Phalanx Defense Systems, LLC, Receives Patent Pending on Trust & Verify Armor Testing ProtocolOctober 19th, 2015 by gainesvillechamber
Phalanx Defense Systems, LLC- a leader in the design, development, and manufacture of body armor and protective systems – announces that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office have recorded the patent application for “Personal Armor with Performance Destruction Test Coupons” (Trust & Verify). Further to this announcement, Phalanx Defense Systems has entered into negotiations with a major U.S-based testing institution. This partnership will make the new testing protocol available to all manufacturers of concealable, tactical, and other armor systems, ensuring the viability of both new and used armor.
“Trust & Verify is our answer to the National Institute of Justice Body Armor Challenge: How Long Does Body Armor Really Last? It is our method to destructively test body armor throughout its expected life without having to return, replace or take the armor from the user,” explains Phalanx Defense Systems’ CEO/Applied Sciences James Coats. “The issue being addressed is the current lack of real-time and ongoing assessment of armor that is being issued and deployed every day to our law enforcement and military personnel.”
The NIJ’s challenge states that the “NIJ seeks viable solutions to determine whether the individual in-service body armor has maintained an acceptable level of ballistic performance to a high degree of certainty at any point during its service life and in a manner that does not render it unfit for continued use.”
Coats explains the process by saying “Trust & Verify is a system of test coupons created at the time each armor panel is made. These test coupons are assembled, stitched, and sealed in the same method as the armor panel. One coupon is immediately tested using our protocol, and the results of this test – if successful – accompany the armor to its user. The other coupons are affixed to the inside of each armor panel. Each year a coupon is submitted for testing, and the results go back to both the manufacturer and user (think a Netflix- type process). Since each coupon experiences the same environmental and usage conditions as the armor panels, serviceability of the armor can be determined using the test coupons.”
According to Coats, no viable lifetime testing protocol currently exists. He did note that some large federal users of armor do have their own protocol for managing armor use for their units; however, these programs are expensive, labor intensive, and often leave the user without their armor for periods of time.
Currently, users of body armor must trust that their armor works right out of the box. It is the goal of the Trust & Verify program to provide this data to each user on an annual basis so users trust their armor works. “We believe that if the officer has faith in their armor they will wear their armor,” comments Coats. “Body armor only works when it is worn, and an officer not wearing their armor continues to be a threat to overall officer safety.”
Trust & Verify testing will be accomplished using an independent third party laboratory that is highly trained in ballistics and material science. Using an independent third party ensures fairness and repeatability. “We want to make sure this protocol is available to everyone in the industry, and we predict that all agencies will consider requiring this protocol be added to their future and existing contracts,” says Coats. “It is a very definable and specifiable condition that can be added to further protect their officers.”