Lightweight Composite for Next Generation E-SAPI

Period of Performance: 11/24/2009 - 05/24/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Wright Materials Research CO.
1187 Richfield Center
Beavercreek, OH 45430
Principal Investigator


The current ballistic material systems for small arms protective inserts in personnel armor are based on ceramic plates with fiber-reinforced composite backing. The current Interceptor OTV (Outer Tactical Vest) and SAPI (Small Arms Protective Inserts) have saved many lives, but the current configuration including E-SAPI is still not light enough to meet the goals of the Marine Corps applications. Ballistic resistant materials that can be used for personnel armor protective inserts include metals, ceramics, polymeric composites, and their combinations. Current E-SAPI designs incorporating ceramic plates with a fiber-reinforced composite backing material can defeat NIJ Level IV shots and fragmentation, but these E-SAPI plates, even in their current configuration, still have plenty of rooms for improvements. In this Phase I research, we propose to develop a lightweight armor composite to replace the current material systems. The ballistic composite will be fabricated without any hazardous materials. It will be about 20% lighter than the current E-SAPI. Preliminary experiments have shown very promising results. Analysis indicated that the target density is achievable. Additional features include the ability to resist multi-hit at close proximity and great reduction in behind-the-armor impact force. The proposed armor composite should have an immediate and large market in the military, and civilian law enforcement community.