Published: 04th February 2015
:: SafeGuard Armour ::
Do The Armed Forces Need Ballistic Hard Armour Plates in Body Armour?
Soldiers operating in such dangerous locations as Afghanistan and Syria need body armour they can depend on. To provide effective protection, armour must be designed for the specific climate, environmental factors, and dangers soldiers are likely to encounter: with today's forces fighting terrorism in hot, dry, high-risk locations, their armour must be lightweight yet strong enough to protect against common ballistic threats.
Since the 1980s, armed forces have used Body Armour made from Kevlar for protection. Military armour has evolved in recent years, moving from the Interceptor vest to the more streamlined, lightweight Modular Tactical Vest (MTV) and the Scalable Plate Carrier. As armour continues to evolve in exciting and innovative ways, heavy ballistic plates are likely to play less of a role - troops need to be as mobile as possible, without sacrificing safety. Kevlar now allow soldiers to be protected against certain ammunition types without the need for plates. With that in mind, when do soldiers need to add plates to their armour?
Aramid Fibres and Mobility
Terrorists and insurgents in Syria and Afghanistan gain access to more and more advanced weaponry, from assault rifles to RPGs: the more well-equipped they are with deadly weapons, the better-protected soldiers need to be when engaging them. As a para-aramid synthetic fibre, Kevlar is five times stronger than steel, and can be woven and layered to stop multiple types of ammunition, including 9mm and .357 SIG. While this is inadequate for more extreme situations, such armour is ideal for locations in which gunfire is expected to pose a low level of risk - patrolling areas with little evidence of violent activity or hostility against troops, for example. Kevlar is also flameproof, able to protect troops from fire and blasts. Soldiers can take advantage of ballistic panels for the groin, the neck, and shoulders – the MTV features all three elements. The Modular Tactical Vest can also be removed quickly and easily, though some soldiers have complained that the previously used Interceptor armour was actually designed for more simple removal. This only highlights the importance of ease-of-use and convenience: when operating in the field, soldiers cannot be slowed down by their armour.
Soldiers will need to wear ballistic plates to defend themselves when expecting rifle fire - vests without steel or ceramic reinforcement cannot withstand such rounds of 7.62mm design, or .30-06 calibre armour-piercing projectiles. While Kevlar is woven tightly and arranged in multiple layers, if a bullet has a high-enough velocity, then it will puncture the vest, tearing through the protective fibres. Rifle fire can travel at around 847 m/s, and only steel or ceramic plates have enough stopping power to absorb their impact and halt their penetration. Luckily, these plates can be added and removed in a simple, fast process.
However, while thicker padding and plates mean more protection, they also mean vests are bulkier and heavier. This can affect a soldier's mobility and agility (whilst also adding their discomfort in already-hot conditions), and so these should only be worn when expecting high-velocity gunfire. If troops are unable to move as freely as they need to whilst being fired upon, then they may be more likely to make mistakes and take hits. As armour continues to evolve, it will blend ballistic protection with lightweight materials, allowing for easy removal and unencumbered mobility.
SafeGuard Armour Ltd
Body armour company and armor designers www.SafeGuardArmour.co.uk are now a worldwide brand that sell body armour not only to the military but to Law enforcement, Close protection and even Civilians. They are also the proud owners of www.SafeGuardClothing.co.uk an online body armour retailer in the United Kingdom.