Armor

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U.S. Army scientists are working with a new database of the human body to ensure uniforms and equipment fit female and male soldiers better.

The Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center, or NSRDEC, completed the latest comprehensive anthropometric survey of soldiers, called ANSUR II, in 2012.

The ANSUR II 3-D Shape Database uses three-dimensional shapes and contour data to improve the fit of clothing and equipment for warfighters. It incorporates the latest Army anthropometric survey data and 3-D whole body scans, providing a searchable platform for the data and the 3-D shapes.

The previous survey was completed in 1988.

The 2012 survey set out to address changes in Army personnel body size and shape, and the resulting data showed that soldiers have increased in overall body girth since 1988. The new study also set out to document the sizing needs of the increasing number of women serving in the military.

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Body-Armor-600x400A research team at MIT funded by the U.S. Army has developed a flexible armor using fish scales as inspiration, according to a study published by the Royal Society of Chemistry.

Produced by a 3-D printer, the material is a scale design that offers both flexibility and protection. The finished product is still in development and much more complex, but put simply, the outer layers are rigid and the under layers are more flexible and adaptive to the body.

The U.S. Army Research Office is the agency funding work done by the MIT mechanical engineer Stephan Rudykh. The famous engineering university has the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies on campus.

Army leaders have pushed for advances in materials to protect soldier as the service looks to lighten the load of soldiers. The Army has made strides to make body armor more form fitting, but this scale design would yield a major breakthrough in terms of comfort and weight. [click to continue…]

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U.S. Army scientists are trying to show how better-fitting body armor can improve a soldier’s performance.

Members of the Anthropology and Human Factors Teams at the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center are conducting a range-of-motion and encumbered anthropometry study to better understand the link between fit and performance with the Improved Outer Tactical Vest Gen III.

“We have this belief that if the fit of the body armor is really good, then the performance is going to be maximized,” Dr. Hyeg joo Choi, the principal investigator for the study, said in an Oct. 9 Army press release. “So the question is how can we quantify a good fit so that soldiers’ performance is maximized?”

To help answer that question, Choi and her fellow researchers collected measurements from 23 soldiers at Natick, including 21 males and two females.

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Enduring FreedomCommon sense tells you that wearing your helmet and body armor in combat will increase your odds of survival, but British Army researchers said evidence to objectively demonstrate the advantage of body armor is scarce.

A British medical unit mapped the surface wounds of all NATO and Afghan troops treated at the field hospital at Camp Bastion, Afghanistan, from July 8 to October 12, 2012. The doctors and nurses compared the wounds with the body armor the soldiers wore.  They also mapped the wounds of those who did not have the protective helmet or armor on at the time they were hit.

And what they found was that troops wearing a helmet were 2.7 times less likely to sustain a fragmentation wound to the head than those that were unprotected. Body armor made it 4.1 times less likely that the soldier would suffer a fragmentation wound to the chest or abdomen, while a pelvis protector improved the wearer’s odds against a wound to the pelvic area by 10 times. [click to continue…]

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LAS VEGAS — Point Blank Enterprises Inc., a top supplier of body armor to the U.S. military, is out with a new series of ballistic vests that are tougher and lighter than existing products, company officials said.

The so-called Alpha Elite series comes in two versions: the Level II Elite concealable and the Level IIIA Alpha-1 tactical. The latter is 31 percent thinner and 23 percent lighter, yet 5 percent stronger than previous designs, according to Michael Foreman, vice president of government and international sales at the Pompano Beach, Fla.-based company. [click to continue…]

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PMA_202_AE_vests1The U.S. Navy is working on an improved survival vest that’s designed to provide more ballistic protection for aviators while making it more comfortable to wear.

The redesigned Aircrew Endurance Survival Vest recently passed initial operating capability, a key milestone in the development of development of the life-saving equipment, the service announced in a Dec. 18 press release. The new vest is scheduled to achieve full operational capability by early 2016.

The upgraded AE survival vest provides improved ballistic-protection, superior load distribution and a new universal color for deployment in a wider variety of terrains, Navy officials said.

“Under the Aircrew Endurance program, the Navy will field a family of products all focused on reducing physical fatigue and stress during longer missions now being conducted by Navy and Marine Corps aircrew,” said Capt. Nora Burghardt, program manager at the Navy’s Aircrew Systems Program Office.

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TALOSAdm. William McRaven, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, has made it clear that he wants to build an Iron Man suit for special operators that will repel bullets and offer super human strength.

It’s been unclear how soon that Iron Man suit may be a reality. That is until Monday when the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command’s official Twitter page stated the U.S. wanted a contract for the suit by next fall and for full field testing to take place in “about four years.” This was written prior to linking to an article about the Iron Man suit. [click to continue…]

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