BAE Systems

Innovation - Personal Protection

Protecting the warfighter

When soldiers put themselves in harm’s way, they rely on our know-how and technology to ensure they come out on top. With lighter, smarter, stronger and better-connected armour than ever before, today’s soldier is truly a force to be reckoned with.

Ultra light

Ultra Lightweight Warrior (ULW) 2
Ultra Lightweight Warrior (ULW) 2
Innovation - Ultra Lightweight Warrior (ULW)
Innovation - Ultra Lightweight Warrior (ULW)

The equipment carried by modern dismounted troops not only keeps them safe, but also greatly improves their capability and effectiveness in a wide range of situations. Yet this also has a downside: weight. With a fully loaded pack weighing as much as 60kg for a three-day mission, dismounted troops are often hampered by fatigue, lack of mobility and back pain.

Tackling this challenge head-on, BAE Systems Security & Survivability (S&S) developed the Ultra Lightweight Warrior (ULW) system, giving soldiers the protection they need with weight savings of up to 35 per cent.

ULW consists of individual elements, such as a helmet, soft body armour, load-carrying systems, hard body armour and an integrated power system (IPS), that are worn within the ballistic vest.

But it is the ingenious way these elements are combined that provides the real value.

For example, through the custom device adaptor, IPS can simultaneously power various radios, navigation equipment, AA battery chargers, and a computer. It can then be recharged simply by connecting it to a standard outlet, just like a mobile phone.

Communication is close to our heart

Body Worn Antennas - Info graphic
Body Worn Antennas - Info graphic
Body Worn Antenna
Body Worn Antenna

A soldier’s ability to communicate and co-ordinate with colleagues is today one of the most powerful weapons in their arsenal. That is why we have developed a series of body wearable antennas, which reduce the soldier’s load while providing a real-time link to the information and communication needed to get the job done.

By weaving antennas into the very fibres of the uniform, the technology eliminates the need for cumbersome and conspicuous “whip” antennas. While discrete, body wearable antennas have the power to transmits voice, video data (from a helmet-mounted camera) and GPS location.

A system using this technology could improve the situational awareness of a military team as a whole, allowing soldiers to see through the eyes of their team mates in real time.

Stopping power

Innovation - Body Armour Video
Innovation - Personal Protection
Innovation - Personal Protection

Hard armour inserts are the mainstay of personal anti-ballistic protection, saving lives every day in the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq. We have manufactured more than million Small Arms Protective Insert (SAPI) plates since they were introduced in 1998 and they have proven their worth in the heat of battle time and time again.

There can be few more powerful testimonies to these lightweight, durable inserts than that of US Staff Sergeant Salvatore Giunta, who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery.

While on patrol, Specialist Giunta and his team were navigating through harsh terrain when they were ambushed by a well-armed and well-co-ordinated insurgent force.

Specialist Giunta immediately sprinted towards cover and engaged the enemy. Seeing that his squad leader had fallen, and believing that he had been injured, Specialist Giunta exposed himself to withering enemy fire and raced towards his squad leader and helped him to cover.

While Specialist Giunta was giving first aid, his body armour and secondary weapon were struck by enemy fire. Once again, he engaged the enemy before using grenades to conceal his position.

“Specialist Giunta was shot in the chest with an AK-47 rifle at close range,” said Colonel William Cole, US Army Project Manager for Soldier Protection and Individual Equipment.

“The only reason he wasn’t killed is because his ESAPI plate stopped that bullet.  It allowed him not only to survive, but to continue fighting and to lead his fire team as they counter-attacked.”


A life-saving heads-up

HEADS Sensor
HEADS Sensor

A mortar explosion knocks you off your feet, stumbling into a rough stone wall in a hail of dust and debris. Your mates are suddenly all around you, helping you to your feet. You feel fine… but you’re not.

Combat-related traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are not only increasingly common, they are also pernicious; only coming to light some time after the incident which caused them, often with serious medical consequences.

BAE Systems is helping diagnose potentially serious head traumas before they become a problem, through the development of its Headborne Energy Analysis & Diagnostic System (HEADS) sensor. The sensor fits into the wearer’s helmet and reports any blast-related head injuries on returning to base.

First introduced to the military in 2008, there are now 7,000 HEADS units in use by the US Army, protecting lives every day.

More information

Multimedia Tile

  • National Military Appreciation Month
  • Floorplan, 2014
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