US 3634889 A
A garment suitable for military and/or police personnel comprises a jacket member constructed of fire retardant cloth, having front and back sections joined along shoulder covering parts, and at least one open side for donning the jacket with a flap extending from the back section partly around and securable to the front section. The jacket member has a plurality of integral external compartments receiving and retaining individual items such as survival kits of food, flares, radio, etc. A ballistic fragmentation protective member, preferably a removable fragmentation protective cloth, has a cover of waterproof material such as vinyl chloride, and is positioned within a pocket formed on the jacket member to cover a major portion of the front, or the front and back of the torso of the wearer. A removable antiballistic armor unit, as of ceramic, is held in a separate pocket means on the jacket member which positions the armor unit across the front of the torso of the wearer, and a separate such unit across the back of the wearer where rear protection is needed. The pockets may include individual fasteners through which the fragmentation protective cloth and/or the armor units can be removed by the wearer when they are not needed.
Description (OCR text may contain errors)
United States Patent Rolsten [451 Jan. 18, 1972 54] SURVIVAL ARMOR UNIT  Inventor: Robert F. Rolsten, I436 Adirondack Trail,  ABSTRACT Dayton, Ohio 45409 A gannent suitable for military and/or police personnel comprises a jacket member constructed of fire retardant cloth,  Flled' 1969 having front and back sections joined along shoulder covering  Appl. No.: 888,462 parts, and at least one open side for donning the jacket with a flap extending from the back section partly around and 1 securable to the front section. The jacket member has a plu-  U.S.Cl ..2/2.5 .1, ramy Ofime "11 external compartments receivin and retain  ml/0 d d l h lk' ff (1%] d ing in ivi ua items suc as surviva its 0 oo ares, ra io,  Field of Search ..2/2.5, 2, 94, 102, 161/404 em A ballistic fragmentation protective m emb er, preferably a removable fragmentation protective cloth, has a cover of  kefely'eynces ll?! waterproof material such as vinyl chloride, and is positioned UNITED STATES PATENTS within a pocket formed on the jacket member to cover a major pomon of the front, or the front and back of the torso of the 5 l/ 1923 Difvls 2/102 wearer. A removable antiballistic armor unit, as of ceramic, is 2,052,684 9/1936 wlsbl'od held in a separate pocket means on the jacket member which 2,627,072 2/ 1953 positions the armor unit across the front of the torso of the 2,748,391 6/ 1956 Lewis et wearer, and a separate such unit across the back of the wearer 3,337,875 8/1 967 Blakeney "2/25 where rear protection is needed. The pockets may include in- 3,452,362 7/1969 Korolick et al. ..2/2.5
Attorney-Marechal, Biebel, French & Bugg dividual fasteners through which the fragmentation protective cloth and/or the armor units can be removed by the wearer when they are not needed.
3 Claims, Drawing Figures Pmmmmuam 33348 9 SHEEI 1 OF 2 INVENTOR ROBERT E ROLSTEN A TTOR/VE YS PAIENTEI] .IMI I 8 B72 SHEET 2 OF 2 BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates to the art of personnel protective armor such as used by police and/or military personnel. Heretofore, personal armor protection for personnel has been in the form of a supporting jacket with a fragmentation protective member and an insertable armor unit of an antiballistic nature, such as a special ceramic annor unit. Reference is made to a published article entitled Breakthrough in Armor appearing in the July 1968, issue of Space/Aeronautics magazine, pages 55-63. The jacket merely functions in that case as a support and a permanent carrier part of the fragmentation protection and in some cases a single small pocket has been provided with instructions on use of the unit. The fragmentation protection member is in the form of a special cloth which loses it protective efficiency (and incidentally adds weight) if it becomes wet, yet this type of equipment did not include any provisions for waterproofing the fragmentation protective cloth.
