Army Cuts Body Armor Plate Weight

lighter armorU.S. Army engineers have shrunk the weight of a Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert plate by ten percent, officials announced Monday.

The Army’s Research Laboratory reduced the weight of a size medium Enhanced Small Arms Protective Insert plate from 5.45 pounds to 4.9 pounds as part of the Advanced Body Armor Project. Army officials said the other services as well as Special Forces units would benefit from the research.

In order to reach the 10 percent reduction in weight, Army engineers and scientists worked with industry leaders to make “advances in composites, ceramics and component integration,” the Army said in a release. However, those advances didn’t happen until the Army utilized the ManTech and the Office of the Secretary of Defense’s Defense-Wide Manufacturing Science and Technology programs.

The ManTech program provides funds for the service to partner with defense companies to overcome major manufacturing obstacles. The Army used this money to partner with six commercial manufacturers to reach this breakthrough, although service leaders wouldn’t name them.

Army leaders acknowledged that they’ve received repeated attempts to lighten body armor.

“The armor the Soldier is wearing right now is the best armor we can possibly give them. The one concern that we hear about it — can you make it lighter? That’s the number one request,” said Shawn Walsh, the Agile Manufacturing Technology team leader.

However, he said the ways that engineers had found weighs to drop the weight while still producing a safe plate, weren’t feasible for “mass production and fielding,” Walsh said. In other words, the lighter plates were too expensive.

15 Comments on "Army Cuts Body Armor Plate Weight"

  1. Huh? Polyethilene already cut the weight by like 70%

  2. Still hang your MOLLE gear and ammo and new rifleman radio and backpack and its still darn heavy.

  3. Why the military doesn't use SPECTRA STEEL is beyond me!! Way lighter, stronger that ceramic plates and can take multiple hits in same spot unlike the ceramics which shatter!

  4. "Army officials said the other services as well as Special Forces units would benefit from the research."

    Worst quote evahr, probably uttered (or likely paraphrased–badly) by someone who never humped kit as a Big Army PV2.

    Last I checked, SF wasn't the only organization that could benefit from agility on the battlefield.

  5. Some perspective. The paratroopers of D-Day jumped in with no body armor!

  6. Some editor should read the last paragraph again.

  7. Put this new body armour over an diesel electric exoskeleton with a secure internal atmosphere and you've got IRON MAN 1.0.

  8. It is well known that soldiers have coplained about the weight of armor. The most important thing is that armor protects the soldier from serious internal injuries. It is my hope that this 'new' body armor does not in any way reduce the protection for our beloved soldiers.

  9. Indian Medicine | August 29, 2013 at 1:47 pm | Reply

    This weight reduction will enable a "Dragon Skin" design that really works as I understand.

  10. “We’ve shaved a pound of armor off. So, you’ll be carrying more ammo.”

  11. The most important thing is that armor protects the soldier from serious internal injuries. I hope that this 'new' body armor does not in any way reduce the protection for our beloved soldiers.

  12. Where was the body armor in Vietnam? Star Trek had a force field, what we need is invisible solders or holograms to give the enemy a target to get their position. Assad was set up as he new if he usd chemicals the World would turn on Him, and like the truth about Sadams WMD, the Movie that cause the attack on Bengazy that was defended for months, I guess were expected to believe anything, like Agent Orange only affects foliage and the M-16 was the best weapon they ever produced. No wonder we never lost any wars because we are the good guys trying to free the Earth of tyranny while training, suppling, paying, rebuilding, destroying, killing, educating, feeding, nursing, we have our enemies come to Our Country to live next door and invest as they make better citizen as they were taught by the best and most Honest people on Earth who share everything fairly and evenly, Allah, bless America. Th Home of the brave decision makers, where the banks are to big to fail and only those who work for the State or Federal Government are doing so well that they are the only one's who don't need food stamps.

  13. DKX Armor: Light, buoyant, pistol or rifle styles, 2.9 lbs & 20 oz respectively.

    Check them out: http://www.dkxarmor.com/#page-about-dkx-solutions

    If we can help let us know: info@tostactical.com or Facebook- TOS Tactical

  14. Military working with industry to lighten soldier load and maintain protection.
    How it should be.

  15. READ THE FINE PRINT :However, he said the ways that engineers had found weighs to drop the weight while still producing a safe plate, weren’t feasible for “mass production and fielding,” Walsh said. In other words, the lighter plates were too expensive.

    Until some fat butt, in the rear with the gear general is staring down an enemy horde, we regular grunts will never see " light armor" because of the cost. The technology has been around for years. But it's perfectly ok for the Army to waste $5 BILLION dollars on useless camouflage that would only be effective if you were going up against Helen Keller armed with a potato gun…..

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