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Publication numberUS3557384 A
Publication typeGrant
Publication dateJan 26, 1971
Filing dateFeb 24, 1969
Priority dateFeb 24, 1969
Publication numberUS 3557384 A, US 3557384A, US-A-3557384, US3557384 A, US3557384A
InventorsBarron Edward R, Carlucci Michael P, James Peter, Martone Ralph, Walsh Justin E
Original AssigneeUs Army
Export CitationBiBTeX, EndNote, RefMan
External Links: USPTO, USPTO Assignment, Espacenet
Variable infantry armor system
US 3557384 A
Abstract  available in
Previous page
Next page
Claims  available in
Description  (OCR text may contain errors)


4 Sheets-Sheet l Filed Feb 24 Jam -1971 Y E. R. BARRON ETAL 3,557,384

VARIABLE INFANTRY ARMOR SYSTEM Filed Feb/24, 1969 4 Sheets-Sheet? fiy-flw; AW My. 141 W Bad pm a. 1 fla /303 s Jan. 26, 1971 I QN ETAL 3,557,384

' VARIABLE INFANTRY ARMOR SYSTEM I Filed Feb. 24 1969 V 4-Sheets-Sheet s Jan. 26, 1.971 B.ARRQII\IWET AL 3,557,384

. I VARIABLE INFANTRY ARMOR SYSTEM 1 Filed Feb.- 24, 1969 4 Sheets-Sheo 4 United States Patent 3,557,384 VARIABLE INFANTRY ARMUR SYSTEM Edward R. Barron, Framingham, Michael P. Carlucci,

Natick, Peter James, Brighton, Ralph Martone, Framingham, and Justin E. Walsh, Brookline, Mass., as-

signors to the United States of America as represented by the Secretary of the Army Filed Feb. 24, 1969, Ser. No. 801,301 Int. Cl. F41h /08 US. Cl. 22.5 9 Claims ABSTRACT OF THE DISCLOSURE An armor protective system capable of providing varying levels of protection against a variety of ballistic hazards consisting of a lightweight, fragmentation-protective, sleeveless jacket having separate pockets on the front and back of said jacket into which rigid armor plates are inserted to increase the level of protection, said armor plates having integral fastening means which allow the plates to be worn without the jacket.

The invention described herein may be manufactured, used, and licensed by or for the Government for governmental purposes without the payment to us of any royalty thereon.

This invention relates to body armor and, more particularly, to a body armor protective system wherein the wearer may. vary the extent and kind of protection against different ballistic projectiles.

Past efforts to provide the foot soldier with protection against the ballistic hazards encountered in combat have been conspicuously unsuccessful because the weight of body armor required to provide adequate protection against hazards, such as small-arms fire, has been of such a magnitude as to constitute an impossible burden. The addition of any equipment to the foot soldiers burden has to be carefully considered as any increase in the weight of his burden results in a corresponding decrease in combat efficiency. Recent technological advances in ballistic material have markedly reduced the weight of armor materials which will successfully defeat fragments and small-arms projectiles. Even with such advances in armor technology, modern small-arms defeating armor still presents a weight burden which at the very least will seriously affect the efiiciency of the wearer and may, in fact, cause the wearer to become a casualty as a result of fatigue or heat exhaustion.

The degree of ballistic protection conferred by armor material is a function both of the area covered and the material employed. It would be possible, therefore, to compromise the area protected by reducing the size of the armor so as to reduce the total weight of the armor. However, since different combat situations present different actual or potential ballistic hazards, it would be desirable to have available an armor system which would be adjusted by the wearer to meet the anticipated ballistic hazards. For example, if the ballistic hazards are expected to be fragmentation projectiles, then a relatively lightweight armor material will provide adequate protection. Experience has demonstrated that fragmentation projectiles are likely to strike from any direction, making it desirable, therefore, to protect all aspects of the torso of the foot soldier. Since complete protection would be impractical, it has been decided that adequate protection against such hazards means protection to the torso. A sleeveless jacket would provide the necessary protection to the torso. On the other hand, if small-arms projectiles are the anticipated hazard, then relatively heavy armor Patented Jan. 26, 1971 must be employed. In order to use such heavy armor, it is necessary to effect a compromise by restricting the area to be protected to the vital organs of the torso.

