First-ever anthropometric survey to design body protectors for female security personnel : The Tribune India

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First-ever anthropometric survey to design body protectors for female security personnel

FBP is the basic requirement for police and security troops, especially in riot conditions

First-ever anthropometric survey to design body protectors for female security personnel

For representation only. Photo credit: iStock



Vijay Mohan
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, December 15

 In the first-ever anthropometric survey of women personnel in security forces, the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a female-specific sizing system for a full-body protector (FBP) that overcomes the limitations and hazards posed by using protectors designed for males.

Initially, Indian female personnel had to wear the male FBP, which was ill-fitting and posed glaring problems. Instead of safeguarding them and letting them give their best in pressing conditions, the ensemble was a hindrance to their mobility and protection. FBP is the basic requirement for police and security troops, especially in riot conditions, and body armour that does not fit properly poses a problem when shooting, moving and communicating.

“When it comes to designing a female-specific body protector, there are some design challenges like fitting the curved armour plates to fit the female form, while for men, covering the somewhat barrel-like shape of an average male torso is a comparatively uncomplicated design procedure,” the researchers said..

As many as 28 anthropometric variables relating to girths of chest, abdomen, thigh, hip and calf, arm scye, arm length, upper arm length, outside leg length and inside leg length were among the variables that were analyzed among female personnel aged between 21 to 54 years to design a new female specific protector .

Pointing out that currently available ensembles do not incorporate gender-specific design inputs, the study states that very frequently extra-large sizes of male body protectors were given to female troops for accommodating their bust size. However, this being too large for the target user population, caused several issues during operational manoeuvres, like the front plates pushed against the chin while sitting, difficulty in bending at the waist while getting in or out of vehicles.

“This is the first comprehensive anthropometric survey conducted to develop a sizing system in Indian paramilitary personnel for their full body protector design. The outcome is an enhanced fit of FBP and a guideline for a proper sizing system and sizing designation,” the study said.

The findings of the study, undertaken by six scientists at DRDO’s Defence Institute of Physiology and Allied Sciences (DIPAS), New Delhi, on a request from the Central Reserve Police Force, were published by DRDO in October 2021.

The study observed that among US personnel who had served in Afghanistan, 20 percent of musculoskeletal injuries in females were associated with body armour, compared to only four percent for men.

When female soldiers in the US military wore body armour designed for men, several problems were encountered like impeding the wearer’s range of movement, affecting their aim with a firearm and ability to swiftly get in and out of a vehicle. Moreover, during hand-to-hand combat the ill fit creates gaps that an opponent can grab onto.

 


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