Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Body Armor Comparsion
The best of Chinese body armor vest is at least 1 to 2 generations behind the US vest. Comparing the improved version of the Type 54 vest that the PAP has to the US Interceptor system, both offers Level IIIA protection on the soft armor and Level IV on the hard plates. However, the Chinese system weights 19 lb comparing to 16 lb of the US one. Btw, the Chinese body armor uses imported American made Dupont kevlar.
The biggest difference is in the plates. The Chinese system uses alumium-oxide plates that's only rate to take one shot. The US plates use boron carbide or silica carbide with Spectra laminated fibers that can takes multiple shots.
There's even bigger difference in ergonomic design between the two. The Amercian system is far more modular and comfortable.
The only advantage the Chinese system has is low cost. Which is only 1/3 of the American system. However if you factoring the average cost of living into the equation, the Chinese system is way more expensive to the Chinese than the American system to the American in cost. It takes less than one month of middle-class American income to buy an Interceptor vest. While it will need 3-4 months of Chinese middle-class income (that's in the very prosperous coastal regions too) to buy an improved Type 54 vest. The Interceptor would costs almost a year of middle-class income in China.
I bet you that the next generation of Chinese body armor will copy many features of the Interceptor's shell design. Not sure the Chinese will catch up on the fiber and plate technology anytime soon. While the Americans are already researching the next generation of body armor technology.