Military crews, particularly of helicopters and/or observer aircraft in combat zones, customarily wear a separate survival jacket in the form of a vest having a plurality of separate outer compartments or pockets shaped and designed to hold items such as small radios, flares, signaling mirrors, food rations, etc. Many times these crew members also are required to don a parachute harness over this garment, and any protective annor equipment is worn separately. The result is a bulky, combersome, and unwieldy arrangement of separate units which interfere with the mobility of the wearer and is diffieult and time consuming to put on and take off.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION In accordance with the present invention, a life support and protective garment is provided in the form of a jacket member, for example a vest, constructed of fire retardant cloth and having extema] compartments for receiving and retaining individual items, such as survival gear, such compartments being strategically arranged about the surface, particularly the front of the garment, in order to provide spacing for receiving harness straps between some of the compartments. The jacket member has a pocket and/or pockets with suitable fasteners for opening and closing thereof. A ballistic fragmentation protection member, such as cloth with a water proof covering, is shaped to fit snugly within the pocket, in order to be in position covering a major portion of the front of the torso of the wearer, where front protection only is needed, or to cover the front and rear of the torso where protection from both front and back and along the sides is required. A removable rigid, and relatively heavier, armor unit is removably positioned in the jacket member, preferably in a separate pocket formed for this purpose, extending across the front of the torso of the wearer, and across the back where desired, for providing ballistic missile protection to facilitate the use of the jacket member, preferably its front and back sections are jointed over the shoulders and one or both sides are separated from front to back, with flaps extending from the back section partially around the front and securable thereto. A preferred fastener is a contact type of fastener embodying a plurality of small barbs or hooks on the interengaging parts, such fastening cloth being well known per se.
In use, the garment is adaptable for various purposes. Preferably the fragmentation protection or the armor protection can be omitted if desired. Either or both can be shed and discarded by the wearer when no longer needed, particularly if it is desired to reduce the weight of the complete unit. Alternatively, the fragmentation protective cloth can be integral with the jacket member, and the armor unit can be an optional addition. The waterproof covering over the fragmentation protection cloth prevents the cloth from absorbing moisture and thus prevents both adding weight and reducing the fragment absorbing efficiency of the cloth. In some forms, as where the wearer is a pilot normally seated in an armored chair, the necessary fragmentation and antiballistic protection can be provided only where needed over the front of the torso. Where the armor units have shattered in use, they can readily be replaced.
The present invention thus provides an integral life-support protective garment which can selectively include features of fragmentation protection and ballistic missile protection. The primary object of the invention, therefore, is to provide such a garment.
Other objects and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the following description, the accompanying drawings and the appended claims.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 is a view of the survival armor unit provided by the invention worn in conjunction with a typical parachute harness;
FIG. 2 is a plan view of the unit lying flat with the front to the bottom of the drawing;
FIG. 3 is a cross-sectional view through the front portion of the unit showing the pockets for antiballistic materials; and
FIG. 4 is a view taken looking from the rear of the front section of the unit, with portions broken away to illustrate the manner in which the antiballistic materials are incorporated.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to the drawings, particularly to FIGS. 1 and 2, the unit comprises as a basic part a jacket member or garment constructed of fire retardant cloth or coated material (e.g. Nomex, a nylon cloth, or polybenzimidazole), having a front section 10, a back section 12, the two being joined by shoulder covering parts 14 defining an opening 15 through which the wearer inserts his head and shoulders when donning the garment. Flaps 16 extend from opposite sides of the lower part of the back section 12, and are adapted to fit around the lower waist of the wearer, engaging the smaller flap sections 18 near the bottom of the front section. Suitable fastening means are provided for connection of the flaps 16 and 18, or for connection of flaps 16 to each other. This fastening means is adjustable, and preferably is of the type employing a larger number of small barbs on each of the two parts to be fastened, whereby the wearer can merely bring the flaps 16 around his sides and over the flaps 18 (or over each other), and bring the two into engagement. For further fitting of the garment to persons of different size, the back section 12 may incorporate suitable lacing 19, which can be drawn tight to fit the garment fairly snugly to the body of the wearer.
On the front section, integrally formed therewith, are a number of external compartments 20a20f which are adapted to contain various individual items, such as survival kits ineluding food, flares, a radio, mirror, first aid kit, and similar items. Since the garment is intended in some instances to be worm by aircraft personnel, the compartments 20a-20f are suitably spaced apart to accommodate a harness 22 having at least one cross-chest strap 23 and side and leg straps 24. It will be noted in FIG. ll that these straps conveniently extend around and between the compartments, so as not to interfere with quick access to the various items in the compartments, and also to allow the harness to be tightened snugly over the garment without crushing any of the items in the compartments. It is, of course, desirable that the harness be fitted snugly to the body in order to minimize possible injury to the wearer in the event that he should have to parachute and/or be lowered or lifted with a hoist.
The garment shown in the drawings is particularly designed for aircraft crewmen who in the operation of their duties are normally seated in an armored seat which provides antiballistic protection to their back, partially to their sides, and to their upper legs. Therefore, this garment incorporates antiballistic protection only to the front torso of the wearer. It is understood, however, that if antiballistic protection for the rear of the wearer is desired, this can be provided as hereafter described. In the inner portion of the front section there is formed pocket means for antiballistic materials. Preferably, although not necessarily, this pocket means includes a first pocket 30, defined by an inner layer 29 and a middle layer 3i, which extends essentially the full width and height of the front section, in order to cover the entire front of the torso of the wearer.
