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In the final days of America's involvement in Vietnam, the US Army developed a lighter version of the M69 to overcome the menace of heat exhaustion. Body armour forms an impervious barrier, preventing heat-loss by moisture evaporation, and while this may be desirable in cold climates it places a severe heat load on troops in hot ones. Designated Body Armor, Lightweight, Fragmentation Protective Vest with 4 Collar, M-jiN, the new-armour was made of ballistic nylon and featured articulated shoulder pads for greater flexibility. It was not adopted because of a Joint Operational Requirement for a vest for both the Army and Marine Corps weighing only jibs but with the same protection level as the M69. The Army's Natick Research and Development Command produced a modified vest standardised in 1975 as the Body

Armor, Fragmentation Protective Vest (ICM)—Improved Conventional Munitions.

The ICM vest consists of 12 layers of surface-resistant treated ballistic nylon, eliminating the need for a waterproof vinyl pouch. To provide for mobility, the back is made in four sections. The three upper ones slide over each other and over the lower back section to allow for any changes in body-dimensions associated with various movements. Shoulder pads with elastic webbing and snap fasteners allow more freedom of arm movement independent of the rest of the vest. The overlapping front and back protect the sides, and elastic webbing allows for movement and size adjustment. The three-quarter collar is flexible enough to be worn turned up or down and is designed for increased fragmentation protection to the neck and throat areas. Produced in four sizes, the outer layer of the vest comes in a camouflage pattern or in Navy and Olive Drab colours. The ICM is one pound lighter than the M69, and its bulk is 25 per cent less, which makes it more compatible with weapons and equipment in use.

With the refinement of Keviar as a ballistic material, the vest is now manufactured incorporating the aramid fibre in accordance with Military Specification LP/P DFS 19-77A dated 26 April 1978. The ballistic filler consists of 140Z WR (water repellant) Treated Keviar. The inner and outer shell of the vest is WR Treated 8oz ballistic nylon cloth. Weighing gibs in the medium size, it is designated Body Armor, Fragmentation Protective Vest, Ground Troops (PASGT) Personal Armor System for Ground Troops. It is the current body armour worn by the US Armed Forces. As a part of PASGT a new helmet was introduced in 1982 designated Helmet, Ground Troops Parachutists (PASGT). It is made of Keviar and a plastic (phenolic modified polyvinyl butyral) at 20 per cent of total weight to provide rigidity. On account of its similarity in appearance to the classic German helmet it has been nicknamed the 'Fritz', and is credited with saving the lives of at least two troopers of the 82nd Airborne Division during the invasion of Grenada—see Plate H2.

In the British Army, despite its successful use in the Korean War, body armour is only sanctioned for wear during internal security duties. Soon after the start of the 'Troubles' in Northern Ireland in

1969, troops were equipped with standard M-1952 and M69 flak jackets. These were subsequently fitted with a series of British-made protective covers. Troops now wear a discreet garment of greatly increased capability known as Improved Northern Ireland Body Armour (IN1BA ) or Mark 2 Body Armour. Due to this disjunction in operational doctrine, few soldiers in the Falkland Islands campaign of 1982 wore flak jackets. It must be admitted that the 'footslogging' nature of the lighting argued against their use by already cruelly burdened infantry. Again, most battalion attacks were launched against entrenched and fortified positions, so the majority of casualties were caused by small arms fire: at the battle for Darwin and Goose Green 58 per cent of all fatal and non-fatal casualties were due to gunshot wounds with the remainder to fragmentation weapons. Even so, it is arguable that some of the latter could have been avoided by using body armour.

The Falklands War did see the first operational employment of helicopter aircrew body armour in the British Armed Forces. Twenty-two sets of Noroc 1 Armor Systems were deployed during Operation 'Corporate'—fabricated from boron carbide cera-

A Special Patrol Group of the RUC dash to their Hotspur armoured Land Rovers at Musgrave Street police station in Belfast. Current body armour equipment includes these Bristol Body Armour Type i jackets and anti-riot helmets.

A Special Patrol Group of the RUC dash to their Hotspur armoured Land Rovers at Musgrave Street police station in Belfast. Current body armour equipment includes these Bristol Body Armour Type i jackets and anti-riot helmets.

