Lightweight armour manufacturers and suppliers like MKU are able to offer personal protection solutions in large numbers and at short notice. At the DSEi exhibition (stand 1924), MKU will be displaying a range of its lightweight personal armour solutions, many already in service, including its instant-release Instavest body armour and its Boltfree helmet range, and briefing military procurers and end users on its range of capabilities.
With their armed forces ever more heavily engaged in operations, from the full-scale asymmetric combat of Afghanistan to counter-insurgency in Africa and post-war peace support in Iraq and Eastern Europe, many governments are expressing concern about the protection of their troops on the ground. The range of threats faced in dismounted operations, from small arms to artillery to improvised explosive devices, is growing, and to be effective against such threats, the personal ballistic protection of soldiers on the ground is developing quickly to stay ahead.
The mainstays of effective personal protection are the helmet and the overvest or body armour. Some 45% of battlefield injuries are to the head, of which up to 80% are caused by fragments and only 20% by bullets. High-performance helmets with all-round protection and efficient harness systems are needed to defeat the threat. Likewise, comfortable, effective body armour, which gives all-round protection while allowing unrestricted movement, is required for the torso, neck and other areas of the body.
To provide protection whilst not limiting combat-effectiveness, such helmets and body armour must be both strong and light. The use of modern materials, such as polyethylene, polyurethane and aramide in helmets and body armour, together with highly mass-efficient ceramic composites in body armour panel inserts, has greatly increased the level of personal protection that the soldier can carry around the battlefield on his head or body. Moreover, quick-release systems allow the dismounted soldier to shed his helmet and body armour quickly if the tactical situation dictates it.