Protect Those Who Protect Us

In the article written by Vivienne Machi for the National Defense Industrial Association (NDIA), Coming Soon: Lighter Body Armor for Soldiers, it mentions that the military and defense contractors are working on producing lighter body armor for today’s warfighters, so they have less of a burden when overseas.

The article reads: “…when he first crossed the border into Iraq, he was wearing the same type of vest that was worn during the Vietnam War…” Is the military making great enough changes to protect our servicemen? Our soldiers are the best weapon and the strongest asset we have. However, personal protective equipment remains a critical issue. The real question is how to create this “optimal product” for our warfighters in the current and future fight.

As new and lighter materials surface, there is a continued need to balance protection with mobility, without exercising expensive tests and prototypes. We cannot afford to spend an excessive amount of money on extensive testing. In addition, design and analysis should be fully integrated with the human system, in order to ensure the body armor responds appropriately to individual anthropometry and to various mission-critical tasks. In fact, personal protective equipment is an example of where ideas from the DoD’s 3rd Offset can be applied, pursuing new technology that focuses on and integrates with the individual warfighter.

To help move this process along faster and safer, we should push to keep as much of the testing as we can in the virtual world. Digital human modeling (DHM) companies can help speed up this process, stepping in to eliminate costly and time-consuming prototypes. “Army officials touted the progress of body armor development over the past 15 years of war…” states the article, but there is clear opportunity for improvement.

The good news is: DHM companies now have sufficient technology to quickly build and test prototypes during simulated task completion, so the military can be constantly improving body armor to always have the most protective gear for our military, while saving immense amounts of time and money along the way. This is just one example that suggests digital human modeling companies should be partnering with more tier 1 and tier 2 defense contractors, in order to jumpstart the process of virtually designing and testing new and improved body armor for our military.


Anna Schuchert, Social Media Communications, SantosHuman Inc.