Ruc Helmet

mic backed by reinforced plastic laminates, they are produced by the Norton Company of Worcester, Massachusetts. Fifteen sets sailed on HMS Intrepid and seven on the Atlantic Conveyor, four of the latter were lost when she was sunk by an Exocet. Two sets were worn in action in the one remaining HC-i Chinook, 'Bravo November' of No. 18 Sqn. RAF, by its two pairs of pilots. The Norton body armour was worn for a total of 1,310 hours during Operation 'Corporate', but no bits were sustained.

Today's ballistic resistant vests of the 'soft' armour type contain up to 40 layers of Kevlar, and are designed to protect the torso against a high proportion of fragments from exploding artillery shells, grenades and other explosive devices, as well as low-velocity handgun and sub-machine gun ammunition. Kevlar is suitable for use against fragments with impact velocities of up to 1,000 metres/second and against bullets up to 550 metres/second. Since the actual energy of a projectile depends on numerous factors such as barrel length, the type of round and propellant, body armour must be custom-designed to meet the anticipated threat.

To take an example of the problem which designers may face, the Soviet 7.62mm rimless pistol round has a muzzle velocity of 420 metres/second when fired from the Soviet Tokarev TT Model 1938 pistol; but Tokarev 7.62mm cartridges manufactured in Czechoslovakia carry a heavier load, so the 7.62mm Czech Model 52 pistol has a muzzle velocity of 490 metres/second. Even the standard Soviet-issue round can achieve still higher velocities given a longer barrel. Fired from the PPSh M1941 sub-machine gun of Second World War fame, this round can develop velocities of up to 500 metres/second. Furthermore, although many armies employ pistols or sub-machine guns of 9mm calibre, the number of Kevlar plies required to thwart Parabellum Gecko ammunition is greater than that required to stop UK ML2Z ammunition, and Norma Luger 19022 ammunition requires even more. It is up to the user to specify the exact threat so that the armour designer can work to this goal. Protection against rifle bullets and armour-piercing small arms rounds generally requires approximately seven times as much weight per unit area as that used in fragmentation jackets, and any

Ruc Landrovers Riot

The gamut of commercially-produced equipment currently available to policemen presents a daunting picture in the year 1984. This figure displays an ARH83 helmet and visor, Riot Leg Shields, NR82 Respirator with integral speech diaphragm, Nomex fire-retardant coveralls, and SES Type Combat Vest made of Kevlar; it has an optional chest pocket for insertion of a ceramic plate for protection against high-velocity bullets. He is armed with a Schermuly 38mm Anti-Riot Gun, a 26in. beech riot baton and a handgun. (Eric Ford—Security Equipment Supplies Ltd)

The gamut of commercially-produced equipment currently available to policemen presents a daunting picture in the year 1984. This figure displays an ARH83 helmet and visor, Riot Leg Shields, NR82 Respirator with integral speech diaphragm, Nomex fire-retardant coveralls, and SES Type Combat Vest made of Kevlar; it has an optional chest pocket for insertion of a ceramic plate for protection against high-velocity bullets. He is armed with a Schermuly 38mm Anti-Riot Gun, a 26in. beech riot baton and a handgun. (Eric Ford—Security Equipment Supplies Ltd)

fabric armour would be excessively bulky. Specially prepared steel plates (sec Plate Gi) or ceramics, weighing approximately 2olbs, are currently used against this threat; but much lighter combinations of metal alloys and Kevlar are now in the development stages, and promise to equal or surpass the performance of these units.

In 5,000 years body armour has progressed from fabric and leather to bronze, then to steel, and now back to fabric. These developments have not been governed entirely by the need for defence against the improved penetrating power of modern weapons. The flak jackets described here cannot yet defeat either the high-velocity rifle rounds of today, or the arrows of a millenium or more ago. Even the spears of ancient warriors could penetrate current body armour; but the science of warfare has changed radically, and the hazards posed by the predominance of fragmentation munitions demand the use of lightweight vests which are capable of defeating most of these fragments. A synthesis of battle casualty analysis in the 20th century reveals that over two-thirds of all wounds have been due to fragments. Modern body armour can prevent many of these, and can reduce chest and abdominal wounds by up to three-quarters.

Body armour does not make a modern soldier invulnerable to contemporary weapons; but helmets and fragmentation vests can and must be worn in almost all military circumstances. The protection of troops in a society that places a high value on individual life is a humane necessity, and is all the more desirable when this protection is inexpensive and practical. In terms of harsh military reality, any item that can prevent losses of the expensively trained soldiers of the small, professional armies of today is a positive investment. The wide range of body armour now available offers a simple method of preserving life and reducing the severity of combat injuries.

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