It is the object of this invention to provide an armor system suitable for the foot soldier which will provide him with protection against the ballstic hazards of combat. Another object of this invention is to provide an armor system which will not unduly diminish the effectiveness of the wearer. And, it is the object of this invention to provide an armor system, the level of protection of which can be varied to defeat the anticipated ballistic hazards in the most effective way possible.

The objects of this invention are accomplished by an armor protective system comprising a flexible, sleeveless, fragmentation-protective jacket and a pair of rigid, anatomically contoured, small'arms protective, ballistic armor plates. The jacket is designed to be worn alone to provide protection against fragments from grenades, shells and mines. The small-arms protective armor plates are designed to be carried in pockets located on the front and back of the jacket to increase the level of protection to the vital organs in the thoracic cavity. The small-arms protective armor plates also contain integral fastening means which will permit them to be supported and worn about the torso of the wearer without the fragmentation-protective jacket. It is obvious, therefore, that the jacket, when worn alone, provides protection against fragments. The armor plates, when worn alone, provide protection against fragments and small-arms projectiles to very limited areas of the torso and that when the armor plates are worn in combination with the jacket there is provided fragmentation protection to the torso and smallarms protection to the vital organs in the torso.

The accompanying drawings illustrate a preferred embodiment of the invention which should not be deemed to limit the scope of our invention to any particular dimension, proportion or similar details shown therein.

FIG. 1 is a front elevation of the fragmentation-protective jacket of this invention with small-arms protective plates inclosed within pockets on said jacket.

FIG. 2 is a rear elevational view of the embodiment of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a top plan view of the jacket of FIG. 1 with the pocket flaps open and the waistbands extending to each side of the jacket.

FIG. 4 is an elevational view of the front, small-arms protective armor plate.

FIG. 5 is an elevational view of the back, small-arms protective armor plate.

FIG. 6 is a perspective View of the front and back plates in assembled relationship.

FIG. 7 is a longitudinal section showing the attachment of the shoulder straps of the front and back plates.

FIG. 8 is a longitudinal section through a portion of the garment of FIG. 1.

More particularly, the armor-protective system of the present invention consists of a fragmentation-protective jacket and a pair of rigid, anatomically contoured smallarms protective armor plates. The plates may be worn separately or in combination with the jacket.

The jacket 10, as shown in FIGS. 1, 2'and 3 is a sleeveless garment adapted to completely inclose the upper torso of the wearer from the waist to the neck. This jacket 10 is constructed of a front portion 11 and a back portion 12, which portions are joined together at each shoulder region. At the one shoulder 13, the two portions are shown stitched permanently together and at the other shoulder 14, the two portions are connected by adjustable and quickly releasable shoulder connecting means, e.g., a flexible shoulder strap 15, adjustable in length, one end of which is stitched to the back portion 12 and the other end is attached to the front portion by means of a pair of snap fasteners 16, the female portions of which are fixed to the strap and the male portions to the jacket. Each portion of the jacket is constructed as shown in FIG. 8 of an outer fabric layer 17 of nylon ballistic cloth and an inner layer 18 of the same material with the two layers being stitched together along their respective edges. Within and co-extensive with the inner and outer layers of the front and back portions of the jacket is a nylon, ballistic felt material 19 encased within a waterproof vinyl covering 20 of suitable thickness, e.g., 4 mils. The nylon ballistic cloth is a tightly woven, nylon fabric such as that described in military specification MIL-C-l2369D(GL), entitled Cloth, Ballistic, Nylon. The nylon ballistic felt is a needle punched felt such as that described in US. Pat. No. 3,320,619 and for purposes of this invention, is a felt having an areal density of 6 oz. per square foot which will provide protection against grenade, mine and shell fragments. The V ballistic limit of the jacket of this invention is of the order of 1,250 feet per second. V in this instance, is the impact velocity at which there is a 50% probability of penetration by a 17 grain, caliber .22 fragment simulator.

