Print 32 comment(s) - last by Nichols1986.. on Dec 9 at 9:05 AM

Future body armor will integrate sensors and gear into design

The only thing between soldiers in a combat situation and bullets fired by enemy soldiers is often body armor. The body armor that soldiers wear today is very heavy with the vest alone weighing up to 30 pounds.

The U.S. Army is working on reducing the weight of the vests while designing them to provide more protection against small arms fire. Research is being conducted on making better body armor that is safer and allows greater movement. In March, students at The University of Virginia designed a new type of body armor that is lighter and weighs less than the armor currently in the field with soldiers.

The U.S. Army is very focused on improved body armor and is working to develop next generation ballistic plates for body armor that it calls the X-Sapi program. So far, the Army has ordered 120,000 of the plates but has yet to issue the gear to soldiers in the field.

Aviation Week quotes Lt. Col. Jon Rickey saying that the new plates are designed to defeat an X-threat that has not yet fully emerged. Rickey won’t say exactly what that X-threat is , he only says that the army is attempting to get ahead of what is expected to appear on the battlefield. Some reports peg the X-threat as higher velocity rounds and armor piercing rounds.

The new X-Sapi plates are reportedly constructed of the same materials as the current  E-Sapi plates. The new plates differ in how the materials are put together. The reason the new plates aren’t in the field already is that they reportedly add half a pound to the weight the solider carries. Half a pound may not sound like much, but on top of what the soldiers already carry, it is a lot.

The Government Accountability Office launched an investigation into the reliability of body armor worn by American troops in 2007. The GAO found that the testing procedures used for the plates were flawed. The Army says that it is still in the testing phase with the new plates and is taking the data from the different phases of testing and making a report to offer to the GAO.

The new X-Sapi plates are not as far as protective body armor can go says Rickey. He said, "We’ve only tapped into about 40% of where the industry can go in terms of HMW-PE fiber. In aramid fibers, they’re continuing to look at ways to improve the resin and unidirectional weave to give them more capability at a light weight."

New generations of body armor are also being designed that will incorporate a myriad of sensors and other electronics into the armor. This will help to reduce the load a solider needs to carry into combat. One area that the military is focusing on is helmets. Some new helmets have sensors inside that can help find safer designs after an accident or an attack.

New body armor designs are also working to incorporate the Land Warrior electronics equipment into the design. Land Warrior allows the field commander to track the location of friendly soldiers using helmet-based screens and sensors in friendly troops' body armor.

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In my life time?
By ashegam on 12/7/2009 10:37:39 AM , Rating: 1
The sooner we make drone soldiers and the sooner we get out space weapons going (star wars), the safer everyone will be.

RE: In my life time?
By ksherman on 12/7/2009 11:24:53 AM , Rating: 1
So we can wage wars without having to consider the human costs on our own side? So we just air drop a couple thousand robotic 'soldiers' into Iran and call it a day? where is the accountibility? what is the deterrent? The only outcome of that is a sort of rule-by-fear, because we will have no fear of getting involved. Sure, it sucks putting people out there ( I get that), but if we take the people on our side out of the equation, whose to stop the war machine? Did American troops in WWII cry over every German soldier killed like they did for every man in their own company?

Sorry, that's just the reality. If that happens, I think it will be a dark day, not a bright one.

RE: In my life time?
By SublimeSimplicity on 12/7/2009 11:55:19 AM , Rating: 5
What stops us from just dropping a nuclear bomb anywhere today?

Peace through overwhelming force (or fear as you say) is what has allowed us to go 6 decades without a WWIII.

RE: In my life time?
By RGGecko on 12/7/2009 12:53:34 PM , Rating: 4
We could use computer simulations instead of real weapons, and the people calculated as casualties could voluntarily report to disintegration chambers to die, but our culture and infrastructure would survive.... unless some meddlesome alien race blows up our computers to force their morality on us.

Sorry, geekish childhood flashback

RE: In my life time?
By Manch on 12/7/2009 2:23:29 PM , Rating: 2

Blow up computers to force my morality on you and hook up with hot blonde alien girl


Let that hot piece disintegrate so you dont have to rebuld a townehouse.

Yeah, F your townehouse and consider your computers destroyed!

That was one of my favorite episodes!

RE: In my life time?
By ksherman on 12/7/2009 3:28:23 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, a Stargate reference!

RE: In my life time?
By G2cool on 12/7/2009 3:51:47 PM , Rating: 2
*plants head in palm and silently despises Stargate*

RE: In my life time?
By treesloth on 12/7/2009 5:44:46 PM , Rating: 3
Duh... it's Star Wars, dummy...

