On the Floor: German firm develops female body-army plates 

10/13/2011 12:00 AM 

Body armor chest plates designed for men don’t fit very well on women, said Andreas Hecht of CeramTec-ETEC GmbH at the 2011 Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington.

It’s an obvious truth, but the German body-armor company is one of few defense firms that offer plate armor designed to fit a woman’s curves. Hecht, the company’s product manager for armor ceramics, said his company has sold about 40,000 of its female chest plates to South African police forces and other military organizations.

CeramTec’s female plates were on display at AUSA and received a lot of interest from female U.S. soldiers, he said.

“We have had female officers saying ‘that is great. We would like to have that,’” Hecht said, describing how male plates tend to be too long for most women in addition to being too flat. “When you sit down, the plate is too long, and it hits you underneath the chin.”

CeramTec’s female plates come in one size, but they work for most female proportions since they are designed to be worn with soft armor underneath, Hecht said.

Perfecting the design is tricky, Hecht said, because if the plate is curved too much it will not perform as well against rifle threats. CeramTec’s plate is made of Aluminum Oxide, but the design can be adapted to work with other ballistic materials, Hecht said.