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With escalating violence in Afghanistan and the area under British control in Iraq, new protective material inserts are being added to British soldier's body armour.

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has announced it is to incorporate super-strong, lightweight Dyneema unidirectional sheet (UD) material into new inserts for Osprey body armour.

Manufactured from Dyneema High Performance Polyethylene (HPPE), the new inserts provide a balance of protection with the maneuverability required for combat situations.

Roger Medwell, chief executive of NP Aerospace , the current supplier of the Osprey inserts, said: "Dyneema was selected as part of our solution for the Osprey project because of the material's ballistic performance at low weight, its consistent quality and security of supply."

As a result, employing Dyneema UD as the backing material for the ceramic plates adds significant additional protection at minimal additional weight.

Furthermore, UD not only increased Osprey body armour's ballistic resistance, but also protects the wearer against injury should the ceramic plates shatter.

Adri van der Waals, marketing manager personal protection for DSM Dyneema, said: "The Osprey project demonstrates that, in addition to its proven use elsewhere, Dyneema products successfully contribute to a lightweight protection system for British soldiers as well."

Dyneema UD is already employed by US forces as the backing material for SAPI and E-SAPI (Enhanced - Small Arms Protective Inserts).

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