Ranger Body Armor (RBA) vests were first used in Somalia in 1993 and were used infrequently until ~2005 by US Forces in Iraq, most notably by the 173rd Airborne Brigade.  These vests were originally made for the 75th Ranger Regiment.  The first version had no back plate pocket, which was added after Somalia.  The vests accept PACA style soft body armor panels as well as hard plates in the outer pockets.  The “chip” in the front panel is to allow a rifle to be shouldered.

Sample 1:

Second version with an October 2002 production date in green dominant cordura.  There is a rear plate pocket not present in the Somalia-used examples.

Plate Bag:

Closes with velcro.

Cummerbund:

Like the TG Faust vest, it features elastic material on the cummerbund and side protection is provided using the PACA soft armor inserts. There is velcro on the front plate bag keeping the cummerbund in place, an advancement over the TG Faust design.

Usage Photos:

173rd Airborne:

The RBA was used infrequently by 173rd Airborne soldiers in Iraq, especially towards the beginning. The 173rd is notable for Operation Northern Delay in 2003, the first large scale combat jump since D-Day in WW2 (source: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/airborne4.htm).

More information about 173rd Airborne operations in Iraq: http://www.173rdairborne.com/menuiraq.htm

More photos of 173rd Airborne operations in Iraq: http://www.173rdairborne.com/iraq.htm