The Department of Defense announced today recipients of the third annual Defense Manufacturing Technology Achievement Award. Award recipients included James Mackiewicz and Janice Knowlton, U.S. Army Natick Soldier Center, Natick, Mass.; Robert Monks, Simula Safety Systems Inc., Phoenix, Ariz.; and Richard Palicka, CERCOM Inc., Vista, Calif. The award recognizes individuals most responsible for outstanding technical accomplishments in realizing a responsive world-class manufacturing capability to affordably meet the warfighters' needs throughout the Defense system life cycle. The 2001 award winners were responsible for the Army's Enhanced Manufacturing Processes for Body Armor Materials initiative.
"Thanks to the dedicated and outstanding efforts of the award-winning team, the soldiers and Marines who may be in harm's way participating in Operation Enduring Freedom will be wearing the best ballistic protection available in the world today," said Ronald M. Sega, director for Defense Research and Engineering.
The current interceptor body armor jacket can stop 9 mm handgun bullets. Now, because of the work of this team and the success of this ManTech project, two highly effective, lightweight ceramic armor materials have been developed and implemented which vastly enhance the interceptor's capabilities. Siliconized silicon carbide and boron carbide plates that can stop rifle or machine-gun fire--which was not possible with this jacket in the past--are now available to insert in the jacket's pockets. Simula, with a production capacity of 5,000 plates per month, has already delivered 45,000 of its siliconized silicon carbide plates and is under contract to deliver 140,000 more; 12,000 of CERCOM's boron carbide plates have also been fielded. The new armor plates are 55 percent lighter than traditional body armor, and have a cost approximately 60 percent lower than the high performance armor plates that were available at the start of this project.
Additional information about this award, as well as info about the other nominees for the 2001 award, is available at http://www.defenselink.mil/news/Dec2001/d20011206dmc.pdf.