Within the pocket 30 is a ballistic fragmentation protective member 32, preferably in the form of a fragmentation protective cloth. This cloth is provided with a waterproof cover 33 of material such as vinyl chloride, and the member 32 is dimen sioned essentially to fill the entire pocket 30. Fragmentation protective cloth of this type is well known and does not per se form a part of the present invention. Where it is desired to have member 32 removable, in the lower end of the pocket is a suitable flap 34 which extends the full width of the pocket 30, and which may include a suitable fastening means 35, such as the interengaging barb type fastener previously mentioned. This flap can readily be opened permitting removal of the fragmentation protective member 32 for purposes of inspection and/or replacement, or to permit the wearer to discard this protective member in the event that its additional bulk interferes with his mobility and/or comfort. Materials of this type, while not particularly heavy, are dense and can become uncomfortable in warm climates.
Optionally, the pocket means also includes preferably a separate pocket 40 which is defined by middle layer 31 and an outer layer 41 the latter also forming a portion of the pockets a-f. Pocket 40 provides a means for containing and positioning an antiballistic missile armor unit 42, which may be of a special shaped ceramic construction designed with a contour to form generally around the front of the torso, and being essentially rigid. Materials of this type are well known, and have the capability of protecting the wearer from armor-piercing projectile. A flap 44, again provided with suitable fastening means 45, is provided at the lower edge of the pocket 40 to permit removal of the armor unit 42 if and when desired. For example, since this unit is rather heavy, it may interfere with the mobility of the wearer, and he may wish to sacrifice the additional protection it affords in the interests of shedding the additional weight.
As previously mentioned, the garment shown in FIGS. 1-4 is provided with pockets for antiballistic members or armor units only in the front section 10. As shown in FIG. 4 the fragmentation protective cloth 32 covers the entire front torso of the wearer and the ceramic armor unit 42 covers essentially the same extent, although it may not be feasible to shape this unit to extend so far around the sides of the wearer. The same construction as shown in FIGS. 3 and 4 can be incorporated into the back section 12 in those instances where antiballistic protection is needed for the rear of the wearer. In such event, additional pocket means, preferably two additional pockets comparable to the pockets 30 and 40, are provided in the back section 12, and additional antiballistic fragmentation protection member, if desired, and an antiballistic projectile armor unit, are provided for insertion in these additional back pockets. In the same fashion as described, these antiballistic protective members can be removed readily by the wearer and discarded if desired, and of course they can be removed for inspection and/or maintenance. For example, the ceramic armor unit will shatter if it receives a direct hit from an armor piercing projectile, and it will be necessary to replace the unit before it can be used again.
It should be recognized that the jacket member itself can provide some antiballistic fragmentation protection, as by constructing the jacket member of various nylon cloths, or the like, which are known to have such properties. Furthermore, these properties can be improved by using multiple plies of these materials, which preferably are secured to each other by regularly spaced stitching or some other suitable means adhering the plies to each other while retaining the flexibility necessa ofagarment.
ii/hile the forms of apparatus herein described constitute preferred embodiments of the invention, it is to be understood that the invention is not limited to these precise forms of apparatus, and that changes may be made therein without departing from the scope of the invention, which is defined in the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A life-support garment comprising:
a. a torso-covering front section,
b. means for attaching said front section to a wearers torso with said front section adapted to cover substantial portion of the front thereof,
0. means defining a first pocket on said front section extending throughout a substantial portion of said front section and adapted to receive an armor unit therein which substantially fills all of said first pocket,
d. means defining a second pocket extending substantially coextensively with said first pocket in underlying relationship thereto and adapted to receive a ballistic fragmentation protective member, and
e. means defining a plurality of equipment-receiving third pockets mounted on an exterior surface of said front section in spaced relationship to each other and in a center field portion of said front section leaving marginal side edges thereof free of pockets to accommodate harness straps whereby a harness may be worn over said garment with the straps of a harness adapted to extend across said front section and along said marginal side edges thereof and said third pockets remain freely accessible to the wearer of said garment.
2. A garment as defined in claim 1 further comprising:
a. a torso-covering back section, and
b. means attaching said back section to said front section to position said back section over the back portion of the torso of a wearer.
3. The apparatus of claim 2 further comprising:
a. means for selectively opening and closing at least some of said pocket means.