HomeBody Armor ManufacturersInnovative Women's Body Armor Unveiled in Kyiv

Innovative Women’s Body Armor Unveiled in Kyiv

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In a display of innovation and gender-specific protection, Kyiv played host to the unveiling tactical body armor designed exclusively for women. This revolutionary development takes into account the unique contours of the female body while also offering a lighter alternative compared to the traditional men’s ballistic vests.

The product was presented in proximity to the Princess Olha monument in Kyiv, where female veterans had previously adorned the statue with a bulletproof vest as part of the “She Needs Armour” campaign.

Manufactured by Ukrainian Armour, the ballistic vest offers several significant advantages. Notably, it is quicker to put on and off, significantly lighter than standard men’s vests, customized to fit the female anatomy, and ensures an even weight distribution. Protection extends to the torso, neck, groin, and legs, with the added flexibility of detaching specific components to enhance mobility.

This innovative design emerged in response to a request from the Ministry of Defence and servicewomen themselves. Approximately 5,000 female servicewomen currently operate in a double-risk zone at the frontlines, where they lack adequate gender-specific protection. This lack of tailored protection not only jeopardizes their health but also creates a psychological sense of vulnerability, as they are compelled to wear ill-fitting men’s bulletproof vests.

Traditional men’s bulletproof vests, issued to soldiers in the army, are cumbersome and ill-suited to the female body shape. Unlike men’s vests, which feature flat armor plates that often chafe against the skin, the newly designed female armor incorporates curved plates tailored to the female physique. This ergonomic consideration not only enhances comfort but also addresses potential vulnerabilities.

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Moreover, the weight of the vest is reduced by employing composite ceramic-polyethylene plates instead of heavier metal ones. The vest’s fabric itself features soft ballistic protection, capable of providing NIJ Level 2 protection, even without additional hard armor plates, against shell fragments.

In situations where an NIJ Level 4 protection against rifle rounds is required, a hard armor plate can be inserted into the pocket of the tactical carrier. However, it’s important to note that such a plate does protect only vital organs, leaving the neck, shoulders, and groin exposed, while the rest of the body remains armored against fragments. Achieving full-body protection against rifle rounds remains a challenge.

Available in sizes ranging from S to XL, each product can be further tailored for a snug fit using elastic and a fastening system. The female body armor has successfully passed internal tests, with paramedics Taira and volunteer Tata Kepler participating in the trials. The next phase involves testing by the Ministry of Defence, followed by negotiations to determine the distribution of this groundbreaking protective gear among servicewomen.

The cost of this innovative female body armor is approximately UAH 50,000, or roughly US$1,370, making it considerably more expensive than standard army-issued bulletproof vests. However, its unique benefits and tailored design make it an invaluable investment in the safety and well-being of female servicewomen.

This development was spurred by a pressing need for gender-specific protection within the military. On September 13, members of the Women’s Veterans Movement initiated the “She Needs Armour” campaign by adorning the Princess Olha statue with a bulletproof vest. This compelling act aimed to draw the attention of the Defence Ministry to the absence of adequate protection for female soldiers. Supported by the Kyiv City State Administration and the Ministry of Culture, the campaign highlighted the urgent requirement for women’s ballistic vests, comfortable winter uniforms, helmets, small-sized boots, and other essential equipment.

The Women’s Veterans Movement emphasized that testing of suits from various Ukrainian manufacturers yielded positive results. Importantly, these local solutions help address the critical issue of lengthy delivery times for international purchases. The movement underscored that logistics for defenders should be the responsibility of the Ministry of Defence of Ukraine, signaling a collective call to action to ensure the safety and well-being of female servicewomen.

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