Troops get anti-blast underpants
Published 16/12/2010 | 16:22
British troops are being kitted out with special anti-blast underpants to protect them from homemade bombs.
More than 340 soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan and thousands injured - often horrifically from roadside bombs.
But troops are now being issued with "pelvic protection", a three-tiered system of clothing and armour consisting of special protective underwear and detachable armoured modular trousers.
The £10 million system is designed to integrate with current kit.
Colonel Peter Rafferty, personal combat equipment team leader at Defence Equipment and Support, said: "Our troops in Afghanistan face specific threats and by working together, the MoD and industry have created a layered system of clothing and body armour that offers troops fighting on the frontline the best balance between protection, mobility and comfort. Troops on operations already have world-renowned body armour but we continually seek to improve the personal protection available to them."
Army chiefs said the new kit balances protection with comfort and manoeuvrability.
It allows troops to undertake operations, enabling them to wear one or more of the protective layers depending on the task.
They are already being worn by troops on operations, with 45,000 pairs delivered to Afghanistan and another 15,000 ready to be issued to deploying troops. A further 60,000 are to be manufactured and delivered to troops early next year.
The first layer of protection is a pair of shorts which troops wear as underwear.
Using cutting-edge science and technology developed by the MoD and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), the underwear is manufactured from scientifically-tested ballistic material that provides an initial level of protection to mitigate against blasts, including shrapnel.