Referring to FIG. 1, there is shown on the exterior surface of the front portion of the jacket, a large fabric front pocket 21. This pocket is constructed of ballistic nylon cloth which is stitched to the outer fabric layer of the jacket. There is an opening 22 into the pocket at the bottom thereof as shown in FIG. 3 which can be closed by means of a front pocket flap 23 stitched to the outer fabric layer and adapted to be folded over the pocket opening. The flap 23 is releasably attached to the pocket by releasable fastener means such as a nylon hook and pile fastener. A strip of pile tape 25, the width of the pocket, is fastened to the outside surface of the pocket parallel with and adjacent to its bottom edge. A strip of hook tape 24, full width of the flap and fastened on the outer surface of the flap, as shown in FIG. 3, is adapted to engage the pile tape when the flap is folded over the front pocket opening. A strip of pile material 26 is placed on the underside of the flap for a purpose to be disclosed.

On the exterior of the back portion of the jacket shown in FIGS. 2 and 3, there is a large, fabric back pocket 27 similar in construction to the front pocket and having an opening into the pocket at the bottom thereof. The opening 28 into the pocket 27 is closed by a flap 29 which is adapted to be folded over to cover the pocket opening. Separable fastener means, such as a strip of pile tape 30 fastened to the outside of the back pocket and a strip of hook tape 31 mounted on the flap, close the pocket when the flap is folded over the pocket and the strips of hook and pile material are pressed together.

The front and back portions of the jacket are held in place about the torso by means of a pair of overlapped and releasably fastened fabric waistbands 32 and 33. Each fabric waistband is elastically connected to the back portion by heavy elastic bands 34 which permit the jacket to give or be displaced to accommodate body movements. Each of the waistbands is of sufficient length to permit their respective ends to overlap in front of the front portion 11. The overlapped waistband 32 has a strip of hook tape 35 on its inner surface which engages the strip of pile tape 26 on the exterior of the fabric pocket, and also has a strip of pile tape 36 on its outer surface. The overlapping waistband has a strip of hook tape 37 on its inner surface which releasably engages pile tape 36 of the overlapped waistband.

The jacket is donned by dropping the structure over the head of the wearer. The right shoulder strap is adjusted to achieve a comfortable fit and the waistbands 32 and 33 are drawn around the body of the wearer and into overlapping relationship in front of the front portion 11 of the jacket. The jacket is thereby held securely to the torso of the wearer providing protection against the certain ballistic fragments.

The small-arms protective ballistic armor plates used in the present invention are illustrated in FIGS. 4 to 6. These plates are intended to protect those areas of the body covered thereby against penetration by caliber .30 ball projectiles, as well as their equivalent and against penetration by fragments from shells, grenades and mines weighing up to 225 grains and having a velocity up to 2,100 feet per second. The preferred amor plate material for this purpose is a ceramic-fiber glass composite, as shown in FIG. 7, wherein the facing or outward component is a one-piece aluminum oxide, silicon carbide, or boron carbide ceramic structure 42 bonded by an adhesive 43 to a fiber glass laminate backup layer 44. The fiber glass laminate is a resin-impregnated, multilayer, fiber glass fabric with the resin content being in the range of 20% to by weight. The maximum areal density of this type of armor plate is less than 9 lbs. per square foot and preferably less than 7 lbs. per square foot. Because of the weight of this armor material, the body area being protected must be reduced to the absolute minimum. Therefore, the plates of this invention are designed to cover only the anterior and posterior aspects of the vital organs, i.e., heart, lungs and aorta, in the thoracic cavity.

The front armor plate shown in FIG. 4 is, as has been noted, a one-piece ceramic fiber glass composite with the ceramic layer being outermost with respect to the wearer. A spall cover 41, consisting of a layer of tightly woven ballistic nylon adhesively bonded to the ceramic face 42, reduces ceramic fragment splatter resulting from the impact of a high velocity projectile against the hard ceramic face. The armor plate is anatomically contoured to closely conform to the natural contour of the chest and the top portion 45 of the armor has a downward curve to permit unhindered movements of the neck. The upper half of the plate is narrower in width than the lower half so as not to restrict arm movements.

