Standard Light Armor is composed of two general sections, an inner flexible undersuit, similar to an encounter suit, but made of conventional impact absorbing materials rather than kinetoflexive ones. The outer section is composed of between 10 (poor) and 50 (top shelf) individual pieces of armor. The armor is available in several 'versions' such as aquatic models, high temperature, and arctic environment and are suitable adapted for these roles. Light armor differs from power armor in the fact that it has no assistance to strength or movement, and is the Cosmic Era version of medieval plate or modern combat armor. It is the most common form of protection in the era, and it is the cheapest. Encounter suits offer less protection at greater expense, but nothing prevents a soldier or mercenary from wearing an encounter suit UNDER standard light armor. While certainly expensive, the light armor covers the encounter suit's general weakness against direct hits, and the suit improves the protection offered by the armor (Meta: both armors are stackable)
Standard armor is largely invulnerable to things like being stabbed with a regular knife, or being hit with low calibre or civilian grade firearms. The armor has limitations and cannot stop a direct hit from military grade magnetic weaponry, or high energy weapons. A soldier who is hit by a regular energy weapon or other heavy weapon is likely to be out of the fight, but has a good chance of survival compared to an unarmored soldier.
Gloves and Gauntlets are available, though gloves are much more common than their armored counterparts. A common accessory to the gauntlet is the BraceCom or WristCom; an arm/armor mounted flash computer system. These are used so that the system is protected by the physical arm and armor of the wearer and allows for casual interface with ambient computer systems without holstering a weapon
PiperBoy Technologies is a major supplier of low to middle grade BraceComs, with their Piper2000, Piper3000, and Piper5000 being regular use among Atlantic Federation infantry, corporate security, and private light armor contractors.
Sabatons, more commonly called boots or shoes, almost all SLA includes armored sabotons to protect the feet of the wearer. There are variations available, such as heavier versions, non-metallic, and such for dealing with improvised explosives, booby traps and mines. A less common version is the 'jet boot' which has a jump assisting rocket assembly. These are much more common among holovid armors, and flashy mercenary and bounty hunters as they are frequently dangerous to use.
Helmets are standard issue for SLA, and range in quality from base models that have little more than armored visors and a socket for an air filter cannister to top end helmets with enhanced optics, smartgun links, internal communications systems and so forth.
ANH-1 Standard Helmet: basic 'bronze' level helmet that provides ballistic and face protection. The face plate can be removed from the helmet, and given the poor vision, it frequently is. The ANH is commonly used by garrison quality troops in the Atlantic Federation, Australia, and in serial number filed off versions across Africa and Asia.
Barbuta - A variation on the basic helmet, the TPM-Barbuta is a cosmetically altered ANH-1 to have the face plate permanently removed, but enlarges the cheek and nose guards to better protect the face. The Barbuta type helmet is commonly adorned with wings, fins, and flanges for again, purely cosmetic reasons.
The Barbuta II is a completely different helmet, and retains the flanged design of the regular barbuta but improves the helmet and adds the face plate back. The helmet is often called the 'coffee can' by its detractors.
ESB-53 Improved Helmet: the basic 'silver' level helmet, the ESB-53 has a unibody construction, built in rebreather and air purifier, short range comm system, and a three phase optical enhancement system (typically normal, low light, and infrared). It is common for silver level equipment to have infrared pigmentation, to go with the helmet's visual capability.
ATC-14 'Circlet': the Circlet is a popular high end helmet that has enhanced communications, and a standard smartgun link. The helmet is recognizable from target acquisition 'jewel' mounted on the upper right side. The jewel is a sensor that supplies information between the helmet, the targeting computer and the smartgun to make the soldier very accurate with his weapon.
Pauldrons are a common and inexpensive addition to an armor suit. Pauldrons are used for either a visible indicator of rank or specialization, or to make the armor look more impressive and imposing. The pauldron does offer an area of space that can be used to house a small device or accessory. There are CommSuit pauldrons that carry a communications computer that is generally superior to the helmet commlink, but well beneath the ability of a backpack system. There are also MarkerLight pauldrons that work as a tracking and telemetry system for tracking the trooper, and frequently a camera and CogNet link.
Some more theatrical armors have a cape that is attached to a double pauldron, but this is largely the domain of holovid drama and action series and bounty hunters and mercenaries. Police issue SLA frequently have single and double pauldrons to indicate rank, or accomplishment.
