From left to right: the Enhanced Night Vision Goggle-Binocular, the Integrated Head Protective System, and the Mk13 Mod 7 sniper rifle (DoD photos)

You've probably heard the phrase "new year, new you," but that takes on new meaning when it comes to the essential equipment of the U.S. military.

U.S. soldiers and Marines can expect to see a slew of new gear in their kits at the start of the next decade, from improved body armor to better sniper rifles and grenade launchers.

Here's a brief look at the fresh new gear headed downrange to U.S. infantry troops in the new year.

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Military body armor has improved drastically over the last few centuries, and we have the details how.

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U.S. special operations forces are currently field testing a lightweight combat armor designed to cover more of an operator's body than previous protective gear, an official told Task & Purpose.

The armor, called the Lightweight Polyethylene (PE) Armor for Extremity Protection, is one of a handful of subsystems to come out of U.S. Special Operations Command's Tactical Assault Light Operator Suit (TALOS) effort that media outlets dubbed the "Iron Man suit," Navy Lieutenant Cmdr. Tim Hawkins, a SOCOM spokesman, told Task & Purpose on Wednesday.

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Lt. Col. Ginger Whitehead, product manager for Soldier protection equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier, points to the maxillofacial protection on the new Integrated Head Protection System, or IHPS, that saved a Soldier's life recently in Afghanistan when a brick was thrown at his neck. (U.S. Army/Gary Sheftick)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

U.S. Army equipment officials said last week that the service's new helmet system, with includes detachable face and neck protection, saved a soldier's life recently in Afghanistan, blocking a brick that was thrown by an angry mob.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of the world's largest freshwater fish is protected by the natural equivalent of a "bulletproof vest," helping it thrive in the dangerous waters of the Amazon River basin with flexible armor-like scales able to withstand ferocious piranha attacks.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego and University of California, Berkeley on Wednesday described the unique structure and impressive properties of the dermal armor of the fish, called Arapaima gigas. They said their findings can help guide development of better body armor for people as well as applications in aerospace design.

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If diamond are a girl's best friend, then pearls may soon be a soldier's — sort of.

An Army-funded research project has produced a lightweight plastic compound that's both stronger and lighter than steel by "mimicking" the outer coating of peals known as nacre (or mother of pearl), the Army Research Lab announced on Tuesday.

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