After the IDF operation Protective Edge, many units are still engaged with investigation. Some immediate conclusions are already implemented, such as protective equipment for the infantry, tells chief of the combat equipment weapons department. The investigations that came after the fighting they figured out that there needs to be changes and improvements in protection in a number of infantry and engineering units. For example, the protection gear as body armor, the new personal protection kit is just one of many projects IDF working on. One of the main objectives today, is to reduce the weight that the infantry soldier needs to carry and to provide more comfortable measures.
The new ceramic vest weighs about 15% less and provides better protection. The new body armor is lighter, more protected, ventilated and more convenient, the soldier bullet proof vest will be a three-dimensional network that would allow entry and exit of air. Also, it will be easier to wear a flak jacket over the vest. Meanwhile, the ground forces ordered 4,000 new ceramic vests of the new lighter model, with the goal to acquire another 20 thousand.
About a new infantry helmet, the ground forces of the development team are currently working on a helmet, which is supposed to be lighter by about 15% from the current infantry helmet. The new helmets should have better protection against shrapnel and bullets. It turns out that infantry force helmets are a priority for a number of other armies around the world. Beyond the matter of protection, the challenge now is to combine as many helmet technological measures as possible that would allow commanders to have better control and connectivity to other things – mainly observation sight. For example, the commander could get the helmet display image of UAV flying over or alternatively Map location of neighboring forces. The main idea is to combine Google glasses and pilot’s helmet. In both cases, the monitor should be clear with relevant data projected to the commander. The U.S army is already leading this king of experimental project: HEADS-UP
Helmet Electronics and Display System-Upgradeable Protection
Project conducted in Natick Army Laboratories – NATICK, Massachusetts, a complete helmet which reminds a motorcycle helmet was developed. The helmet has a special monitor that is made of a special bulletproof material. The soldier can pick up the monitor at all times to the front of the helmet similar to a motorcycle helmet.
80% is the development of new materials that are supposed to provide better protection to the head, eyes, ears and neck part, and 20% the soldier and the impact on his performance. The next step is production, after achieving a good solution for new compounds, we focus on the technological capabilities that are supposed to improve the soldier function.
A study made by the American Medical Corps came to a conclusion that among all types of fatal injuries – those that caused death or severe disability – 72% percent were head injuries. During the project two helmets were developed: Helmet for foot infantry soldiers and helmet for troops moving in vehicles. During the trials the soldiers wore the helmets in number of scenarios such as foot movement, going inside and outside a vehicle, aiming the weapon to a target through the screen monitor and wearing reading glasses. The next step in development is a combination of technological capabilities in the helmet so that it could project mission-relevant data. It needs to be emphasized that despite the success of the initial experiment, this project is still under development and preliminary testing.
About 90 thousand sets of glasses will come into the infantry force in the next five years, while 23 thousand kits were already purchased during the operation Protective Edge. Each kit includes two pairs of glasses, one dark for daytime combat, and one light. These lenses are made of rigid material – poly carbonate, they are not bursting when they get shrapnel hits and the visibility through them is good and very sharp. The soldiers who wear glasses regularly can install a number of special lenses, so they will not be restricted in any scenario of military operations.
For years, there was no medical emphasis to noise soldiers are exposed to during battle. In recent years, the soldiers were given earplugs, but in some cases they hampered their performance, especially on hearing the commands during battle management. The old earplugs will be replaced with a small sponge gasket developed by the Department of weapons at Army Headquarters in collaboration with the Medical Corps. This is a small sponge ear plug that seems simple – this is a selective earplug, and it will replace the flat headphones that under them there are ordinary earplugs. The principle of the new earplug is noise reduction. What is special about this plug is that by a small simple plastic tube you can control the penetration of noises to the ear. Voices can pass through the tube without any problem, but the gunfire and explosions are reduced. In terms of medical data, the new earplugs would lower the noise by 30 decibels, just like the headphone integrated with the flat sponge gaskets. The plug with the tube is so small and simple, and it would allow fighters to hang out with the plugs regularly under the helmet and to hear the commanders instructions. This is in contrast to what is happening today, soldiers need to take off the helmet, to put flat headphones and wear it again.