The front armor plate is provided with integral fastening means which permit this plate to be worn without the fragmentation-protective jacket. Extending above the top of the plate are spaced-apart shoulder webbing straps 46 which are attached to the back surface of the plate by an adhesive 47. Flexible fabric shoulder straps 48 are stitched-fastened to the shoulder webbing straps 46 with each strap having affixed thereto a non-slip buckle 49. The free ends of the shoulder straps may be joined together behind the neck of the wearer by means of a suitable buckle fastener, not shown, or the free ends may be fastened to strap buckles attached to a load carrying suspender, commonly worn by combat troops. A wide band 50 of pile tape is adhesively attached to the face of the front armor plate with the pile surface outwards. This band extends transversely across the width of the armor plate adjacent to the lower edge. A flexible fabric waistbelt 51 of sutficient length to encircle the torso of the wearer, is attached at one end to the front surface of the front armor plate. On the underside of the free end of the waistbelt there is a band of hook type material 52 which is adapted to releasably engage the band of pile tape 50 when the waistbelt has been drawn about the torso of the wearer and its free end pressed against the pile surface 50. This waistbelt serves to hold the front armor plate firmly in place against the torso of the wearer and to prevent shifting movements thereof in response to torso movements.

The back armor plate 55 shown in FIG. 5 is a similar one piece ceramic-fiber glass composite having a spall cover attached to the ceramic face. The back plate is also anatomically contoured to fit against the back of the wearer and is narrower in width near the top so as not to cover body areas requiring maximum articulation such as the shoulder blades. The shoulder strap assembly is adhesively attached to the inside surface of the back plate at each shoulder region. The assembly consists of shoulder Webbing straps 56 which are attached to the armor plate and flexible shoulder straps 57 which are stitched at one end to the respective webbing straps. On the exterior surface of the back armor plate, there is attached a band 61 of pile fastener tape to serve a purpose disclosed hereafter.

When it is intended to wear the front and back armor plates together without the fragmentation-protective projectile, the two plates are connected by threading the shoulder straps 57 of the back armor plate through the respective non-slip buckles 49 on the shoulder straps 48 of the front armor plate. This attachment is accomplished by sequentially drawing the end of each strap 57 under the non-slip buckle 49, through its forward slot 58, over the buckle ridge 59, through the back slot 60 and then out from under the buckle. The two plates 40 and 55, connected by the shoulder straps, are donned by lowering the plates over the head and torso until the straps rest on the shoulders of the wearer. The length of each strap is adjusted by drawing or withdrawing the shoulder straps through the buckles until the plates are properly positioned. At this point, the free end of the waistbelt 51 is drawn around the body of the wearer overlapping first the back armor plate and then the front armor plate. The band '53 of hook pile fastener tape attached to the inside surface of the waistbelt releasably engages the pile fastening tape 61 on the back armor plate and the free end of the waistbelt is pressed against the front of the front plate to fasten its hook tape 52 to the front plates fastener tape 50. Both plates are now locked to the waistbelt and held tightly against the torso such that they will not slide or shift under the waistbelt nor about the torso.

Having described the components of our variable, armor-protective system, let us now consider the manner in which they may be employed to provide the desired ballistic protection. The wearer will, of course, be required to pay a physiological price for the protection afforded by body armor and it is essentially, therefore, that the system be one that can realistically provide a desired or necessary level of protection without at the same time destroying the wearers effectiveness or being the direct cause of his becoming a casualty. The additional weight of body armor requires an additional expenditure of energy and a concomitant increase in caloric output. Furthermore, covering portions of the body with armor reduces the body aea available for heat loss. It is obvious, therefore, that when considering the utilization of body armor, one must necessarily consider the undesirable physiological consequences of such utilization, namely, fatigue or heat exhaustion.

With the present system, if the combat hazards are expected to be fragment, then the jacket may be worn without armor plates. The jacket imposes no restriction on mobility, weighs approximately 6 lbs. and covers approximately 5.75 sq. ft. of the torso which is approximately 25% of the body area. In the event that smallarms fire is expected in addition to fragments, then either the front armor plate or both the front and back armor plates may be inserted in their respective jacket pockets. Each plate covers approximately 1.2 sq. ft. of the front and back aspects of the torso and is positioned over the thoracic cavity. The combination of jacket and front armor plate weighs in excess of 13 lbs. and the combination of jacket and the front and back armor plates weighs in excess of lbs. The jacket and front plate only may, however, be worn to advantage in certain tactical situations whereas in other situations, it will be necessary to use both plates with the jacket. In the event that the only hazards anticipated are those resulting from small arms fire, it would be necessary to wear only the front armor plate or the combination of front and back armor plates. The use of armor. plates without the fragmentation-protective jacket is also indicated in certain tropical situations where the presence of the impermeable jacket would so reduce the ability of the body to dissipate heat that the wearer develop a body heat level that would render him an immediate casualty.

