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Technical Specifications: Combat Armour


PHALANX Extraterrestrial Response Unit

Technical Document, Delta Clearance

Filed: 20 March 2084

By: Cdr. Paul Navarre, R&D: Engineering Division, PHALANX, Atlantic Operations Command


The alien attack on Mumbai made our situation painfully clear. Their technology is far more advanced than ours. The complete inability of Commonwealth troops to make a dent in the Mumbai offensive revealed critical weaknesses in current military training and equipment. They lost three battalions just bringing the aliens to a standstill without inflicting significant casualties. PHALANX has to overcome these odds, and to do that we need the very best human technology has to offer.

The Excalibur Program was created not only to find the right weapons to combat the alien threat, but also to find armour and other items of battlefield utility to help our soldiers complete their missions and return to base alive. These items are designed to increase a soldier's combat effectiveness or general survivability.

The use of armour on the battlefield never quite died out completely, though it was rendered ineffective in most forms between the early 18th century and the late 20th. It began to find its way back to common use in World War 1 in the form of steel helmets. This practice continued through WW2, and was later superceded by the invention of kevlar. Today, however, kevlar is thoroughly obsolete in nearly all its forms; it's now used only by civilians and police forces with budget problems. Even more advanced types of 20th-century body armour have been rendered useless by modern weapons. New materials were needed, materials to make armour stronger and its wearers tougher than ever before.

Surprisingly, several ancient files we've unearthed seem to confirm that PHALANX was responsible for some amazing technological breakthroughs in the past, technologies that were later adopted across the world. Every attempt at producing artificial spider silk had failed, but researchers at the PHALANX Pacific Operations Command base finally managed it in 2017. Their technique is still in use today, centred around a device called the 'organic loom'; a large feeding armature supporting hundreds of individual silk glands and spinnerets, designed solely for the mass-production of spider silk.

The first widespread use of military combat armour made from spider silk came as a joint effort by NATO in 2023, after ballistic tests proved that Chinese rounds tore right through their aging standard-issue kevlar vests. The armour itself is a layercake of spider silk and treated ultra high molecular weight polyethylene, giving it astonishing strength and flexibility. The resulting fabric is about 18 times stronger than steel and provides a performance increase over kevlar that is estimated between 300 and 400%. Suits made primarily from polyethylene became obsolete after artificial spider silk was released into the wider market, and the new composite armour soon replaced it in military use throughout the world. The armour has been upgraded to move with the times, being so effective that it is still in common use today. It features pockets on the front and back that can take ceramic or metal inserts to further protect vital areas.

The Combat Armour's only disadvantage is its relatively high weight compared to older suits, but this is mainly due to the number of layers required to properly protect against modern weapons. The weight is evenly distributed, making it quite comfortable to wear and much less bulky than experimental nanocomposite armours. This armour will save lives while preserving the soldier's all-important mobility.

Recommended Doctrine

Where possible, PHALANX troops should always wear armour whenever they are sent into a combat situation. The Combat Armour should be considered the basic protection no soldier can afford to go without. For some soldiers, the Combat Armour will remain a viable choice compared to heavier, more advanced armours due to the freedom of movement it provides. Snipers and anyone else not expected to be at the front line will be able to make good use of the extra mobility.