by David Crane
July 13, 2006
A private company called CombatBodyArmor (CBA) is currently developing a small, forearm-wearable ballistic shield, or "Battle Shield" (a.k.a. "Combat Shield"), for infantry warfighters. The CBA Mini Battle Shield (a.k.a. Mini Combat Shield) is being developed specifically to protect the warfighter against current enemy rifle-caliber threats (7.62x39mm, 5.45x39mm, and 7.62x54R) and IED (Improvised Explosive Device) shrapnel–not just pistol-caliber threats–as he exits the APC/IFV (Armored Personnel Carrier/Infantry Fighting Vehicle) and transitions to the dismounted infantry combat role. Once the soldier/Marine arrives at his destination (and any additional destination after that), the shield can be used as additional armor protection (mobile anti-rifle armor protection, if you will), as well as an armored/protective firing platform (i.e. shooting platform). The shield can also perform double duty as additional armor protection for the warfighter while he’s inside the vehicle. The company stresses that the shield is intended to compliment current military body armor protection, not replace it.
By the time it’s fully developed, the Mini Battle Shield (a.k.a. Mini Combat Shield) should protect against all NIJ Level III and NIJ Level IV ballistic threats. The ultimate goal, of course, is for the shield to…
be able to protect against the B32 round, which is a 7.62x54R API (Armor-Piercing Incendiary) round, as well as shrapnel from IED blasts. The Level III and IV Mini Battle Shields/Combat Shields will employ a unique, proprietary composite armor system that is intended to be light enough to allow warfighter full tactical mobility while simultaneously providing a solid weapons platform that can absorb the impact of enemy rifle rounds striking it, so the impact energy isn’t transferred to the soldier/Marine holding it (shield).
It’s DefenseReview’s understanding at present that the shield is being developed with input/feedback from active U.S. military personnel (infantry warfighters, specifically), however this is as yet unconfirmed/unverified. We’ll try to get more info on this aspect of the shield’s development. Defense Review has also been told that the company is developing a larger-version/full-sized ballistic shield that will be approx. four (4) times the size of the mini-shield. DefenseReview has seen photos of the large/full-size Battle/Combat Shield, and it looks impressive. Hopefully, it will perform as well as it looks. We look forward to viewing the relevant ballistic performance data on it.
The Mini Battle Shield / Combat Shield that’s pictured (photo above) is a level IIIA functional prototype without weapon-mounting slots. Another prototype Mini Battle Shield (not pictured) has successfully stopped 5 rounds of .44 Magnum. Combat Body Armor plans to develop and produce additional versions of the Battle Shield once they secure additional private investment capital and/or federal grants/funding (DoD, etc.).
If you’d like more info on the Mini Battle Shield (MBS), a.k.a. Mini Combat Shield (MCS), or the larger/full-size Battle Shield/Combat Shield, we would advise you to contact Combat Body Armor (CBA) by phone at 443-722-8433, and via email at [email protected]. Ask for Chris Taggart.