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Ben Welch




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 12:17 pm    Post subject: Modern Suit of Armor?         Reply with quote

I was pondering one night and an idea occured to me, why aren't full suits of armor used today? If balistic fiberglass and resin were custom molded into each individual plate from a museum piece. It's really not so far fetched when you think about it, the only difficulty would be the expence of haveing a suit built for each soldier.
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Peter Lyon
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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It is simple really: modern jacketed bullets have hugely higher energy transfer and penetration compared to the ball that original armours might have had to withstand, so modern bullets will just punch neat holes through any material you can make thin enough to retain the movement required of full harness. This is also why modern armours are multilayered and thick, hence only the head and torso are usually protected; the other alternative is somethng like the bomb disposal people wear, but they can barely move in it all.
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Matthew Fedele




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 2:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Even if there was a material that could withstand modern ballistics the fit would also be an issue. If you want to wear a rigid material for any length of time it has to be fitted to your body very carefully.

Then there is also the old problem of the armpit area that the modern combatant tends to expose every time he aims a firearm. Although I've often wondered why they don't add some sort of besague to modern body armor.

Cheers,
Matt
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Jonathan Atkin





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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Modern body armor has a plate insert then under it panels of kevlar it is a two part system to stop projectiles ranging from shrapnel to bullets of certain calibers. You could possibly put kevlar under the armor but I'd be hesitant to wear a suit of 90-110 lbs as kevlar is quite heavy, plus another 80 lbs of gear in 120 degree heat! Its a neat concept but it would ony be viable in my opinion if it were powered. For instance something along the lines of BattleTech's elemental suits or starship troopers armor but that's not going to happen anytime soon unfortunately.
"If I must choose between righteousness and peace, I choose righteousness''. - Theodore Roosevelt
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Adam D. Kent-Isaac




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 3:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Modern body armor is, ironically, more or less a brigandine. We've come full circle, it seems, from the basic vest of plates, to mail-and-plate, to full plate which peaked in the mid-1500s with fully-articulated suits enclosing every joint of the body, to 3/4 plate, and then the cuirass alone, and now back to the vest of plates.

What has been said above is true about the limitations of full body armor, however, for protection of the head alone, I think that experiments with reviving older designs might be useful. Specifically I think (and have said before) that the early 17th century close burgonet is fundamentally a good helmet design and might be adapted to a modern day combat helmet with very little alteration to the basic form. As I see it, the greatest danger to modern day soldiers is not bullets but explosives, and specifically shrapnel produced by IEDs which has been injuring so many troops in the Middle East. The close burgonet design, with a peak and pivoting visor, could help protect the eyes. Like the Savoyard helmet and other forms of close burgonets, the visor could slide upwards when not in use, and be flipped down easily when needed to protect the entire face. If the vision slits were wide and close to the face, it would not restrict peripheral vision any more than the fully-enclosing goggles that many troops already wear. The chin and neck would be better protected than this close-burgonet-based helmet than they are with the current combat helmet which is based more on a sallet. Even the comb on top could potentially have practical applications as providing a glancing surface to deflect falling debris.

The modern dirt-racing helmet, actually, already incorporates some of these features, deliberately or not.

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Matthew Fedele




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 4:45 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The US military spent millions of dollars back in the 1980s redesigning the old steel pot helmet for it's new
kevlar replacement. They started with a full helmet and cut, shaped, and tested it until they found the best
design for modern warfare. The design they ended up with was basically the old German helmet from WWI and
WWII which is quite a lot like an old German sallet.

Most period helmets were concerned with deflecting things like arrows and stones from above you and not from below you. In modern warfare you have much more concern with projectiles coming up from below your head which is the case with mortars, artillary, mines, and IEDs. Hence the English abandoned their old "war hat" style of helmet in the middle of WWII because the brims deflected the up coming shrapel into your braincase.

Modern combat is no longer rank and file fighting and it requires the combatant to be able to hear, speak, and see. I can't see burgonets being of any use. The brims are shrapnel funnels, combs just make a larger target, and even if there was an effective material against modern ballistics cheak guards and visors would impede hearing, communication, and vision and would be rejected by the modern soldier even if issued to them.

Cheers,
Matt
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Sat 27 Mar, 2010 6:40 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Atkin wrote:
...t! Its a neat concept but it would ony be viable in my opinion if it were powered. For instance something along the lines of BattleTech's elemental suits or starship troopers armor but that's not going to happen anytime soon unfortunately.