RE: In my life time?
By dodjer42 on 12/7/2009 8:51:29 PM , Rating: 4
Duh... it's Star Wars, dummy...

Wrong again.

Star Trek (Original): Series 1, Episode 23:

RE: In my life time?
By Redwin on 12/8/2009 1:11:56 PM , Rating: 2
I got this right away, for shame geeks!

Was one of the better original star trek episodes. (ie - one of the few where the ENTIRE plot wasn't centered around Kirk punching 3,273 aliens) :)

RE: In my life time?
By Reclaimer77 on 12/7/2009 3:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
I think you bring up some good points, and we should hear you out instead of downrating you into oblivion. It's a valid concern that if one, or both sides, no longer had to commit real lives in an engagement that things could get out of hand.

RE: In my life time?
By ksherman on 12/7/2009 8:10:01 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks, guess we are alone in that... Haha.

RE: In my life time?
By elgueroloco on 12/8/2009 4:46:13 PM , Rating: 2
If that happens, I think it will be a dark day, not a bright one.

Maybe dark for people like you, who probably sit all wars out and cry about them, instead of getting off your ass and defending your country.

For people like me, who have been out to war, I'd much rather they send robots to die than my fellow Americans. As for the other side, I don't give a sh-t. If they die, that's their problem. If they don't want to die, they should not go to war with us.

You're right that nobody was crying over here about dead Nazi's, and why should we? They were NAZI'S. Whether they volunteered or were drafted, they were all actively participating in something incredibly evil.

Go tell a war widow your theory about how it's better that we sent her husband to die than it would have been to send robots and see what she thinks about it. I'm sure she'll admire your philosophical insight.

By drinkmorejava on 12/7/2009 11:44:57 AM , Rating: 4
I hope it weighs less if it's lighter.

RE: ???
By KingofL337 on 12/7/2009 12:07:43 PM , Rating: 3
"that is lighter and weighs less than the armor currently in the field with soldiers."

I was like WTF?

RE: ???
By KentState on 12/7/2009 12:34:09 PM , Rating: 3
Might be referring to how the material breathes.

RE: ???
By stonemetal on 12/7/2009 3:01:04 PM , Rating: 5
that is lighter and weighs less than the armor currently in the field with soldiers. ...

The reason the new plates aren’t in the field already is that they reportedly add half a pound to the weight the solider carries.

Evidently it is some of that new math. Where weighs less and lighter means it weighs about a half pound more.

RE: ???
By treesloth on 12/7/2009 5:44:05 PM , Rating: 3
Heh, I came in to mention that... It seems repetitive and redundant.

will it say " maximum armor "
By cokbun on 12/7/2009 10:37:06 AM , Rating: 5
or my favourite " cloak engaged "

RE: will it say " maximum armor "
By Nfarce on 12/7/2009 11:08:21 AM , Rating: 3
Can it, Psycho!

RE: will it say " maximum armor "
By Woobagong on 12/7/2009 11:29:21 AM , Rating: 4
or my favourite " cloak engaged "

Sneaky sneaky, how rude. But funny though.

"Did you hear that?"
"Naaah, 'twas nothing."
*Gleeful grin*

RE: will it say " maximum armor "
By cokbun on 12/7/2009 7:35:07 PM , Rating: 2
iis a darkmaan !

As long as
By FITCamaro on 12/7/2009 12:30:23 PM , Rating: 1
Democrats control the House and Senate, it doesn't matter if they develop better armor. They'll never fund it going out to the troops because it'll be expensive.

RE: As long as
By rcc on 12/7/2009 12:48:53 PM , Rating: 5
Just tout it as being "green", it'll go through.

RE: As long as
By Iaiken on 12/7/09, Rating: 0
RE: As long as
By m1ldslide1 on 12/7/2009 2:06:53 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah because the democrats hate the troops. What a tool.

RE: As long as
By xmichaelx on 12/7/2009 3:26:02 PM , Rating: 2
I think you're confusing your political parties; Democrats are happy to spend all the money you give them (and more on top of that!)

Republicans, on the other hand, would rather give us each $300 than spend a dime to protect troops in the field: The lack of appropriate body/vehicle armor was consistently THE biggest complaint by U.S. troops against the Bush administration.

RE: As long as
By Shining Arcanine on 12/7/2009 5:57:28 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, Democrats do not want to spend anything on the military at all. Republicans are more willing to make expenditures.

As for President Bush, he being a socialist, like our current socialist president, is not very representative of the Republican party. President Reagan was much more representative.

cough dragonskin cough
By djkrypplephite on 12/9/2009 12:02:29 AM , Rating: 2
it's good enough for CIA agents, but not for the military . . . right . . .

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