The Army's Shrapnel-Proof Undies Will Be 'Breathable'

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Yesterday, the U.S. Army sent out a new request to its clients in the military industrial complex: We need heavy-duty underwear. But not just any old bullet-proof boxers; they must be comfy. 

There is, of course, a deadly serious reason for the request since it means the difference between a mangled pelvic region and the nether regions of a soldier living to see another day. The solicitation form doesn't specify exactly how the indestructible undies have to work, but the performance requirements are clear: "The system shall be capable of providing a ballistic resistance (V50) against 2gr Right Circular Cylinder (RCC) of at least 700 ft/s."

And there is this: "Use breathable fabrics, each with air permeability of at least 240 cfm/ft sq," reads the solicitation. It also gives specifications about moisture vapor transfer and anti-microbial performance. And to be clear, we're not talking about tighty-whities: "Similar style to male boxer briefs, including fly front," reads the instructions. The removable ballistic inserts that come with it must "provide protection to the front thigh and do not interfere with normal walking or running motion." Also, the area of coverage must include "genitals, perineum, anus, and inner thigh." 

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The main purpose for super duty underwear is to protect soldiers from Improvised Explosive Devices, which is something the military has long-sought to protect its soldiers from. The image above shows a pair of Kevlar underwear the Army designed to protect soldiers patrolling on foot, as a February Wired UK story explained. "There were a lot of significant injuries, and very traumatic injuries occurring to soldiers in the lower extremity area," Frank Lozano, of PEO Soldier, said. Apparently, the military is giving military contractors a shot to make an even better pair. 

We're not exactly sure how they test these things but it does summon images of a particular scene in Super Troopers involving a metallic athletic cup:



You can see the entire solicitation here:


This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.