Yesterday, the U.S. Army sent out a new request to its clients in the military industrial complex: We need heavy-duty underwear. But not just any old bullet-proof boxers; they must be comfy.
There is, of course, a deadly serious reason for the request since it means the difference between a mangled pelvic region and the nether regions of a soldier living to see another day. The solicitation form doesn’t specify exactly how the indestructible undies have to work, but the performance requirements are clear: “The system shall be capable of providing a ballistic resistance (V50) against 2gr Right Circular Cylinder (RCC) of at least 700 ft/s.”
And there is this: “Use breathable fabrics, each with air permeability of at least 240 cfm/ft sq,” reads the solicitation. It also gives specifications about moisture vapor transfer and anti-microbial performance. And to be clear, we’re not talking about tighty-whities: “Similar style to male boxer briefs, including fly front,” reads the instructions. The removable ballistic inserts that come with it must “provide protection to the front thigh and do not interfere with normal walking or running motion.” Also, the area of coverage must include “genitals, perineum, anus, and inner thigh.”
The main purpose for super duty underwear is to protect soldiers from Improvised Explosive Devices, which is something the military has long-sought to protect its soldiers from. The image above shows a pair of Kevlar underwear the Army designed to protect soldiers patrolling on foot, as a February Wired UK story explained. “There were a lot of significant injuries, and very traumatic injuries occurring to soldiers in the lower extremity area,” Frank Lozano, of PEO Soldier, said. Apparently, the military is giving military contractors a shot to make an even better pair.
Soldiers patrolling roads in Afghanistan on foot face a multitude of dangers that wouldn’t befall them in an armored car. One such risk would be to step on an improvised explosive device (or IED) to do so, one risked the loss of limbs and extensive damage to their, well, lets just call them their “boy parts”. The Army and the Marines felt the need to do something to protect these soldiers, and taking a cue from British forces they found a solution to the problem in a knitted Kevlar material and then developed the Pelvic Protection System.
This system includes two layers of protection, including a protective under-garment, called the “PUG,” and a protective outer-garment, called the “POG.” Both components of the system are worn like shorts. The PUG is worn easily under a Soldier’s pants and can be worn in place of underwear. They look pretty similar to bicycle shorts and are designed to be worn underneath your pants, real close to the skin, like kick ass leggings. Literally. The POG carries even greater ball-istic protection (I went there didnt I?) and is designed to be worn over, and in conjunction with, the PUG.
All joking aside, anything that keeps our troops even just a little bit safer is a good thing in my book and it appears that they also protect the oh-so-important femoral artery, and while it certainly cannot fully protect these guys from something like an IED blast, it can certainly assist in gaurding against some of the insidious damage caused by the explosion, like infections.
The PUG is manufactured with a breathable, moisture-wicking material along the outer thighs. The inner thighs are made with a knitted Kevlar to protect the fleshy inner parts and the aforementioned femoral artery. Over the groin lies another layer of knitted or woven Kevlar. These garments are washable, weigh in at just under 7 ounces and will retail for around 95 bucks… retail? really? No word yet on color.