LPAS Lightweight Personal Armor System

LPAS Lightweight Personal Armor System 4LPAS Lightweight Personal Armor System

by Tim Wing, Pieter Thomassen, with Peter Walker and Robert Morgenstern

Hard Body Armor Reference Notes

The Lightweight Personal Armor System (LPAS) was a complete modular personal armor system designed for use by infantry and ground troops. It was scalable to provide varying levels of protection, with the ensemble worn complete or in part. Components broke down into the helmet, the chest and back hard plate, the four arm protective sleeves, the groin protector with suspension belt and the integrated boots with leg protective gaiters.

  • Type: Lightweight Hard Body Armor
  • Year Introduced: 2016
  • Weight: Protection Level I – 7.2 kg, Protection Level II – 9.3 kg, Protection Level III – 13.2 kg

Design

The LPAS consisted of the following components:

Mk. II Enhanced Ground Combat Helmet (EGCH). The EGCH was a made from plastic-ceramic composite, and could defeat all small arms fire below 12.7mm as well as grenade and shell fragments. While it could stop 12.7mm ball ammunition, the concussive effect of such a round would have significant traumatic brain injury (TBI) effects. It could not defeat 12.7mm Saboted Light Armor Piercing (SLAP) ammunition. The EGCH was modular, in that it could be worn with a full face plate with chin and ear protection, or as an open face helmet with integrated eye protective visor. Integrated into the helmet was a combination night vision star-light enhancement and infrared imaging sensor system. The camera for the system was mounted on the upper left portion of the helmet. Imaging from the camera was displayed on the variable-tint photochromic polarized polycarbonate faceplate. Targeting information from weapon mounted “smart sights” could also be displayed on the faceplate, allowing the soldier to engage targets without bring the weapon to his shoulder. This also allowed the soldier to fire from around corners or from behind cover. The helmet had integrated microphone and head set with connectivity via hard wire or 2.4 GHz short-range radio frequency band. This allowed the wearer of the helmet to transmit on either a carried radio transceiver, or he could use it to access and transmit over a radio carried in a vehicle or by another soldier as long as said radio was within 100 meters. This also provided intercom between all soldiers within a platoon, as long as they stayed within the relatively limited range. The headset provided hearing protection through auto damping of the external audio pickup. With the full faceplate and chin/ear protection in place, the EGCH provided nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection via a replaceable filter element. This helmet could be worn with the entire LPAS, or by itself.

LPAS Lightweight Personal Armor System 5Heavy Torso and Shoulder Protective (HTSP) chest plate. The HTSP was the main component of the LPAS. It was a full hard plate armor system that provided protection to the chest, shoulders and back. The shoulder protectors could also be detached from the chest rig. It was a made from the same plastic-ceramic composite as the EGCH helmet, and could defeat all small arms fire below 12.7mm as well as grenade and shell fragments. It could also stop 12.7mm ball ammunition, and had a mitigating effect of the blunt trauma from such a strike. It could not defeat 12.7mm Saboted Light Armor Piercing (SLAP) ammunition. The HTSP provided limited temperature control, by the use of Peltier-electric cooling unit, conducting heat between the thermally conducting inner and outer layers of the breastplate. A simple reversal of the voltage could alternate the armor from heating to cooling the soldier. Between the thermally conducting layers was a thin insulating layer, designed to minimize non-directed heat transfer. The Peltier-electric units were powered by small batteries in the armor units that contain them, and were designed to assist wearer comfort in hot and cold climes. The units were insufficient for protection above 45 and below -25 degrees Celsius.

Forearm Hard Armor (FAHA). The FAHA protected the forearms with the same plastic-ceramic composite as the chest plate and helmet. Being of limited use, the FAHAs were rarely worn in the field.

Groin Protector and Suspension Belt (GPSB). The GPSB provided protection for the genital region with a plastic-ceramic composite cup, and provided support for the integrated boot and leg gaiters. The GPSB was also the main mounting point for ammunition pouches, pistol holsters and other accessories. A typical rifleman in the UEDF TC would carry two magazine pouches on the left and right, a Combat First Aid Kit (C-FAK) and a medium “butt-pack” in the rear.

Integrated Boots with Leg-protective Gaiters (IBLG). The IBLG, derisively called “waders” by most infantrymen, was a soft armor one piece boot and leg ensemble. The boots and gaiters were made from high-modulus polyethylene (HMPE) fibers with plastic-ceramic composite knee-pads. The gaiters and boots provided protection up to non-armor piercing 5.56mm, and poor protection against 7.62mm and all armor piercing ammunition. Even in modern times, it is a high priority to find quality boots for combat, and these are no exception.

LPAS Lightweight Personal Armor System 6The most common configuration of the LPAS was Protection Level I, which included wear of the helmet, chest plate and groin protector. This provided maximum protection to the head and torso, without the added weight of the arm and leg protection. Level I would most commonly be used by dismounted infantry. Protection Level II added the arm guards. This configuration (minus the groin protector) was commonly used by vehicle crewmen who typically had to stand with their upper body exposed from a hatch, such as from the commander’s hatch on a tank. Protection Level III included the entire ensemble. Special Purpose troops would typically wear the LPAS in the Protection Level I (minus) which eschewed used of the shoulder protectors and groin protector.

History

Developed jointly by the UN Spacy and the US Army, the Lightweight Personal Armor System (LPAS, pronounces L-Pass) was an attempt to develop a light-weight hard armor that could protect an individual soldier from the devastating weapons available to infantry both on Earth and Tirol at the time, and to provide some measure of protection from the fragmentation effects of near-misses from mecha-mounted weaponry. Entering service in 2016, the LPAS was far more effective than the UN Spacy’s old HES Hostile Environment and Space Armor (which was never really intended for use by ground combat troops in the first place), and quickly replaced it in most front-line infantry units. After the advent of the Treaty of the Southern Cross, it also enthusiastically adopted by the United Earth Defense Force (UEDF) Tactical Corps and the independent Global Military Police (GMP) for its Enforcement Corps police.

Despite its effectiveness, the LPAS’s days were numbered. Most of the armors in service with the UN Spacy were transferred to the Reconnaissance Expeditionary Force (REF, later United Earth Expeditionary Force) in 2020, and though it continued to be used until the introduction of the CVR-3, it was soon largely overshadowed by the REF’s LPAS-2 flexi-armor in all but the most heavy combat assignments. Furthermore, by 2023, the UEDF Tactical Corps had largely switched to the heavier full-plate body armors, and the LPAS was relegated mostly to light infantry and special purpose units. The GMP kept it in limited use as well, notably with troops assigned to the Robotech Research Center in Japan.

 

 


 

Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. Megazone 23 (R) is the property of A.D. Vision and studios AIC, Artland & Tatsunoko. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.

Original artwork by: Shinji Aramaki, Toshihiro Hirano, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Yasuomi Umetsu and Hiroyuki Kitazume. (Megazone 23)

Acknowledgement is extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized on Robotech Illustrated.

Content by Tim Wing, Peter Walker and Pieter Thomassen, with Rob Morgenstern

Copyright © 2015 Tim Wing, 1999, 1997, 1995 Robert Morgenstern, Pieter Thomassen, Peter Walker