Tech

July 23, 2012

Women soldiers to test female-specific body armor

Tags:
by JD Leipold
Army News

The Army is developing new body armor that is more form-fitting for female soldiers.

Today, both male and female soldiers wear body armor that has been designed for men.

But the Army plans to field to women next summer a new type of body armor, designed for them, that will be shorter in the torso with more customized adjustments specific to the female form.

Until that happens, the 14 percent of the Army who are women will continue to wear one of the 11 sizes of the Improved Outer Tactical Vest, or IOTV, that are worn by their male counterparts.

Following anthropomorphic sizing and fitting studies overseas, and also at Fort Bragg, N.C., West Point, N.Y., and Fort Campbell, Ky., between 2009 and 2011, Program Executive Office, or PEO, Soldier started developing female body armor prototypes that addressed the physical differences between the sexes.

Lt. Col. Frank J. Lozano, the product manager for Soldier Protective Equipment, said one thing his shop realized quickly from the studies was that women generally have narrower shoulders than males. The shoulder area on the new IOTV design was brought in closer to the neck by adding more fabric and opening the area around the armpits.

The change translates to increased range of motion in the shoulders and upper arms and also allows weapons to be seated in the shoulder weld. The extra material and adjustment straps also allows darting to be incorporated much as it is on a woman’s blouse which will give a more secure and customized fit.

“Most females tend to have a narrow or thinner waist as it relates to the chest area, so we pulled the waist area in,” Lozano said, adding that it’s not always a one-to-one relationship. “Some women will want more room in the waist area so we allowed for adjustability in the cummerbund in the back which can be pulled in tighter or let out more than on the standard IOTV.”

PEO Soldier also realized through its multiple studies that the typical torso length for women was for the most part shorter than that of men. The female IOTV will be shorter at the bottom. Lozano said the new design will keep the IOTV from rubbing on the hips, which can cause chafing while walking.

Female soldiers had also advised PEO Soldier that the standard IOTV, with its longer torso, causes the front armor plate to press into their thighs when they are seated. This cuts off blood flow to their legs. The female version of the IOTV, with its shortened torso, will address this issue. Additionally, a new exterior plate pocket will allow the armor plate to be inserted from the side in a more diagonal fashion.

Though not part of the female version of the IOTV design, the Army is also looking for ways to develop armor plating that better conforms to the human body.

“The challenge right now is that when you bring in those complex curvatures, the plate loses some of its strength,” Lozano said. “We’re working with some armor manufacturers to invest in a manufacturing capability that finds the right chemistry to develop the soft and hard armor necessary to have a complex curved plate at a light weight that still defeats the threats.”

Developments in protective plate design will make ballistic protection more comfortable and form-fitting for both female and male soldiers, but that’s a way off.

Lozano said in the September-October time frame PEO Soldier will begin fielding 100 prototypes to female engagement teams from the 101st Airborne Division to evaluate.

“There are 30 females who we’ll provide with spares and repair parts,” he said. “We’ll hold some in reserve in case other females get added to the teams. They’ll do user evaluations, then provide feedback to us that we’ll wrap into the final iteration of the design and look to field to a brigade combat team by next summer.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines April 18, 2014

Business: Lockheed to Lose 17 F-35s Under Automatic Pentagon Cuts - Pentagon will cut 17 of the 343 F-35 fighters it planned to buy from Lockheed Martin in fiscal 2016 through 2019 unless Congress repeals automatic budget cuts, according to a new Defense Department report. DOD looking for ways not to break MH-60R helo deal - The...
 
 

News Briefs April 18, 2013

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,177 As of April 15, 2014, at least 2,177 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,802 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 
LM-F35-hours

F-35 fleet surpasses 15,000 flying hours

The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II fleet recently surpassed 15,000 flight hours, marking a major milestone for the program.  “Flying 15,000 hours itself demonstrates that the program is maturing, but what I think is e...
 

 
nasa-cassini

NASA Cassini images may reveal birth of new Saturn moon

NASA’s Cassini spacecraft has documented the formation of a small icy object within the rings of Saturn that may be a new moon, and may also provide clues to the formation of the planet’s known moons. Images taken w...
 
 

NASA completes LADEE mission with planned impact on Moon’s surface

Ground controllers at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., have confirmed that NASA’s Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer spacecraft impacted the surface of the moon, as planned, between 9:30 and 10:22 p.m., PDT, April 17. LADEE lacked fuel to maintain a long-term lunar orbit or continue science operations and was intentionally sent...
 
 
Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech

NASA’s Kepler telescope discovers first Earth-size planet in ‘habitable zone’

Photograph courtesy of NASA Ames/SETI Institute/JPL-Caltech Kepler-186f resides in the Kepler-186 system about 500 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus. The system is also home to four inner planets, seen lined up...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>