Thursday, March 3, 2011

Hard Headed

The Army may have found a superior material to Kevlar for helmets:

"The helmet is made of a state-of-the-art plastic, but don’t let that fool you. It has stopped zero-degree rifle bullets at point-blank range, and has stopped 7.62mm rounds, as well.

“We had hoped for a 35 percent improvement over the [Advanced Combat Helmet] in terms of ballistic protection and it’s way better than that,” said Col. William Cole, project manager of Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment."
That's really good news if this helmet does produce that kind of performance. I know Marines were way more motivated to go trolling for trouble in Iraq while wearing Small Arm Protective Inserts - or SAPI for short - plates in their Kevlar vests, as it was the first time in US history that our forces had armor that would stop rifle bullets. They would still penetrate Kevlar helmets though, but just knowing that several rounds could hit you square in the chest and you would probably survive was big news in small arms warfare.

The SAPI plates are heavy as hell though; I had serious trouble with them riding around in vehicles, as the weight of 45 lbs. of armor bearing down on your spine with every bump in the road caused excruciating pain, and I had to endure it for sometimes 12 hours at a time. If this plastic helmet material can be used in body armor too, considering that it's lighter, than that would be a tremendous improvement.

Don't think though that lighter armor would mean our Warfighters would end up carrying less weight; there are lots of programs out there that would gladly put extra pounds on the backs of our troops.


Found over at Ace.
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