NRL Researchers Develop Flexible Arm and Leg Blast Armor

2/22/2005 - 8-05w
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Naval Research Laboratory researchers have developed new flexible arm and leg protective armor for marines and soldiers optimizing blast protection, mobility, weight and comfort. This armor should be useful for vehicle crews, breaching parties in urban operations, security and support operations, sentry and checkpoint duty, and roadside patrols.

The armor is designed to reduce the likelihood of severe injuries by protecting against the large number of smaller blast fragments generated by blast weapons and improvised explosive devices. It provides NIJ Level IIA protection to meet this fragmentation objective, while also providing protection against blast pressure waves and thermal flash. Each arm guard weighs 1.6 pounds and attaches to the standard Interceptor armor vest. The pants weight 6.5 pounds including suspenders. The cost is estimated at $1000 per set in full-scale production. Current efforts are focused on scaling-up production and more extensive evaluation by interested units and warfighters in operational and training environments. Options for higher levels of protection are also available.

NRL, the Army Research Laboratory, FS Technology and Oklahoma State University produced this design. They combined information on blast weapon characteristics, combat casualty trends, advice from the military medical communities treating injured soldiers from Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom, soft armor materials ballistic testing, and warfighter feedback. The program is funded by the Office of Naval Research's "Tech Solutions" program office.

NRL body armor photographs

*High resolution versions are available by request

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The U.S. Naval Research Laboratory provides the advanced scientific capabilities required to bolster our country's position of global naval leadership. The Laboratory, with a total complement of approximately 2,500 personnel, is located in southwest Washington, D.C., with other major sites at the Stennis Space Center, Miss., and Monterey, Calif. NRL has served the Navy and the nation for over 90 years and continues to advance research further than you can imagine. For more information, visit the NRL website or join the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.

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