Not sure what the rules of link posting are on this forum, but if you do a quick google search for "Raytheon" and "xos" or "exoskeleton", you will find a current project to make a feasible suit of powered armour. Not sure about the timeline, but it is interesting to note that the catching point is the power source, not the suit itself.
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Sander Marechal




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 2:32 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Quote:
Modern combat is no longer rank and file fighting and it requires the combatant to be able to hear, speak, and see.


Speaking and hearing can be aided by modern communications equiptment. Sort of a combined hearing aid and multi-way radio communication system. Vision is a problem however. But, perhaps something like an open burgonet with a bevoir-like plate for the chin and thoat? That would leave vision relatively unimpaired but still protect you from shrapnel that flies up. You'd have to loose the front brim of the helmet though, as that would direct the upcoming shrapnel towards the eyes.
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Juan Cocinas




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 2:47 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

So true about the power source. Although, I have faith in DARPA/DOE:) Just give our brainiacs three or four more years. As far as ballistic transfer, how about a layer of linked gel-filled tubes to absorb and spread impact force? With a decent power source and some creative chemistry, the gel could also act as a heat sink. Also, I am surprised that no one has brought up Dragonskin armor(the new high-tech stuff, not the fantasy/rpg sauce lol). I would love me a dragonskin vest if 7.62 rounds were wingin' at me. Also, an enclosed helmet wired for ir and camera input would be very nice, especially if equipped with sound dampeners/limiters to prevent IED/artillery-associated deafness and/or shockwave trauma. Wow, I'm starting to realize what a scifi geek I am. I'll shut up before I start babbling about jump jets and gauss rifles...
"Resist your time- take a foothold outside it." Lord Acton
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Jim Mearkle




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 3:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

There is some really interesting research on surf zone mollusks that may have future applications for body armor

Of all materials studied thus far, abalone is remarkable for being both tough and hard. Most hard materials are brittle - they tend to break on impact. Most tough materials are not hard enough to prevent penetration. Abalone uses interlocking layers of hard calcium carbonate plates bound together with tough, flexible proteins, allowing them to withstand oceanic surf.

Mussel beards - the fibers they use to tie themselves to rocks so they don't get washed away by the tides, also have intriguing material properties - simultaneously hard, elastic, strong and flexible.

So, maybe in the future, material scientists will be able to develop materials that will provide meaningful levels of protection with flexibility and lightness needed for the light infantry soldier.

http://www.azom.com/News.asp?NewsID=4209
http://cordis.europa.eu/fetch?CALLER=EN_NEWS&...;RCN=31846

Jim
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Chuck Russell




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 5:55 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

a jack is the great great granddad to the Kevlar vest. Happy
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Chad Arnow
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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 6:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nat Lamb wrote:
Not sure what the rules of link posting are on this forum, but if you do a quick google search for "Raytheon" and "xos" or "exoskeleton", you will find a current project to make a feasible suit of powered armour. Not sure about the timeline, but it is interesting to note that the catching point is the power source, not the suit itself.


If you're not sure of the rules, then you can read them via the Info button above or ask a moderator. Happy

In short, any link that furthers a discussion or illustrates your point is fine so long as it is not a link to something offensive or illegal nor to something you have a commercial interest in.

I'm not sure where people get the idea that they can't post links to other sites or other forums. Happy People do it all the time. Our rules don't forbid it. Maybe other sites get weird about that, but we don't. Happy

Happy

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Last edited by Chad Arnow on Sun 28 Mar, 2010 6:21 am; edited 1 time in total
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Nat Lamb




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 6:17 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

In that case

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0hkCcoenLW4&feature=related
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J. Scott Moore





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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 8:50 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jonathan Atkin wrote:
Modern body armor has a plate insert then under it panels of kevlar it is a two part system to stop projectiles ranging from shrapnel to bullets of certain calibers. You could possibly put kevlar under the armor but I'd be hesitant to wear a suit of 90-110 lbs as kevlar is quite heavy, plus another 80 lbs of gear in 120 degree heat! Its a neat concept but it would ony be viable in my opinion if it were powered. For instance something along the lines of BattleTech's elemental suits or starship troopers armor but that's not going to happen anytime soon unfortunately.

not for while, but powered combat suits are being worked on.

"Whoever desires peace, let him prepare for war."
-Vegetius
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Ben P.




