It's a Ceramic plate with IIIA soft body armor (acording to Frontier)
I bought a set and yes, you can cut the panels out, then cut the plates and soft armor out as well.
I cut mine out because I wanted to inspect the plates for impact damage. The plates themselves are glued to the soft armor, so I put them back into the nylon panels and stuffed them into a Condor plate carrier. The plates themselves are very large and the front has "operator cuts" but just barely. It will prevent you from getting a "proper" isosceles stance/grip when using a pistol but nothing that is unmanageable. The back plate is a large rectangle with a "hump" in the middle for what I guess would be your spine when you sit down.
Mine was issued and did not smell, but it did have what appeared to be coffee spilled on the front if it.
Quite happy with the purchase I might add!
I'd definitely recommend anyone wanting to get started in Body armor to look here. Once I save up for polymer plates, I will likely replace the ceramic ones.