Interceptor Body Armor




 
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December 24th, 2005  
AJChenMPH
 
 

Topic: Interceptor Body Armor


My goodness, I didn't realize just how heavy the darned things are. Kudos to the troops who have to wear them every day, especially in that God-awful heat over there. I was warm after 5 minutes on a treadmill in a 70-degree room.



I participated in a research study at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, where an Army Colonel is investigating the energy expenditure required to wear these things. For those of you outside the US or don't know what all that getup is, I'm wearing the Interceptor body armor, the standard-issue body armor for all US troops, which by itself isn't that bad -- maybe 7 or 8 pounds (a cop's average body armor is about 4 or 5 pounds). What made it so bad were the steel shock plates -- one in front, one in back -- which were about 7 or 8 pounds each. So, total weight of about 10 kg / 22 lbs. (I'm also wearing a lot of telemetry gear, hence the stormtrooper chest pack and the fighter-pilot carbon dioxide monitoring mask.)

and -- you don't realize just how much it takes out of you when you wear one of those things. And I was only walking on a treadmill -- I can't even imagine running from cover spot to cover spot in the middle of a firefight.
December 24th, 2005  
phoenix80
 
 
I can't even imagine running from cover spot to cover spot in the middle of a firefight [in an Iraqi desert under the killing sun].
December 24th, 2005  
Whispering Death
 
 
Well, the walking is probobly the worst part. If you're running from cover to cover in the Iraqi sun you'll have tons of addrenaline pumping through your system.
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December 24th, 2005  
bulldogg
 
 
AJ, this is my first real good look at this armour and as a former medic my first thought is that they seem to have left the femoral arteries completely vulnerable. Is there anything available or in development to protect the femoral artery near the groin? That seems to be a serious oversight as you will bleed out much faster from a nicked femoral than a gut wound (barring it hits the descending aorta). They've got good collars for the vessels in the neck on either side but nothing down low??
December 24th, 2005  
Duty Honor Country
 
 
I have quite a bit of experience with the Army's body Armor, I here are my 2 cents.

The first time I experienced body armor was in Kosovo in 2000. Since the flak jacket is common and not too much of a burden, I am not going to talk about it. Anyways, we were first issued the old school armor. I am not sure of the real name, but it was commonly called ranger body armor and was quite heavy. It had two massive plates for the front and back. The vest was secured with 2 large straps made of a stretchy material. Anyone who has used this vest knows how much it sucked. Patroling with the RBA did a number on my back. When we were issued the new Inteceptor, I was in heaven. It was lighter than the IBA and fit better too (except for being a bit tight on the neck). I think we had the Inteceptor for 2 months before being redeployed back to the States. When I went to Iraq, my reserve unit only had the old flak jackets. I will make no more comments about my feelings there. In October 04, I went back into active army. This time, the Army got serious about training with body armor. We were fitted and issued the Inteceptor, which we used in all our field training to include 20km road marches.

With that said, here are my feelings on the physical stress caused by the Inteceptor. The only to get use to the vest is to train with the thing and suffer. Yeah, it sucks in the begining, but you work through that. We were in the field for 30 days and wore the vest all the time unless we were sleeping. By the end of the field problem, wearing the vest became second nature. I think road maching with the vest on put everything in perspective. After doing 20km with a fat ruck, I did not think twice about complaining about just wearing the vest. One thing I will neve get use to is going on 4 mile run with the Inteceptor on...

If you all have any questions, just ask

Doody
December 24th, 2005  
hopefulfuturemarine
 
Just how well do those suckers work? Say, against an AK 47, striking a point say, where the steel plates aren't present?
Hopeful
December 24th, 2005  
Duty Honor Country
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hopefulfuturemarine
Just how well do those suckers work? Say, against an AK 47, striking a point say, where the steel plates aren't present?
Hopeful
well, the plates protects the cheast and back, a wound is very leathal. Unfortunately, you cannot protect everywhere. If you did, you would not be able to function as a soldier. The rest of the vest is made out of the same material as the old flak jackets. It's not designed to stop an assualt rifle round. However, it might slow it down or deflect it a bit. There have been inprovemtns to the Inteceptor, I have seen pictures of arm guards (as shown in BD's picture) and side plates not too long ago. Basically, the vest prevents soldiers from getting that sucking chest wound that few live through.

Just remember, there will always be weak points in any armor system. This has held true to back when armor was first used in combat.
December 24th, 2005  
Whispering Death
 
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doody
well, the plates protects the cheast and back, a wound is very leathal. Unfortunately, you cannot protect everywhere. If you did, you would not be able to function as a soldier. The rest of the vest is made out of the same material as the old flak jackets. It's not designed to stop an assualt rifle round. However, it might slow it down or deflect it a bit. There have been inprovemtns to the Inteceptor, I have seen pictures of arm guards (as shown in BD's picture) and side plates not too long ago. Basically, the vest prevents soldiers from getting that sucking chest wound that few live through.

Just remember, there will always be weak points in any armor system. This has held true to back when armor was first used in combat.
It's also true on even the most heavily armored things in the world like the M1 Abrams tank.

As for the femoral atery, what % of KIA soldiers die from that kind of wound as oposed to a center-of-mass wound like the Interceptor body armor would protect against. That would be an interesting statistic.
December 24th, 2005  
bulldogg
 
 
You get hit in the femoral artery you will bleed out in less than two minutes, ie you are dead in 120 seconds. The best case scenario when that happens is you lose the leg. Center mass wound, wtf, it depends on where it hits and what gets tagged. It simply struck me as odd that they protect the vital blood vessels in the neck with the high collars but nothing down by your boys where the femoral artery is closest to the surface.
December 24th, 2005  
AJChenMPH
 
 
I'll ask the guy who's the doing the study -- he probably knows why the femoral artery isn't as well protected. My best guess is that it restricts the ability to run too much, so it was just a trade-off in protection vs. mobility.