Personal Body Armor
The normal armor supplied to front-line troops consists of a molded shell made of layers of various materials. The outer layer is an ultra-light titanium aluminide alloy providing structural strength and minor ablative protection against lasers. Beneath this is a core consisting of a layer of boron-carbide bonded to a layer of graphite-composite carbon-fiber. The hard ceramic structure of the boron-carbide is designed to shatter a bullet on impact while absorbing its energy. The carbon-fiber provides ballistic protection by delaminating to spread the bullet's energy across a wider area. The final inner layer is a woven liner made from a cousin of Kevlar™; this layer removes the last of the bullet's energy by deforming at the area of impact and catches any fragmentation or spalling from the first 3 layers. Since any impact on the armor shell reduces its effectiveness, areas hit by bullets or fragments are replaced ASAP.
Second-line troops, support personnel, and other low-priority groups don't normally receive this high level of protection. For these people cheaper body armor is issued, when required. Depending on expected conditions, this armor has the either the ceramic and carbon-fiber core and anti-spall liner removed or just the anti-spall liner. Indigenous forces on colonies and exploration teams also commonly use these cheaper components.
Standard combat load-out for body armor is a rigid vest (which protects the front and back of the wearer's thorax and the front and sides of his shoulders), an abdominal covering (which protects the lower abdomen and groin), leg armor (which covers the entire lower leg from ankle to knee), and a helmet (which has a short flap to protect the back of the neck).
Inside the vest armor are biosensors to monitor the wearer's vital signs, including heart-rate and respiration; the sensors are connected to the radio transceiver on the helmet for transmittal to the unit commander. The helmet also includes a tactical camera, microphone, IFF transmitter, and a radio transceiver. Additionally a passive IR sight, which flips down over the right eye, superimposes IR images over the background scene. These thermal images are taken by a thermal imager in the tactical camera and can also be sent to the unit commander.
On the rear left shoulder of the armored vest is a mounting bracket for a high-intensity halogen lamp. The lamp is powered by an internal rechargeable battery and has a carrying handle to allow use has a hand light. Also on the back of the vest are 3 mounting points for an IMP frame. The IMP (Individual Marine Pack) is a lightweight medium pack that can hold up to 24kg of gear; though water-resistant, water-proof liners can be obtained for the main compartment and pockets.
Each type of armor can be pierced 10 times before being unusable.
Type 1 (normal): absorbs 4 points of damage before being breached
Type 2 (composite): absorbs 7 points
Type 3 (composite with anti-spall liner): absorbs 9 points