The relatively high mass armor limits the amount of other gear a SLA trooper can carry. Once armed with regular weaponry, there is little if any 'room' left for supplies and non-combat gear. The SLA does have the ability to mount a light backpack, generally in the 20 pound range. The most common backpack is the Six-pack, a short duration camping kit named for the resemblance to a six pack of beer. The pack holds 6 drink containers, a medical kit and dehydrated food rations for two days.
The CommPak is a 20 pound communications system with self contained power supply, a commpak typically has satellite based communications, and can function as a temporary node for extending CogNet access. CommPaks are a hot commodity on the black market due to their CogNet interface ability, highly mobile and desireable for hackers.
The MedPak is a micro sized first aid system that has a Medic-Aid Synthetic intelligence system, and the equipment needed for everything from splinting broken limbs to removing battlefield shrapnel. Without the MASIS it is a bioscanner, mutli-use hypodermic sprayer and a box of knives, saws, and other basic medical tools. With the MASIS an infantry grunt can do front line triage and a registered nurse can do basic surgery.
The ReconPak contains a small collapsible drone, roughly 3 foot wingspan when unfolded, and the communications equipment to control and observe through the drone. These drones typically only carry cameras and light sensor systems. The pack has a small power cell to recharge the drone.
The BatteryPak is a a 30 pound battery cell with a hardened case and access ports for charging. Batterypaks are either used a platoon support unit for downtime, or as a power supply for troopers carrying energy weapons such as lasers, masers and particle weapons.
The Explosives Pack is a grenade holder and dispenser, holding between 20 and 40 explosive devices. The most common are the roughly spherical type grenade, but there are dart, frisbee, and other odd shaped explosives. The explosives pack is a poor man's grenade launcher.
The standard light armor comes with an assortment of belts, holsters and accessories. There are belts for carrying things like conventional grenades and explosives, holsters for sidearms and ammunition, and other things that a soldier would need in the field.
Battlefield Tunic: wearing a tunic over light armor is often an effective deterrent against hostiles targeting weak points in an armor suit, as well as frequently concealing the condition of the armor beneath. Tunics are very common in arctic and urban suits, as well as tropic suits where they function as rainbreakers.
Spikes and Blades: it is not uncommon for light armor to be modified in the field to carry sharp spikes and blades both for intimidation and close quarters combat. This is typically done with basic welding or industrial epoxy in the field and with varying degrees of material. There are a few companies that will modify armor aftermarket with all the spikes, spines, fins and claws a buyer wants. These armors are not used by professional forces or standing militaries.
SmartGun Link: the SmartGun system can be added to almost any armor by means of a shoulder mounted sensor that integrates into the helmet and gauntlet of any suit of light power armor. The link has a small 'turret' cluster of sensors and moves around as it acquires targets and dispenses them to the firearm controller and the helmet. The effect of the the SmartGun system is an effective targeting reticle in the Heads up display of a helmet or cybernetic eye/brain implant that shows A. where the gun is directly pointed B. where the projectile is likely to strike and an estimated margin of error.
Melee Weapon Holder: melee weapons remain in use even in the era of lasers and rail guns, and to accomodate hyperedge blades, and other more basic weapons, there are belts and holsters for the swords, axes, hammers and other weapons used to fight in close quarters.
Anti-Riot: Anti-Riot Standard Light Armor in intended for use by corporate and paramilitary forces in the control and dispersal of hostile crowds. The armor is highly resistant to low velocity projectiles and attacks such as conventional civilian firearms, knives and other improvised weapons. AR armor tends to be black, and is commonly used by organizations such as SWAT, urban special forces and the like. It does not have a backpack attachment, and typically has a basic helmet lacking fancy optics or smartgun technology. Principally made of ferroplastic, Anti-Riot armor is highly vulnerable to lasers and other energy weapons, though fire based weapons like molotov cocktails are thwarted by a flame resistant coating.
Reactive Scale: Reactive Scale armor is a rare and expensive form of light armor. It retains the standard arm and leg greaves and light helmet but instead of a rigid chest and back plate, the torso, hips, and upper arms are covered in a layer of composite armor scales that are set into a kinetoreflexive material that is loose and flexible until something strikes it, where then it becomes a solid shell. Reactive Scale is generally only used by elite and special forces, augmented commandos and other operatives who require a much more flexible armor than the standard composite plate.
Aquatic Standard: Underwater armor is designed to have the SCUBA equipment integrated into the backpack position and cannot carry any other backpack. The armor is also equipped with a ballast system, and things like fin boots, or tow alongs to aid in underwater movement.
