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US Military Tailoring Body Armor for Female Troops

October 1, 2012 - Rockville, MD

The global body armor and personal protection market is estimated to value US$1.5 billion in 2012 and to increase at a CAGR of 4.89% during the forecast period (2012-2022), reaching its peak of US$2.4 billion by 2022. The market consists of three categories of body armor and personal protection: Soft armor, Hard armor, and Protective headgear.

The US military is developing new body armor for female troops to provide them with increased protection on the battlefield. The new outfit is tailored specifically for the female form and consists of more curves in the chest and hips, shorter torsos, and narrower shoulders. It was concerns raised by female soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division about armor used while deployed to war in 2009 that prompted improvements.

One of the major areas of emphasis for armies across the world is reducing the weight of body armor and other personal protection equipment used by their troops in combat. Scientists are continuously looking at new materials and composites that offer enhanced protection with less weight. For example, the US Marine Corps is fielding a new helmet that offers 6% more fragmentation protection and the ability to stop 9 mm rounds. It weighs 3 pounds and is about a half-pound lighter than the previous Kevlar helmet.

Reducing the weight of soldier equipment without compromising protection and combat performance is a key challenge for the body armor and personal protection industry. Modernization of systems to protect and empower the soldier has resulted in an exponential increase in the total weight being carried. The combined weight of equipment prevents them from being agile, mobile, and effective war fighters, and the lives of soldiers are being put at risk as heavy life-saving equipment is often being left behind. Defense agencies worldwide are focusing on sourcing and integrating the most affordable, lightweight soldier equipment and technology to reduce the burden to personnel.

One of the major drivers of the body armor and personal protection market is the advent of various technological developments in the field. Recent years have witnessed a transformation in the market primarily by the increasing use of such equipment in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Serbia, and Libya. Moreover, the recent nuclear proliferation being carried out by Iran has heightened military tensions between Iran, the US, and Israel. The possible conflict has resulted in the US spending heavily on getting its existing military equipment ready for battle, which in turn is driving the body armor and personal protection industry.

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