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U.S. Army develops “Kevlar underpants” to protect soldiers' nether regions

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February 23, 2012

The Protective Under Garment - or PUG - designed to protect the pelvic region of dismounte...

The Protective Under Garment - or PUG - designed to protect the pelvic region of dismounted soldiers

When it comes to the many "life-changing" injuries that can result from an IED blast, the loss of a limb is probably the first one that springs to mind. But injuries to the pelvic region that leave soldiers with the inability to have children can obviously be just as devastating. That's why the U.S. Army has developed a Pelvic Protection System - dubbed "Kevlar boxers" or "combat underpants" by some soldiers - to protect dismounted soldiers patrolling Afghanistan roads.

The U.S. Army developed the Pelvic Protection System after taking a lead from British forces that employed "Blast Boxers" made by Cardiff-based military accessories provider BCB International. The U.S. version consists of two layers of protection - a Tier I protective under-garment - or "PUG" - and a Tier II protective outer-garment - or "POG."

Worn like shorts, the PUG is worn under a soldier's ACU (Army Combat Uniform) pants and can be worn over the top of, or in place of underwear. It has a breathable, moisture wicking material on the outer thighs and knitted Kevlar along the inner thighs to protect the fleshy parts of the thigh and the femoral artery. Additional knitted or woven Kevlar is located over the groin. The fabric has been tested to ensure it won't melt or drip when exposed to extreme heat.

The POG is more rigid and offers more ballistic protection. While the PUG can be worn on its own, Lt. Col. Frank J. Lozano, PEO Soldier protective equipment, says the POG should always be worn with the PUG.

"If you wear the Tier I under the Tier II, it prevents chafing. It also provides the maximum amount of coverage together with the maximum amount of protection, without restricting your movement."

According to Lozano, the first soldiers in theater to wear the gear reported chafing and "poor thermal management," leading to subsequent redesigns. The Army first put the Pelvic Protection System into field use in June 2011 and have now fielded it to some 15,000 soldiers. The system, which typically includes three PUGs and one POG, is currently being fielded to soldiers in theater and Stateside.

Source: U.S. Army

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag.   All articles by Darren Quick
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16 Comments

this is all fine and well but, has anyone tested the effectiveness of the unit against explosions coming from the inside?

i've had meals that could test the very structure of Kevlar.

perhaps they could refer to the test as Fast Acting Release of Toxicity

aka FART

toolman65
24th February, 2012 @ 03:42 am PST

Hahah nice, that was the thing that kept me from joining the army, now even if i get an injury from my arm or leg doesn't matter cuz ill still be able to have sex (:

j/k i would never join the army, we already live a war against drugs in my country.

Adrian Calderon
24th February, 2012 @ 05:27 am PST

So much for my investments in manufacturing stainless steel jock cups.

Slowburn
24th February, 2012 @ 08:17 am PST

Given that most IEDs are targeted towards vehicles and not walking infantry, it seems more prudent to line the floors of vehicles -- and/or even just the seats -- with a sandwich of Kevlar and shaped ballistic armor. There already exists commercially available Kevlar floor and seat kits that would do the job. I just Googled it and came across ballisticsupplies-dot-com as an example.

Another solution might be a Kevlar "kilt" that is worn on the outside rather than under the clothing. This would give more coverage and greater freedom of movement. It would be a lot less sticky and uncomfortable than a Kevlar "cup".

Warhead
24th February, 2012 @ 08:40 am PST

Jeez... finally!

George Karalias
24th February, 2012 @ 08:44 am PST

Also protects against aggressive arse chewings from superior officers.

rhtgind
24th February, 2012 @ 09:36 am PST

bullet proof crotch! why haven't they thought of this first?

Gabriel Grove
24th February, 2012 @ 11:48 am PST

My understanding of kevlar is somewhat limited, but I believe it's purpose is mostly against cutting types of action and does not perform very well at dispersing energy. In other words, you may get to keep your jewels - but they'll be crushed into dust. So while it's well intended, I'm not sure it'll actually reduce the injuries that it's intended for.

Michael Lewis
24th February, 2012 @ 01:49 pm PST

re; Warhead

Your armor kilt provides no protection from the mine you step on.

Slowburn
24th February, 2012 @ 03:03 pm PST

The best protection is to stay away from war!

donwine
24th February, 2012 @ 04:44 pm PST

re; Michael Lewis

So you still have to wear a cup.

Slowburn
24th February, 2012 @ 05:28 pm PST

Does'nt look like it gets the job done. I guess it's a start in the right direction however.

I would think you'd want something with space enough to absorb and/or disperse trauma.

DOC HOLLYWOOD
24th February, 2012 @ 07:45 pm PST

@Michael Lewis:

Crush protection sounds like the job of the POG component.

Wombat56
24th February, 2012 @ 09:00 pm PST

re; donwine

Fortunately for you there are soldiers who keep war away from you.

Slowburn
26th February, 2012 @ 07:11 pm PST

"Slowburn"

My statement was for the millions of people around the world who have no desire to becoming collateral damage. War is for the selfish and greedy, not for the innocent. As long as civilian lives are lost - "solders" are NOT keeping war away from them. Too many people old and young have died through out history for your statement to have any validity.

donwine
27th February, 2012 @ 05:59 am PST

The attacks on 9/11/01 were all about innocent victims the wars in Iraq, and Afghanistan are about preventing that.

Slowburn
28th February, 2012 @ 01:12 pm PST
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