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.”