Until exoskeletons are deployed the French Felin body armor is the most advanced infrantry system

France deployed the first versions of combat armor with the FELIN combat system.

FÉLIN (Fantassin à Équipement et Liaisons Intégrés, Integrated Infantryman Equipment and Communications) is the name for the French infantry combat system developed by Safran Electronics and Defense.

It combines a modified FAMAS rifle with a host of other electronics, clothing, pouches, and body armour. The helmet is an integral SPECTRA helmet fitted with real-time positioning and information system, and with light amplifiers for night vision. Power sources will be made of two rechargeable Li-ion batteries.

The €1.1bn (FY2012) project will see 22,588 units delivered between 2010 and 2015, at a unit cost of €38,000 (€49,000 including development costs). The system entered service in late 2011, when 300 were deployed to Afghanistan.

The French DGA is in the process of purchasing 8,000 sets of body armor from NFM Group. It is expected that deliveries of the same number of FELIN v1.3 ensembles will be made simultaneously.

Up to 40% lighter than the original, the V1.3 version for the French Army includes new software functionality for units tasked with supporting sharpshooters and mortar teams, a new load carrying structure plus lighter and more modular armor. It features a new combat vest optimized for use of the SitComdé BMS terminal. Plans call for the upgrades to be integrated into new production versions due for delivery early this year.

The main upgrade from V1.2 to V1.3 as comprising the introduction of the next-generation RIF NG tactical handheld radio, which also includes a communications headset, tablet-form End User Device; and and headset; and end user device (EUD) in tablet form; computer processor unit (CPU).

Powered by two battery packs, FELIN V1.3 will also include a helmet-mounted monocular night vision system, feeds of which can be networked to the EUD and CPU for dissemination to tactical operations centers; as well as a BMS for ground commanders based on the French Army’s developmental SCORPION SICS technology.