Stronger, Lighter, Better Body Armor
By David Hambling
Source: Aviation Week & Space Technology
Rand recommends using software that would indicate optimal protection in a given situation, rather than automatically issuing the heaviest armor available. It tested a system that analyzes various parameters and says it is possible to create a smartphone app for the task. This app would allow a field commander to select a military occupation specialty, threat level and the percentage of injuries that should not exceed three on the maximum abbreviated injury scale. The app would then provide an appropriate body-armor protection level.
The report acknowledges that full modular armor would be a logistical challenge, especially if multiple plates are provided for each soldier.
Lighter armor will contribute to more mobile and capable troops and will help them stay cooler. Moreover, recent Navy research suggests that reducing loads can improve troops' cognitive ability.
“With continued weight reductions and better armor placement, we are expecting operational capability to increase by 20-30% over the next three years,” says Mackiewicz.