On the priorities in development of new materials and body armor facilities.

Body armor (bulletproof vest) is a main body armor facility at the present time. Its purpose is to protect vital organs of a military man from damage of cold weapon, bullets of fire weapon, shell fragments, shrapnel of mines, grenades, as well as from contusion trauma and mechanical damage during all kinds of military operations. The first Soviet body armor ZH-81 (Ж-81 in Russian) was tested during war in Afghanistan. Since it was not able to stop a bullet of an automatic rifle it was replaced with a more advanced model ZH-85T (Ж-85Т), and later ZH-86-2 (Ж-86-2). The weight of these body armors was up to 9 kg. They protected the soldier from the back and sides from burst effect and the enforced front side protected from penetrating injury by a bullet. By today they have been replaced with scores of new modern models.
 
According to the statistics of military operations and based on the results of study and analysis of size and structure of gunshot injuries in modern military conflicts one can come to the following main conclusions:

* all modern military companies are accompanied with considerable combat losses, when one killed soldier is followed by three-five wounded ones;
* in spite of considerable increase in gunshot wounds, the fragments injuries account up to 70% of total number of wounded soldiers;
• the body of a soldier (chest, spine, abdomen and pelvis) is considerably exposed to damage from modern injurious effects of battlefield, which involves mandatory and effective armor protection.

One of the major tasks of designing a modern body armor facility is to develop optimal ballistic materials that can protect effectively from injurious effects of combined arms operation.
It is quite clear that right choice of materials for the body armor can be made only on the basis of researches and analysis of their capacities in terms of ability to protect from different kinds of weapon. Since these means of destruction may be very different from each other, the conditions of “loading”, under which armor materials work, demand their own specific requirements to materials. These requirements are based on the latest developments and provide the following available types of armor materials:
•    soft textile armor materials;
•    hard composite, metal or ceramic materials;
•    combined on the basis of soft and hard armor materials.
Application of appropriate materials for body armor facilities should ensure their resistance to external effects, because bullet and fragment resistance depends largely on this factor, as it is well-known that many ballistic materials may reduce their basic protective properties when are wet or in consequence of contact with chemically active liquids. It should be also taken into account the change in condition of armor facility when it is put on, because in this case there is an increase of moisture content of body armor, package density of armor materials, their temperature and gradient.
 
Given the multifactorial nature of effects on the body armor facilities, one of the priorities is a continuous and comprehensive study of properties dynamics of the existing and newly developed armor materials.
Prevailing number of fragment wounds also dictates the necessity to study the protective properties and to develop more and more effective means of protection from fragments. Taking this into consideration there is a necessity to conduct a study of the system of interacting factors “fragment-body armor-human”. The question about mechanism of damage of behind the armor zone under terms of fragment flux effect is not solved today and requires the study of this problem.
Interaction of subammunitions with protective structure of body armor under terms it is not shot through leads to contusional damage. The existing damping structures often do not provide a valid severity level of contusion trauma that is why their further improvement is also one of the priorities.
A separate problem is a study of materials for armor protection of the head on the basis of polymeric composite materials. Currently available helmets of composite aramid materials require further improvement in terms of protective properties and reducing the weight characteristics.
Despite the fact that domestic combined arms helmets of 6B7 and 6B7-1 types and weight of 1,2-1,3 kg and fragmentation protection more than 550 m/sec are comparable with the best analogues in terms of properties, the continuous improvement of fragment injury means necessitate the urgent development of the helmets of the same weight but with fragmentation resistance of more than 700 m/sec.
Solutions of problems and tasks as for development of high-performance materials and body guard facilities on their basis should ensure the development of protective kits for any kind of military branch.
Still relevant is a personal fire and armor protection of “expensive” military specialists - combat crews, because no one type of armored vehicles, rocket and aviation technology guarantee complete crew protection from the secondary (spallation) fragments, especially in case of leaving the combat vehicle.