Russian Body Armor
that stops .50-cal
State-owned Russian defense manufacturer Rostec is making headlines with some pretty bold claims about their next generation of armor. The range is planned as a replacement for the 3rd generation Sotnik, and 2nd generation Ratnik currently in use.
Getting Ahead

Never ones to be shy about their forthcoming achievements, this announcement of the 4th generation of protective gear from Rostec has come before the previous generation has hit the ground. Sotnik, the 3rd generation isn’t due to be rolled out until 2025, it’s slated to feature an exoskeleton, autonomous electric heating, and a helmet visor-mounted target designation system.

Current Ratnik system was first shipped in 2015, with over 300,000 units being produced since. The system is designed to sit the soldier, with over 60 configurable protective and life support elements to suit the task at hand.

High expectations

What isn’t clear is how Rostec plans to tackle the challenge of stopping such a powerful round, and the information they are providing is, unsurprisingly, pretty damn vague;

“The new generation gear will consist of a fundamentally new set of technology, including the latest achievements of the Russian defense industry, including robotic equipment and integrated systems for exchanging information” says Bekkhan Ozdoev, Industrial Director for Rostec.

Doing the Math

The protective technology currently being produced by the Russians is known as Superthread, made from ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene. The reason it’s so lightweight is that polyethylene is the same plastic water bottles, grocery bags, and pretty much half the stuff in your house is made from.

Current versions of plastic armor combine it with steel. But as Popular Mechanics puts forth, even if Rostec has a formula capable of stopping the round, there’s no getting around the fact the wearer still needs to survive being hit by more than 11,000 pounds of force – the same as a 5-ton truck sat on your chest. 

© Ladislav Karpov/TASS

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