Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Kevlar or Plastic? New Armor Lighter, Provides Same Protection

Lightweight plastic body armor will replace Kevlar-based protective equipment used by U.S. troops in 2019.
The new Torso and Extremities Protection system, which has been undergoing field testing at bases across the U.S., weighs about 23 pounds -- 25 percent lighter than gear worn today, said Lt. Col. Kathy Brown, a program manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier.
"We are looking at further developing the system," she said. "We think we can lose more weight."
It's unclear exactly how much the new gear will cost; however, Brown said it will be cheaper than the current equipment and offer the same level of protection.
The new armor is designed to offer maximum flexibility and mobility, she said. It can be scaled up or down depending on the mission so troops working in less-risky environments can wear less cumbersome gear, said Doug Graham, PEO Soldier spokesman.
"You can look at your mission and wear as much as you need," he said. "That will allow you to adjust the weight you are carrying to fit what you will be doing."
For lower-risk missions, troops can wear a ballistic combat shirt, which protects the upper back, chest, neck and arms, under their jackets, he said. If a threat increases, they can add more protection, such as ceramic plates and a tactical carrier. more