set of prescription lenses can be fitted inside the goggles for those who normally wear glasses.
The Virtus set is definitely going to be a long term project as some bits are out of my price range at the moment so I will be waiting until they are released onto the surplus market, but in the meantime I will pick up what I can and bring it to you over the coming months. The Virtus system has a superb user’s manual which will be of great assistance in both tracking the pieces down and writing them up for you. If you are interested in the system, I can highly recommend tracking the manual down as a first step!