The armor was created by a former Marine who served 21 months in Iraq.
JOHNSTOWN, Pa. (AP) -- A western Pennsylvania company has created a piece of body armor that its developers say could protect the lower half of soldiers' bodies from shrapnel and small arms fire.
Concurrent Technologies Corp.'s Ballistic Gauntlet is being tested under a U.S. Air Force and Intelligence Community contract. If the military accepts the device, production could create as many as 300 jobs in the region, according to the Richland Township company.
The piece uses two sets of overlapping flaps to protect soldiers' upper legs and shins. In addition to shielding the body from bullets, it could protect the lower body from the blast of a car bomb, according to the company.
The body armor was created by Concurrent Technologies' Scott Burk, a former lieutenant colonel in the Marines who served 21 months in Iraq.
Protecting the soldiers
Burk developed the armor after hearing reports that military vehicles in Iraq were not providing enough armor protection for troops, said Concurrent Technologies spokesman Andrew Vail.
"There have been a significant number of lower-body injuries to our troops," Burk said. "Everyone serving in Iraq knows that our soldiers are putting on anything they can to protect themselves from harm while driving."
According to Concurrent Technologies, the body armor is strong enough to stop 9 mm round traveling at 1,400 feet a second.
As part of a test, the military is using 36 of the pieces in Iraq, Vail said.
The prototype was produced by another Johnstown-area company, KDH Defense Systems Inc.
Concurrent Technologies unveiled the body armor this week at Johnstown's annual Showcase for Commerce.
Also at the conference, officials announced the U.S. Department of Defense has selected Concurrent Technologies to establish and operate one of 40 Centers of Excellence. The program aims to improve safety and reduce accidents for civilian and military personnel, according to U.S. Rep. John P. Murtha, D-Cambria.