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 8:58 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Juan Cocinas wrote:
So true about the power source. Although, I have faith in DARPA/DOE:) Just give our brainiacs three or four more years. As far as ballistic transfer, how about a layer of linked gel-filled tubes to absorb and spread impact force? With a decent power source and some creative chemistry, the gel could also act as a heat sink. Also, I am surprised that no one has brought up Dragonskin armor(the new high-tech stuff, not the fantasy/rpg sauce lol). I would love me a dragonskin vest if 7.62 rounds were wingin' at me. Also, an enclosed helmet wired for ir and camera input would be very nice, especially if equipped with sound dampeners/limiters to prevent IED/artillery-associated deafness and/or shockwave trauma. Wow, I'm starting to realize what a scifi geek I am. I'll shut up before I start babbling about jump jets and gauss rifles...



The problem with Dragonskin is that the scales tend to pile up around the abdomen so while your guts and kidneys are doing fine your chest is exposed, besides a Modular Tactical Vest with the Ceramic reinforcements will stop 7.62 AP IIRC.

I think that with a decent/small enough battery you could make power armor the problem is that it would be expensive and army R&D would still need to figure some sort of armour plating that could protect one from IED shrapnel, and other stuff otherwise you have an expensive white elephant.
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Rusty Thomas




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 1:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

As a military man myself i can attest to the fact that one of the biggest problems with any closed helm or helm that covers the cheeks and or chin is not being able to get a good cheek weld on your firearm! This greatly reduces accuracy and speed of shooting. I'm sure more training could help but i think no matter what you do this will be a handicap. If issued helms like this i think most soldiers would remove the side plates. I would rather be able to shoot quickly and accurately then have a little bit of extra protection. Also if your facing the enemy with your rifle shouldered there is little of your face open! This is a neat idea and i don't think the concept should be abandoned but it does highlight a good point. How many times have you looked at something historical and thought "Why in the world would they do that? That's stupid!" But everything was done for a reason back in the day and if we can figure out how they used it all the sudden all those strange/weird things become brilliant! I'm sure I don't have to explain this to anybody on this forum but it is good to keep in mind for those less "Scholarly" Laughing Out Loud Folks.
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Adam D. Kent-Isaac




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 1:43 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

A close helmet might be good for tank and Humvee gunners though. These guys are extremely vulnerable to shrapnel from IEDs.
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Andrew Maxwell




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 7:50 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Ben P. wrote:
I think that with a decent/small enough battery you could make power armor the problem is that it would be expensive and army R&D would still need to figure some sort of armour plating that could protect one from IED shrapnel, and other stuff otherwise you have an expensive white elephant.


This is a major problem, I think. Something like this needs to be cost effective for what it does.
Other (better informed) posters can feel free to correct me, but I'm fairly sure one of the major contributors to the demise of the medieval knight was the prohibitive cost of maintaining them. You would have the same issue here, where one armoured soldier may have the same cost as ten or twenty regular soldiers (or even more). That's a big investment, and it's not as if it's possible to make them completely invulnerable.

Also worth considering that if you have a powered armour suit, the electrical systems themselves are then another potential vulnerability.

As far as the OP, the reason full suits of armour aren't used today is because the cost/benefit equation simply isn't in their favour. That doesn't mean there won't be a place for them in the future though Happy
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Jean Thibodeau




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PostPosted: Sun 28 Mar, 2010 11:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Rusty Thomas wrote:
As a military man myself i can attest to the fact that one of the biggest problems with any closed helm or helm that covers the cheeks and or chin is not being able to get a good cheek weld on your firearm! This greatly reduces accuracy and speed of shooting. .


True enough but a heads up display where the reticle would float in your field of view even if the weapon was at your hip, close to your face or even around a corner or over cover ! Well, one would be dependant on the electronics and backup ordinary aiming should still be possible and desirable.

This kind of powered armour might be too expensive for general issue but for specialized use by elite forces or having a couple of powered soldiers available for room clearance or for frontal assaults backed up by standard stoops could have some utility.

Add remote reconnaissance " droids ", remote droid mines or grenades, small infiltration droids armed with a small calibre machine gun ! Little armed machine spiders that could overrun a position .... Integrate all these ideas with standard military equipment.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Juan Cocinas




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PostPosted: Mon 29 Mar, 2010 1:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Mr. Thibodeau you hit the nail on the head. Warfare is evolving. Drones supported by men in powered armor. Satellite intel, drone cameras, and human eyes on the ground. This will be the new format for warfare. This is how the civilized world will engage in conflict. We will, of course, continue to field hueys and mre's (blech) for the next thousand years Happy
"Resist your time- take a foothold outside it." Lord Acton
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