Body Armour Filler

Over the last year we have looked at a number of different body armour sets, or more specifically we have looked at the covers for although I have touched on the fillers, we have never actually taken a close look at what’s under the cover. A chance purchase of a spare set of filler at The Yorkshire Wartime Experience (destined for my AFV armour cover) affords us a good opportunity to look at the body armour filler used in a large number of different British body armour sets. The body armour filler was introduced in time for the Gulf War and is made of a woven aramid and nylon, with a green PVC cover:imageThe cover prevents water from getting into the ballistic filler which would not only add weight, but reduce its ballistic properties. The filler is excellent at stopping low velocity fragments such as those from grenades or shells, and it can also cope with low powered pistol calibre rounds, it cannot protect the wearer from high velocity rounds such as those fired from a rifle.

The filler has a broad section that covers the back, and two flaps that come down over the shoulders, leaving a space at the front for the cover’s fasteners to allow it to be easily taken on or off:imageThe filler needs to be fitted into the cover the correct way round, so a small white label is fixed on both sides, one warns the user that is they can read it with the cover on, they have out it in the wrong way round!imageThe second should be visible through the opening on the cover and includes sizing and care instructions, as well as the ubiquitous NSN stores number:imageAs these fillers are still serviceable, with newer designs of cover, they have remained in service longer than the the camouflage covers. The covers are therefore really easy to find, the fillers are slightly scarcer but they are still out there and I am keeping my open for another couple to fit in various covers I have in my collection.

4 thoughts on “Body Armour Filler

  1. John Hogen

    I think you might be interested in this video, where a dissection is made on the filler.

    The filler is rated somewhere between NIJ 1 and 2a (optimistic max) due to how thin it is, so to say that it could stop low powered pistol calibre rounds would be a stretch. It will certainly stop .22 LR and some 9mm hollowpoints (hollowpoints do poorly in armour). Due to its low level protection you have stories of squaddies doubling up on CBA/ECBA fillers to get more protection.

    NP Aerospace does offer thicker variants of this armour for export and journalists (cpv1000) though.

    1. hatchfive Post author

      Thanks for the information, I must confess when I wrote it and referred to low powered pistol rounds I had in mind .25ACP or .32 rounds- certainly something very anaemic! I hadn’t heard about squadies using two layers, but it makes sense. If its your life on the line you would do anything you could to increase its effectiveness!

      1. John Hogen

        That’s a possibility, but at the end of the day it was designed with the Cold War in mind, using the lessons of WW1 and WW2, where majority of casualties were caused not by small arms but by fragmentation.

        Further, I think you might be interested to know that the “profile” of the CBA/ECBA is not unique, it’s shared with the MOD Police body armour, Osprey, and the much older Armourshield vests (used by the SAS) to a lesser extent. If you overlay the CBA/ECBA’s back portion with the back filler of the MOD Police body armour or Osprey of the corresponding size, you get an exact match, and if you “close” the front of the CBA/ECBA filler and overlay an MOD Police body armour or Osprey front filler, you will also get an exact match.

  2. hatchfive Post author

    I would agree, its designed for fragmentation- that it keeps out low powered rounds is purely coincidental. I would reccomend Martin Brayley’s excellent book on Modern Body Armour- it covers developments in the US and UK in detail, with a brief overview of international designs of armour as well.


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