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Aircrew Body Armor 'Chicken Plate'

  • FSN
  • 8470-999-1474 (size: Regular)
  • Specification
  • MIL-C-43544
The 1968 designed version of the aircrew small arms protective body armor carrier featured large envelopes to accommodate a front torso protector for pilots or front and rear plates for gunners, who did not have the benefit of armored seats. It had a front pocket for maps, stretchable webbing sides and, unlike the 1967 standardized carrier, quick-release snap fasteners with non-slip buckles on both shoulders.1 Attached to the outside overlapping waistband was an elastic loop with a snap fastener that prevented opening in the wind stream.

Army aircrews were issued the carrier with aluminum oxide ceramic plates whereas Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps airmen received lighter and more expensive silicon or carbide plates.2 All three types of ceramic armor successfully protected against 0.30 caliber fire at 100 yards range. Prior to the introduction of the vest, which became known as the chicken plate or bullet bouncer, airmen routinely wore the M1952A flak vest that offered no protection against small-arms fire!.3

Read about the development of aircrew body armor

1. Military Specification MIL-C-43544. (20 September 1967)
2.Personnel Armor Handbook by LT R. A. Green, J. A. Parish (U.S. Naval Weapon Laboratory June 1971)
3.Body Armor For Aircrewmen by Edrward R. Barron, Anthony L. Alesi and Alice F. Park. (U.S. Army Natick Laboratories January 1969)

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