since the beginning of humanity, warfare has existed. The man has searched for new and improved ways to harm his fellow
man in order to impose his will upon his enemies. As long as man has developed
weapons, he has simultaneously produced armour;
protective clothing that would deflect or cushion the blow of a weapon. The
first weapons were the fist and the club.
The first type of armour was made from
animal skins piled on top of each other to absorb the smack of a club. Warriors
of ancient Rome and medieval Europe covered their torsos in metal plates before
going into battle. From the
use of leather on Grecian shields, layered silk in ancient Japan, to chain mail
and suits of armour in the Middle-Ages,
personnel protection has sought to protect the wearer from the corresponding
advances in armaments.
crude and unsophisticated armour of the
Romans to the medieval knights of the Middle Ages established a trend towards armour modernization.
Gunpowder ended the development of armour
for centuries until the famous Australian ‘bushranger’ Ned Kelly introduced
effective armour in the 1850s. World War
II and the Korean War were a renaissance for body armour.1 Technological innovation and combat experimentation firmly
re-established the requirement for effective body armour.
many years the textile industry has focused attention and committed resources
to technology for developing new materials to improve performance, comfort,
efficiency, durability, and reliability
of body armour. The development of high strength, high-modulus fibres in the 1960s ushered a new era of body armour that offered protection against small
arms munitions and is capable of absorbing enormous amounts of energy quickly
enough to change what would normally be a lethal wound into a bruise. Textile armours are by far the newest and most
revolutionary materials in the body armour
field today. Research and development through
the last decades have resulted in ‘state of the art’ body armour in the hands of the military, police and
security personnel, and gives an extra measure of confidence and protection
with minimal impairment of their mobility on the battlefield.