Innovation in Future Soldier Protection Gear

Airmen Basic trainees in body armor use hand signals as they take a knee during a tactical drill movement down an improvised explosive device lane Dec. 17 as part of the five-day deployment exercise called the Basic Expeditionary Airman Skills and Training, or BEAST, which kicked off Dec. 15 at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. The BEAST is the newly built complex added into the extended 8.5 week Basic Military Training curriculum that began Nov. 5. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. Desiree N. Palacios)

This post is also available in: עברית (Hebrew)

Modern small arms developed by leading countries feature high armor-piercing capabilities even with the small caliber. In view of this, Russia and other countries are developing individual protection gear included in the so-called ‘Soldier of the Future’ outfit.

Russia’s state hi-tech corporation Rostec is developing stronger individual protection for soldiers. Rostec CEO Sergei Chemezov told that they were developing “new technology of forming aramid fibers (a strong synthetic fiber) for developing the next-generation armor. The research shows already now that the use of this technology helps increase the armor reliability by 12-15% compared to foreign analogs, with its weight remaining the same.” The new material can be used in the Ratnik ‘Soldier of the Future’ combat gear.

The Ratnik is a system of advanced protective and communication equipment, weapons and ammunition. It comprises around 40 protective and life support elements and allows a soldier to get continuously updated information about the situation in the combat area. In addition, the Ratnik includes a self-contained heater, a backpack, an individual water filter, a gas mask and a medical kit.

Currently, the Russian troops are receiving the second-generation Ratnik outfit whose body armor withstands 7.62mm bullets fired from the SVD sniper rifle from a distance of 10m.

The Ratnik weighs 24 kg. The second-generation Ratnik combat gear has been arriving for Russia’s ground forces, the Airborne Force and marines since 2016.

The third-generation Ratnik-3 outfit is expected to keep the protection level and simultaneously reduce the gear’s weight. An advanced Ratnik-3 combat gear with an integral exoskeleton and a helmet visor-mounted target designation system is currently being developed for Russia’s Armed Forces.

In fact, Ratnik future combat gear has been already demonstrated successfully in the Syrian arena on many occasions, according to Rostec claimed that none of the elements of the combat gear’s protection was ever pierced.