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North America Military News From United States, Canada & Mexico.

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Old 07-24-2012, 12:18 PM
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Default US army testing body armor for female soldiers

http://www.foxnews.com/tech/2012/07/...ntcmp=features

Female soldiers in the U.S. Army have spent years fighting on modern battlefields with body armor designed for men. But the Army plans to change that poor-fitting scenario by field-testing new female body armor starting next summer.
Male body armor poses problems well beyond fashion sense for the 14 percent of the Army that consists of female soldiers — the male body armor's broad shoulders restrict their arm movements and the front armor plate's length cuts into leg circulation when they sit. That led the Army's Program Executive Office (PEO) to begin making female body armor prototypes based on sizing and fitting tests.
"Most females tend to have a narrow or thinner waist as it relates to the chest area, so we pulled the waist area in," said Lt. Col. Frank J. Lozano, the product manager for Soldier Protective Equipment.
"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 [Improved Outer Tactical Vest]."
'Females tend to have a thinner waist as it relates to the chest area, so we pulled the waist area in.'
- Lt. Col. Frank J. Lozano, product manager for Soldier Protective Equipment


Bringing the shoulder area closer to the neck helped accommodate narrow female shoulders and opens the area around the armpits. That opens up the mobility for the shoulders and upper arms so that female soldiers can properly hold their weapons against the shoulder. [US Soldiers Make Real 'Predator' Machine Gun Pack]
The female body armor also has a shorter bottom for a better fit, since the average torso length of women is shorter than that of men. That shorter length prevents the armor from chafing the hips female soldiers as they walk, and also avoids the blood circulation issue caused by the front armor plate.
A group of 30 female soldiers from the 101st Airborne Division will get 100 prototypes to try out in September or October. Their suggestions will then help finalize the body armor that deploys more broadly by next summer.
Better-fitting armor for female soldiers could also improve armor-fitting for all soldiers down the road. The Army has begun investigating how to make armor plating that better fits the human body — a process that could lead to science fiction visions of futuristic body armor fitted to both men and women.
"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."


this story didn't really live up to my imagination!


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Old 07-24-2012, 02:27 PM
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Arrow Woman Soldiers to Test Female-Specific Body Armor

Woman Soldiers to Test Female-Specific Body Armor
Army to field new body armor designed for women

http://fortstewart.patch.com/article...fic-body-armor


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


Army News Service
WASHINGTON -- 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."

http://fortstewart.patch.com/article...fic-body-armor
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