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Many types of torso protection for service members’ vital organs (e.g., heart, lungs) exist, however the soft tissue around the lower torso and upper leg regions are often left vulnerable to blast-related injuries that can have negative, long-term, quality of life impacts on urinary and sexual function. To mitigate this vulnerability, the Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center (NSRDEC) has developed the blast debris protective harness to replace the current flat groin panel which has a number of drawbacks.
The blast debris protective harness provides significantly increased lower torso protection over the current groin panel due to the ballistic inserts, comprised of overlapping layers of seam allowance uniquely sewn in opposite directions, creating a convoluted path for any small blast fragments to pass through. In addition to increased coverage, the blast debris protective harness features adjustable buckles allowing for the harness to fit snuggly against the inner thighs and groin, offering increased mobility, less snagging on the surrounding environment, and for the wearer to easily doff and don the harness. During field evaluations, the blast debris protective harness achieved a higher level of user acceptability over the current groin panel, a three-dimensional diaper-style blast protective system that lacks femoral, pelvic, and thigh coverage, and a short-style blast protective system that impedes mobility, increases thermal burden, and hinders medical access.
The blast debris protective harness may be an attractive lower torso and extremity protection alternative for allied military organizations, law enforcement, and other personnel working in potentially dangerous areas.
- The design of the harness is versatile and can accommodate the needs of the end user, be it mobility or increased protection, as the protective insert can accept a range of material compositions and protection levels
- The seam design used on the blast and ballistic material insert provides increased protection and greater comfort
- The harness enables a closer fit to the body, yet still permits the free flow of air
- US patent 9,322,618 is available for license