Army

July 26, 2012

Women Soldiers test female-specific body armor

Tags:
By J.D. Leopold

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

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, July 19, 2012) — 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.


 
 

 
Gustavo Bahena

Focused on the battle against TBI’s

Gustavo Bahena Colonel Cheryl Taylor-Whitehead, commander of United States Army Medical Department Activity here, and Shannon O’ Kelley, chief operating officer of the UCLA Health System, sign a memorandum of agreement at For...
 
 

Army’s top NCO gets feedback from Soldiers, families at NTC

When the Army’s senior non-commissioned officer asks for opinions, it could be a once-in-a-career opportunity for Soldiers to make a difference for themselves, their unit, their family or the Army. That opportunity took place when Sgt.Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III visited with leadership, Soldiers, families and community members of the National Training...
 
 
trustAndRespect

Top Army NCO to NTC Soldiers: trust, respect essential to Army profession

Sergeant Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III (right) speaks with Soldiers of the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the National Training Center, Feb. 20. The unit provides a realistic opposition to rotational training units...
 

 
Gustavo Bahena

Lewis Elementary back to school

Students return to a repaired Lewis Elementary after 2013 monsoon damage. Ribbon cutting celebrates team effort during transition Gustavo Bahena On Jan. 13, children returned to Lewis Elementary School on Fort Irwin since flood...
 
 
Gustavo Bahena

Army Chief of Staff visits National Training Center

Gustavo Bahena General Ray Odierno, Chief of Staff of the Army, speaks with officers of Operations Group, here, at a working lunch during his visit to the National Training Center, Jan. 30. The Army’s highest ranking general ...
 
 
Photo courtesy of Maj. Gen. Ted Martin

NTC commander receives second star

Photo courtesy Training Support Center Major Gen. Ted Martin is joined by his family after his promotion ceremony at the National Training Center and Fort Irwin, Jan. 24. Wife, Stephanie, and sons Anthony and Teddy attended the...
 




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>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin