Future Body Armor

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Flak Jacket Kevlar High-Performance Polyethylene (HPPE) Advanced/Future Body Armor Body armor has come a long way since the days of chain mail. As advanced technologies allow for lighter and more flexible protection, soldiers do not have to sacrifice range of motion or vision for safety. Body armor has also evolved according to the changes in ammunition. As ammunition becomes more lethal, body armor must follow suit in order to protect the combatant. World War Two's most famous contributions to the history of body armor is the flak jacket. Made from ballistic nylon, the flak jacket was "cumbersome and bulky" and "was ineffective against most pistol and rifle threats," (Bellis, n.d.). However, flak jackets were very effective in preventing casualties related to shrapnel. Shrapnel did account for as much as 70% of all Second World War casualties (Pike, 2011). No significant advancements in body armor were made between the end of World War Two and the 1970s. Even during the Vietnam War, flak jackets were still being used. In the 1970s, though, Kevlar was invented. Kevlar and other lighter weight materials allowed for constant protection that was relatively comfortable to wear. Moreover, the improved materials could protect greater surface area on the body. As Pike (2011) points out, "Most fatal penetrating injuries were caused by missiles entering through areas not protected by body armor, such as the face, neck, pelvis, and groin." Unlike earlier materials, Kevlar also
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