HomeMilitary Body ArmorThe Mehler System

The Mehler System

“I think in terms of size and capabilities, we are the European market leader, and globally speaking we are one of the largest companies of our kind…” says Thomas Homberg, the CEO of Mehler Systems, in an exclusive interview with BodyArmorNews.com.

Sprawled across 7A-333, Mehler Systems arranged a mammoth booth at the latest EnforceTac trade fair. A jury of armed forces and law-enforcement personnel gathered around, discussing armor, in awe of the company’s portfolio. We spoke with Thomas Homberg, who graciously answered all our burning questions.

Through an interview and our analysis, BodyArmorNews.com investigates: is Mehler Systems a new power in the ballistic protection industry?

As rebranded in November 2023, the European Group with German heritage entails of three brands, Mehler Protection, UF PRO, and Lindnerhof, all under the umbrella brand name of Mehler Systems. Just this February, Mehler Protection delivered a hundred thousand protection vest systems to the German Federal Armed Forces, within 12 months. Over a legacy of 40 years, the institution shipped over a million ballistic products into the market. How do they do it, and remain timely? Good old German values may not be the answer.

Apart from specific textile work, every phase of the industrial process is meticulously managed and executed in-house. One key element to Mehler Systems’ success might lay in internalization:

We are covering literally every step of our processes, from designing, developing, testing, qualifying and producing to after sales […]

says Thomas Homberg. So, let us break down the modern triumvirate of Mehler Systems.

All dimensions in the Group’s portfolio focus on three functional layers around the operator: 1) the tactical garment system,
2) the ballistic protection, and
3) carrying- and pouches systems for the operator’s mission equipment.

Specialized in tactical garments, UF PRO is a Slovenian company that provides the inner layer of tactical gear: combat shirt, pants, and more. The ballistic protection panel, hard or soft, is produced by Mehler Protection, as well as ballistic helmets, shields and riot gear. Mehler Protection’s vast portfolio also includes platform armor. Founded by former SOF operators in the German armed forces, Lindnerhof, a Bavarian company, contributes the carrying- and pouches systems. In a high degree of collaboration amongst these three companies, the interfaces between the three interrelated layers are optimized by Mehler Systems to smoothly reach their operators.

Beautifully articulated, Thomas explains, “Comfort is not a luxury item for the operator. Discomfort easily leads to distraction from the mission objective. Thus, comfort is a question of efficiency, durability and sustainability of operations, and can be the differentiator between mission success and mission failure… literally speaking, between life and death”. United by the love for protecting the lives that protect us, Mehler Systems is “awake at night” as Thomas puts it, “to constantly improve, innovate, and come up with new ideas and to deliver what supports the operators’ mission success”.

Displayed at EnforceTac, the ExoM Exoskeleton is a futuristic, load-bearing device fortified with comprehensive body armor. Funded by the Defence Innovation Agency (DIA) in France, the ExoM was developed in collaboration between Mawashi, a leading expert in human augmentation systems headquartered in Canada, and France’s GIGN, a prestigious and highly recognised tactical unit of the National Gendarmerie. The Exoskeleton offers a multitude of benefits tailored to the needs of special operation forces. Protective and lightweight, the armor efficiently redistributes 70 percent of the operator’s load from the shoulders to the ground, thereby reducing strain. Providing ballistic protection up to VPAM 8 standards, the Exoskeleton allows a whopping 99 percent range of motion. Thomas clarifies, “The ExoM, as presented here at EnforceTac, is a highly advanced demonstrator. We are constantly progressing in further optimizing this innovative and powerful system in our close partnership with the GIGN and Mawashi”. Until its official launch, the industry eagerly awaits the Exoskeleton’s arrival.

Mehler Systems works exclusively with governments and institutional authorities across Europe, USA, and Asia, aiming for further expansion. None of their offerings are for the general public, with the exception of UF PRO, whose products are popular among specific civil communities like hunters, sports-shooters or bush-crafters.

While designing ballistic body armor, building from the feedback of operators yields a mission-focused product. Speaking to the input of their end-users, Mehler Systems’ CEO tells us, “We have many former operators in our teams because they exactly understand the challenging mission requirements, based on their personal experience. They know what makes the difference, when split seconds matter. This is also why we maintain an intense, regular exchange with our customers from military, law enforcement and special forces units. They are always invited to visiting us in our facilities to discuss, to exchange on mission experiences and new developments and to jointly test new gear. The aim is to best understand their needs”.

During our research, an internal source in the Slovak army reported an error by their government in purchasing ballistic protection that was marked as a police vest on the Mehler website. That particular product is now discontinued, but the Slovak army confirms its use in a Facebook post. The soldier who wished to remain anonymous added, “The main issue is that it is universal size and can’t be adjusted for a 1.6 or 2.05 meter guy”, even though Mehler’s latest website circumscribes their vests from sizes small to extra large, tailored to a variety of shapes and sizes. The German company has plate carriers that are versatile and modular, but in practice, the Slovak army uses a standalone plate without a soft ballistic underneath, which our source found a bit “bulky”. Tracking different user experiences, the Mobile Unit (ME) of the Dutch police is to be fitted in new riot gear supplied by Mehler Systems. A recent article from Politie.nl praises their new uniform for its “flex concept” and “better ventilation” after carrying out several tests.

Aside from the European Union’s CE marking, the German law has a tight grip on sustainability, complicating the manufacturing process for an array of companies. In a compromise between security and sustainability, bureaucracy is as bureaucracy does. The German market, we observe, leaves this precarious balance to politicians, while evading the raised eyebrows of climate activists. Under the armor of honoring the rules, plain and simple, the carbon footprint remains in the hands of the law.

Politically speaking, after the war in Ukraine began, the demand for ballistic protection exploded. A shift from territorial alliance defenses to out of area operations changed the European mission environment, to which Mehler Systems promptly adapted. We asked Thomas if war would ever become obsolete: “If we would not be required with our products, that would be a silent dream, but I think that is not the case, and I think that will last” he replied. The courage to see the world as it is, is a crucial pillar of the industry.

Scientific conquests, a passion for protection, discipline, and uniformity in the modes of production distinguishes Mehler Systems from its competitors. This is why, as BodyArmorNews.com speculates, Mehler Systems might just be a growing power in the European body armor industry.

Video Section

Related Articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here