Firebat: Firebat armor is constructed around the handling of heat and open flame. Thermoablative and flame retardant materials are used, and almost all firebat type armors have some sort of cooling system. Firebats are used in fire fighting and rescue, but are also used by light infantry armed with flamers, flamethrowers, or energy weapons.
Arctic/Cold Weather: The opposite of the Firebat, A/CW gear is designed and made with the intention of keeping the wearer warm in the coldest situations. This type of armor also generally has ice cleats in the sabotons and glare suppressors in the helmet.
Standard Light Armor has been in production for centuries. Some manufacturers, such as Imperial Armament and Armor (IAA) of England have been producing personal light armor since the days of the Resource Wars. Most corporations and megacorporations have either produced their own armor in house through their security departments or have sublicensed or subcontracted armor designs that they produce.
Imperial Armament and Armor has been a leading supplier of infantry arms and armor to England for the last 250 years. It created the first basic fully enclosed combat helmet and while they did not invent the smartgun system, IAA did create the shoulder mounted smartgun sensor. IAA has a reputation for less than excellent work. The phrase IAA symbol of satisfaction is generally meant that expectations will not be met.
McTeirnan & Hopkins is the somewhat Mad Max producer of combat armors for Australia and parts of Indo-China. M&H or McH has a very distinct stylist approach to making armors, leaving them with rough edges and plenty of places for carrying combat trophies (scalps, skulls, etc). They are a leading producer of mercenary armors, and despite the brutal welded iron appearance, the armors they make are of the best quality.
Johnston Armored Enterprises is a Federation Company that makes exotic and top end armors for the Federation megacorporations and security companies. JAE has several contracts for the Federation military, Union Aerospace and dozens of smaller business partners. Unbeknownst to these parties, Johnston is a secret supplier of armor suits to Amerikka Command and its allies.
Benthic Production, formerly Benthic Petroleum, is a major seacology developer, and is the leading manufacturer of aquatic SLAB suits, as well as underwater hardsuits for industrial and construction use. Its armors are well known for their bright yellow color and overall build quality, but substandard communications systems.
Light armor is by no means new, and most of the armors currently in use can trace a heritage back to the leather and plate armors of the First Dark Age. The science behind the armor hasn't changed in 1,000 years, but the materials in it have. Given the effectiveness of weaponry in the Petroleum and Resource Wars, little emphasis was placed on infantry scale armor. It was deemed to be too expensive to produce adequate armor against the weapons of the day, and that era didn't have the same shortages of population and manpower that plague the Cosmic Era.
The Second Dark Age saw the revaluation of human life after the population contraction, and the advent of ferroplastics. The two combined to create a revolution in personal body armor. While power armor and mecha were making awkward strides in the post-tank world, the regular infantryman was upgraded to Armored Infantry, and it ranged from special light gear for scouts and spies as and up to heavy bomb-proof suits.
The Atlantic Federation pioneered the modern suit in the European nations, and it was forged there in the regular conflicts with Armas terrorists and the nascent Eurasian Alliance. The suit and composite materials technology rapidly spread. The Eurasian Alliance and Pacific Rim Coalition were quick to field their own versions, and the nations that were not making their own, were very quickly able to purchase them through corporate and megacorp channels.
Civilians can purchase a cheap SLAB suit for a few thousand credits/dollars though most nations require a registration and permit.
Standard Light Ablative/Ballistic armor is made of a general purpose ferroplastic composite. This differs from conventional ferroplastic commercial armor in that lighter, fire-retardant plastics are used, and the plastic layering is used for the ballistic protection, while the light metallic component is used to reflect or diffuse energy weapon hits. The downside of the general purpose material is that it is still vulnerable to high velocity (military grade magnetic weaponry, armor buster rounds, linear guns) munitions, and high energy weapons such as particle cannons are able to blast through it with ease. Thankfully, very few SLAB armor wearers encounter such heavy ordnance.
Light armor is in regular use in all of the world's militaries. It is relatively cheap to produce, easy to maintain, and if damaged easy to repair. Most police and security forces have standard issue light body armor, and even if a full set isn't worn, it is easy for a police officer to equip a light armor chestplate, like a bullet proof vest worn in the Petroleum Age. Reservists, artillery crews, vehicle crews, and other non-front line fighting troops typically equip light body armor. Front line soldiers are typically equipped with full power armor suits, stealth or recon gear, or are in mecha of varying sizes.