Farnborough Air Show

Aircrews will be armored as well as foot soldiers

 - November 27, 2006, 12:29 PM

Following intensive research and development, RFD Beaufort (Hall 1 Stand D9/10) has launched new armored vests for helicopter and fixed-wing crews. They offer fire retardancy, flotation, ballistic and load carriage options with fall-arrest facilities and full-body harnesses, without affecting the wearer’s comfort and ability to carry out mission activities.

Armor levels can be tailored to specific operational requirements and threat levels using anatomically shaped armor that gives maximum coverage and protection to vital organs without restricting mobility. Furthermore, the new vests have been designed to integrate with the full range of the company’s Agile protective and functional clothing such as liquid cooling garments, thermal layers and immersion protection garments. A version has been developed specifically for the Apache helicopter and is affording pilot protection in Iraq and Afghanistan.

RFD Beaufort has recently signed a distribution agreement with the Shark Group for sales and marketing of re-breather products for military applications. The system has been available on the civil market for several years, being increasingly specified to equip helicopter passengers and crews flying over the North Sea in support of oil rigs.

Re-breather technology enables increased escape times from submerged aircraft by facilitating the re-breathing of exhaled air. Shark Group re-breather systems have been developed to address “cold shock,” an involuntary response to immersion in cold water and to support the user during an underwater escape. Re-breathers are simple to use, with a low training requirement.

The UK Royal Marines have recently acquired an integrated lifejacket/re-breather developed for soldiers traveling in an armored vehicle, but the obvious application for aircrews operating over water suggests that defense sales could grow considerably.