A new type of flexible body armor developed through a collaborative effort between the Air Force and the Naval Research Laboratory is 50 percent lighter than current body armor. The design makes the use of a ceramic ball matrix encapsulated in foam material, which is then backed with multiple layers of polyethylene sheets. (U.S. Air Force photo/Marisa Novobilski)
U.S. Air Force: Flexing in the line of fire: Lightweight, flexible body armor for the future force
WRIGHT-PATTERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Ohio (AFNS) -- In the line of fire, protective body armor plays a critical role in survival. Hard-plated, rigid and heavy, today’s National Institute of Justice Type IV body armor -- the kind that protects warfighters against armor piercing bullets -- defends the wearer, but adds weight and bulk that a fast-moving operator could do without.
Engineers at the Air Force Research Laboratory are working to change this.
“Battlefield airmen, special operations forces, pararescue troops … all of these individuals are trying to move fast and fit in tight areas, but they have this rigid, bulky armor to wear,” said 1st Lt. Jason Goins, a materials research engineer in the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate at AFRL. “You can move faster and work more efficiently if you have something that moves and flexes with you.”
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Update: US Military Develops Flexible Body Armor 50% Lighter Than Current Gear (Sputnik)