By David Crane
defrev at gmail dot com
June 23, 2008
Imagine having a 100% Kevlar high-strength woven aramid ballistic fiber solution with 15% less backface deformation signature (BDS), yielding reduced impact trauma a.k.a. blunt force trauma, along with a 10% reduction in overall (OA) weight. This is the promise of DuPont Kevlar® XP™ woven ballistic aramid fiber for military and law enforcement (LE)/police body armor and other ballistic armor products (i.e. vehicle armor, aircraft armor, etc.) in the near future. Mark McGonagle, Global Marketing Manager for DuPont Personal Protection, describes Kevlar XP as a "patented, next-generation woven fiber technology that enables more comfortable, more flexible, lighter-weight ballistic vests made with Kevlar fiber."
From what DefenseReview understands at present, the key to the improved performance of Kevlar XP is
a combination of new weaving and coating processes that are applied to an existing Kevlar product (unconfirmed/unverified). If this is the case, we’re curious as to which existing Kevlar product is utilized. Perhaps Kevlar KM2 or Kevlar 129? We’ll try to find out. We’ll also try to glean more about the coating material(s) and process(es).
Kevlar XP can apparently consitently stop a .44 Magnum bullet in the first 2-3 layers of an 11-layer ballistic panel/vest. "The bottom line is that it stops bullets faster," said Dale Outhous (yes, that’s his real name), global business director for DuPont Personal Protection. Defense Review will try to find out if a Kevlar XP ballistic panel can stop any/all NIJ Level IIIA ballistic threats (high-velocity 9mm Parabellum and .44 Magnum rounds) within this 2-3-layer envelope. One of the people we’re going to try to reach about this is our friend and professional contact Mike Foreman at Point Blank Solutions, Inc. (PBS), who’s apparently already familiar with the product. According to him, PBS already has two prototype body armor systems that utilize Kevlar XP. Point Blank Solutions is the parent company of Point Blank Body Armor, Inc.
According to Outhous, ballistic vests utilizing Kevlar XP should be available "later this summer", and will cost roughly the same amount as current Kevlar-based vests ($400-$1,000). Kevlar XP may help strengthen Kevlar’s position against competing high-end ballistic fibers, including aramid fibers like Twaron, which is madee by Teijin Aramid/Teijin Techno Products Limited (Japan), and polyethylene fibers like Dyneema, which is made by DSM Dyneema (Geleen, the Netherlands).
Since DuPont is a juggernaut company, and Kevlar is a well-established and proven product over many years, DefenseReview predicts that an improved Kevlar product like Kevlar XP will do very well in the marketplace, provided it lives up to the initial hype. Time will tell.
Company Contact Info:
DuPont Corporate Information Center:
USA Toll Free: 1-800-441-7515
Photo Credit: DuPont