The US Air Force (USAF) has started issuing new body armour for female airmen as part of its diversity and inclusion efforts.

Female airmen from the 377th Security Forces Group at Kirtland Air Force Base were among the first to receive the new protective vests designed for women.

According to 377th Security Support Squadron superintendent master sergeant Brianne N Trapani, the new armour is lighter, has a curved chest plate and a shorter torso.

Additionally, it comes with an adjustable back corset that tightens to fit, eliminating the previous ‘one-size-fits-all’ problem.

Tripani said: “Our previous gear did not allow for much freedom of movement.

“So if we were in a situation that required us to run or quickly exit a vehicle, it hindered us greatly. It also put us at risk by wearing gear that was not properly fitted to protect us.”

To date, female personnel used to wear the standard tactical vest, which was originally designed for a male body frame.

Trapani added: “We owe it to our female defenders to outfit them in gear that fits while properly providing comfort and protection in dangerous environments.

“We all do the same job in security forces, we are all one team and having gear that fits our physical features more appropriately is a huge step for inclusivity within this male-dominated career field.”

Currently, around 21% of USAF personnel are women.