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Counter-IED PPE Horizon 0, Phase 1 Human Factors Trial: Performance Evaluation of Soft Armour Personal Protective Equipment (Essai Ergonomique du Projet Horizon 0 d'EPI a l'Epreuve des IED, Phase 1: Evaluation du Rendement d'un Equipement de Protection Individual en Materiel Souple)

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The nature of the threat from Improvised Explosive Devices IED has changed the pattern and probability of injury for both mounted and dismounted personnel. The aim of the Horizon 0 Phase 1 and Phase 1a trials was to investigate the impact of various soft armour options on soldier mobility. The trials considered soldier task performance as well as soldier acceptance and comfort. The soft armour options varied in stiffnessflexibility, weight, bulk, and protection levels. Phase 1 was a five-day trial with twenty reserve soldiers and Phase 1a was a two day trial with eleven reserve soldiers. Participants undertook a battery of human factors tests while wearing test conditions in a repeated measures design. Fit, Range of Motion ROM, discrete mobility, and compatibility test stands were conducted followed by dynamic assessments of mobility and agility. Data collection included questionnaires, focus groups, compatibility scores, performance measures, and Human Factors HF observer assessments. Test conditions used the Modular Tactical Body Armour System MTBAS armour carrier design, with modular add-on groin, neck, throat, and brassard protection. In general all conditions were in the acceptable range greater than 4, with the exception of condition A 10 plies KM2 600 9 plies FR10 with 1.9 kg plates from Phase 1a and condition Ninitial 2.1 kgm2 KM2 400 N1, 5.4 kgm2 Spectra Shield N3 with 1.4 kg plates in Phase 1. It appears that bulk is a more detrimental factor to soldier acceptance than stiffness. Areal density has moderate predictive value of soldier acceptance of soft armour however, there seems to be another factor not accounted for in measures of areal density influencing soldier acceptance as strongly as areal density. In Phase 1, Ninitial was constructed with overlapping fills N1 and N3.

Subject Categories:

  • Countermeasures
  • Ammunition and Explosives
  • Protective Equipment

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