While a preferred form of the variable armor system of this invention has been described, it is to be understood that this invention is not limited to this form and to the materials described, and that certain changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention which is defined in the appended claims.

We claim:

1. An armor protective system capable of providing varying levels of ballistic protection to the upper torso of the wearer, comprising a flexible, sleeveless, fragmentation-protective jacket adapted to completely enclose the torso of the wearer from the waist to the neck, said jacket formed of a front portion and a separate back portion and having means associated therewith which join said front and back portions together at the shoulder region, at least one of said connecting means being quickly releasable and adjustable, said front and back portions each having an exterior fabric covering and separate interior fabric covering joined together at their respective edges and having within said fabric covering and co-extensive therewith a flexible, fragmentation-resistant material, a pair of transversely disposed fabric waistbands attached to said back portion adapted to extend around the body of the wearer to overlap in front of said front portion and having releasable fastening means associated therewith to hold the overlapping ends of said waistbands together, said front and back portions having attached to the exterior thereof respectively a front fabric pocket and a back fabric pocket, each of said pockets having an opening at the bottom thereof and a releasable closure means associated respectively therewith to close said pockets, each of said pockets adapted to receive a rigid, anatomically contoured small-arms protective ballistic armor plate.

2. An armor protective system according to claim 1 having elastic connective means joining said waistbands to said back portion.

3. An armor protective system according to claim 2 having a [flexible waterproof covering inclosing said flexible, fragmentation-resistant ballistic material which is nylon felt.

4. An armor protective system according to claim 3 wherein said releasable fastening means holding the end portions of said waistbands together and said releasable closing means for said pockets consists of opposed strips of hook and pile fastener material.

5. An armor protective system according to claim 4 wherein the; inner surface of said waistbands when overlapped and in contact with said front pocket carries means for attaching said waistbands to said front pocket.

6. An armor protective system according to claim 1 wherein a rigid, anatomically contoured, small-arms protective ballistic armor front plate is retained within said front fabric pocket to shield substantially all of the thoracic cavity and a portion of the upper abdominal cavity of the wearer.

7. An armor system according to claim 6 wherein a rigid, anatomically contoured, small-arms protective ballistic armor back plate is retained within said back fabric pocket to shield substantially all of the thoracic-lumbar region of the back of the wearer.

8. An armor protective system according to claim 7 wherein said armor front plate has a pair of spaced-apart shoulder straps attached to the upper end thereof which are adapted to lie across the shoulders of the wearer and said armor back plate as a pair of spaced-apart shoulder straps attached to its upper end which are adapted to be adjustably fastened to said front shoulder straps and to support said front and back plates over the shoulders of the wearer, said front plate having one end of a flexible fabric waistbelt attached thereto, said waistbelt being of sufficient length to encircle the body of the wearer and to extend in front of said front plate and having waistbelt fastening means associated with the free end of said waistbelt and the exterior of said front plate to releasably attach the free end of said Waistbelt to said front plate to hold said front plate in place.

9. An armor protective system according to claim 8 wherein said back armor plate has back plate fastening means attached to the external surface thereof, adapted to be engaged by fastening means on the inner surface of the portion of said waistbelt overlapping said back armor plate, said attachment of said back armor plate to said waistband serving to hold said back armor plate in a fixed position against the back of the wearer.

References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 1,256,422 2/ 1918 Anderson 22.5

2,717,437 9/1955 De Mestral 2Velcro Digest 3,444,033 5/1969 King 161-404XR 3,452,362 7/1969 Korolick et a1. 22.5

FOREIGN PATENTS [535,782 4/1941 England 22.5

864,844 2/1941 France 22.5

PATRICK D. LAWSON, Primary Examiner GEORGE H. KRIZMANICH, Assistant Examiner

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U.S. Classification2/2.5
International ClassificationF41H1/00, F41H1/02
Cooperative ClassificationF41H1/02
European ClassificationF41H1/02