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Military Unveils Latest Body Armor: 'Ballistic Groin Protection

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“It is a very simple response to a very simple weapon."

We've revealed some of the military's latest and greatest weapons and tools on this site. There was the H.U.L.C and the Punisher, for example. But never have we shown you something like this before. Folks, we bring you the next thing in body armor: "ballistic groin protection."

For those who need me to spell it out, it's like a sports cup, but with Kevlar. Also called "cod pieces," they're right out of medieval times. Oh, and there's also new ballistic underwear. No lie.

National Journal has the details, including how the new piece of equipment is stored:

The cod pieces, which the military formally describes as “ballistic groin protection,” are made of kevlar and weigh less than 2 pounds. They're designed to be rolled up when not in use. On patrol, a soldier or Marine can unfurl the armor between his or her legs and snap it into place. British troops in southern Afghanistan, who have already begun wearing the equipment, jokingly refer to them as “combat cod pieces.”

[...]

Barbero said that his command plans to spend roughly $20 million this year on cod pieces and new ballistic underwear designed to provide dismounted troops with additional protection against roadside bombs. In the interview, he said that troops should start receiving the cod pieces in September.  All told, the U.S. plans to purchase 190,000 sets of the ballistic underwear and 45,000 of the cod pieces.

So why the new equipment? The pieces are meant to protect against the threats posed by IEDs, or improvised explosive devices, which have become a deadly weapon by insurgents in the Middle East. National Journal reports that the bombs have killed 2,700 troops in Iraq and more than 1,100 in Afghanistan. Just this year, they have claimed the lives of 158 of the U.S.-led coalition’s 283 battlefield fatalities in Afghanistan.

Is the new equipment really just meant to protect a soldiers private parts? No. The protection is also meant meant to guard a soldier's femoral artery, which is located in the leg.

“It is a very simple response to a very simple weapon,” Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, the head of the military’s Joint IED Defeat Organization, told NJ in an interview.

So far so good. But there is one glitch. The military is buying the cod pieces from a manufacturer that already makes them for British soldiers. That means they will come with the British military camo pattern and not the U.S. one. Still, Barbero says that's a small price to pay.

“That’s what we’re going with, because it’s fastest,” Barbero said.

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