Infantry: July 18, 2004


Faced with the growing threat of armor piercing bullets, American troops are being equipped with body armor that can stop armor piercing bullets. The ceramic plates that do this are made of boron carbide, and use a thick backing material to make it all work. A protective vest using the new plates weighs two pounds more (at 19 pounds) and costs two hundred dollars more (at $1900 per vest). Thousands of these new vests are going to Afghanistan, where wealthy warlords and drug gangs can afford to buy armor piercing ammo, and many other exotic weapons. The U.S. Army and Marines have over 200,000 of the older, 17 pound, Interceptor vests. Only about 10,000 of the new Boron Carbide vests are going to be bought for now. SOCOM was responsible for getting the Boron Carbide vest developed, for use with Special Forces, commandoes and rangers. In addition to the new bullet proof plates, SOCOM also had a quick release version of the Interceptor vest developed. This is mainly for SEALs who have to hit the water with the vests on, and need to quickly lose the extra weight. Another SOCOM version of the Interceptor vest is tailored to the shape of the body, so that it can be worn under civilian clothing. Special Forces and commandoes often operate in civilian clothing, or just want to wear the protective vest under their uniforms so that they appear less scary to civilians. 




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