Sniper-proof: .50 Caliber Bullets Can Kill. Meet the Body Armor That Can Stop Them | The National Interest

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.50-caliber heavy machine guns and sniper rifles are the most worried weapons for infantry on the battlefield. Since the .50 caliber bullet was originally used to pierce armor and shoot down the aircraft, it can actually guarantee a hit to disable a soldier. Most body armor is useless for 0.50 caliber bullets, because they are only used to protect ammunition, and the energy of the bullet is less than 1/3 of the .50 caliber.

However, there are some special body armors that can defend against 0.50 caliber projectiles. These boards are only issued to the crew, because their huge size and weight severely limit the soldiers' mobility. These panels are also usually limited to covering the front of the crew because the rear and sides are assumed to be protected by the aircraft's armor plates. However, since the .50 caliber muzzle is usually used for air defense, the protection of the caliber is considered important enough to develop body armor to resist this situation.

Because the crew's work is relatively static, it is the first person in its history to use body armor technology. During World War II, the U.S. Army Air Force bomber crew

Prevent shrapnel from shattering. Two models were produced, one completely covered the machine gunner who had to stand, and the other only covered the front pilot, and the pilot would have an armored seat to protect his back. This pattern of producing multiple vests for crew members will repeat itself in the second half of history.

However, the body armor of World War II can only prevent shrapnel and pistol bullets, which is a relatively low speed. They are easily pierced by conventional machine gun bullets.

This level of protection was not enough for the helicopter flight attendants during the Vietnam War, who wore vests from the Second World War and the Korean War during the war. Helicopter flight attendants need new vests, and they are often shot on the ground with machine guns of various 7.62x39 and 7.62x54R (.30 caliber) weapons.

A development plan started in the 1960s,

Development of a .30 caliber body armor for helicopter crews. A solution was found in a curved ceramic plate made of various composite materials that can withstand 0.30 caliber impact.

, But in the end a fabric "vest" style basket was created, which was fixed on the pilot's chest to achieve the best usability and comfort.

These early plate vests had a big problem,

Behind the plate. This led pilots to wear panel vests over older bulletproof vests from the 1950s. This was corrected in 1968, and a panel vest with bulletproof nylon lining was used to prevent flaking. This style of body armor will continue to be used in the 2000s.

The end of the Vietnam War caused the crew’s body armor technology to stagnate. Vietnamese helicopter pilots usually fire 0.50 caliber bullets from the Soviet DshK heavy machine gun, but because it is difficult to disperse the energy of the shots, the US military thought in 1971 that it could not develop armor that could resist 0.50 caliber bullets.

But in the 1990s, there were new developments in technology. As part of the SARVIP (Survival Armor Recovery Vest, Insert and Pouch) program to develop a new vest for Army aircrews, a new ceramic armor plate was also developed to fix it in the vest. It is said that this ceramic plate can provide "

. "However, the SARVIP system does not seem to be very popular with pilots, because photographs of combat pilots during the Gulf War rarely show inserts weighing 0.5 caliber. Later, Ceradyne produced another style of .50 aircraft. Core air-resistant board, its size is larger than the standard SAPI large board, but the board seems to be unused like SARVIP.

Judging from the size and volume of SARVIP and Ceradyne tablets, it is clear why they are not popular among pilots. Ceradyne boards are more than 1 inch thick and weigh more than 10 pounds (compared to standard infantry SAPI boards weighing less than 7 pounds and less than 1 inch), which can be very uncomfortable for pilots to wear.

Despite the existence of .50 caliber body armor, it is impractical for ordinary infantry using current technology. For infantry, moving fast in the fire usually means the difference between life and death. A pair of .50 caliber plates weighs only 22 pounds, making the soldiers unacceptable.

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