Experts say the PLA is conducting more and more real-combat oriented training and drills, and the soldiers should have body armor. Credit: CTV.

In keeping with the Chinese People’s Liberation Army’s (PLA) plan to enhance its combat readiness, it announced a proposal to procure a whopping 1.4 million units of high-quality body armor with plates for a limit price of about 13 billion yuan (US$1.85 billion), Global Times reported.

According to the 2019 edition of China’s defense white paper, the PLA has about two million personnel, and the PLA Army is only a part of it, meaning every frontline army soldier could get one of these armor suits, with extra in reserve, analysts said.

The PLA is holding open tenders to procure 930,000 units of plates for universal bulletproof vests and 467,000 units of plates for enhanced bulletproof vests, according to two statements released on weain.mil.cn, the Chinese military’s weapon and equipment procurement website.

A regular plate unit should cost under 7,950 yuan, or 7.4 billion yuan in total, and an enhanced unit less than 12,900 yuan, or 6 billion yuan in total, the report said.

Each plate unit consists of two bulletproof plates, and the plate manufacturer will assemble the plates into the vests, which are not included in these procurements, before delivery, the report said.

Song Zhongping, a military expert and TV commentator, told the Global Times that the procurement had the lives of Chinese soldiers in mind, as the armor can keep casualties to a minimum, the report said.

The PLA is conducting more and more real-combat oriented training and drills, and the soldiers should always wear body armor as if they were in a real war to make the exercises more real, Song said.

Chinese body armor is of high quality and relatively low cost, Song said, noting that about 70% of the international body armor market is made up of Chinese products.

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