Entries in Body Armor (2)


Special Ops Body Armor Recalled After Safety Defects Found

John Moore/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Thousands of body armor plates worn by U.S. Special Operations troops are being recalled after it was discovered that a small percentage of the plates have safety defects.

The defects were identified in less than 5 percent of the Generation III ballistic armor plates that are issued to Special Forces, a spokesperson for United States Special Operations Command confirmed to

"The command has also developed and implemented a test that is being used in the field to determine if a plate is defective. All ballistic plates have been tested and Special Operations Forces are performing the test as part of their pre-combat inspection," USSOCOM said in a statement.

An analysis determined the small percentage of plates were defective due to "internal manufacturing and quality assurance processes" during manufacture by Ceradyne, Inc.

"The Department of Defense was actually the one that found this flaw, and it would seem at least from the reporting that there may be some question about whether the company was responsive to fixing it and acknowledging that there was a problem," ABC News military consultant and retired Marine Col. Stephen Ganyard said.

While the California-based ceramics manufacturer is making the new plates, Generation II plates will be issued in exchange for the defective ones, USSOCOM said.

No one has been killed or wounded as a result of the defective body armor, according to USSOCCOM.

The plates, which are inserted into bullet proof vests, have saved countless lives over the years.

"I think the most troubling thing here is that we've damaged the trust that our troops have in their safety kit, and that's a problem," Ganyard said. "The troops ought to be able to go outside the wire and have every confidence that their ballistic plates are going to prevent a bullet from penetrating their vests.

"This has probably shaken their faith in their equipment, and that's the real fallout here," he said. was unable to immediately reach Ceradyne for comment.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nanomaterial Can Stop a Speeding Bullet, Strengthen Soldiers’ Body Armor

Tommy LaVergne(HOUSTON) -- Researchers at a Rice University lab are researching technology that that could potentially stop a 9-millimeter bullet and seal the entryway behind it — an advance that may have huge implications for ballistic protection for soldiers, as well as other uses.

During tests, the researchers were able to shoot tiny glass beads at the material, which effectively stopped bullets in their paths.

“This would be a great ballistic windshield material,” scientist Ned Thomas said in a clip posted on the university’s website.

The group, which included scientist Thomas, Rice research scientist Jae-Hwang Lee and a team from MIT’s Institute for Soldier Nanotechnologies, was looking for ways to make materials “more impervious to deformation or failure.” The result would be better, stronger, lighter armor for soldiers and police, and protection for sensitive materials subject to small, fast moving objects, such as aircraft and satellites.

The researchers were looking at a complex polyurethane material that they saw was able to stop a 9 mm slug and seal its entryway. When penetrated by a tiny projectile at a high velocity,  the material melted into a liquid that stopped the fast-moving object and actually sealed the hole it made.

“There’s no macroscopic damage; the material hasn’t failed; it hasn’t cracked,” Thomas said.

During their research, they found an excellent model material called a polystyrene-polydimethylsiloxane diblock-copolymer.  Using two different methods, the team was eventually able to cross-section the structure to determine the depth of the bullets, and according to their study, the layers showed the ability to deform without breaking.

“[The layers] tell the story of the evolution of penetration of the projectile and help us understand what mechanisms, at the nanoscale, may be taking place in order for this to be such a great, high-performance, lightweight protection material.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio