December 23, 2010: American MRAPS and Stryker wheeled armored vehicles are having blast absorption (Skydex) panels to their floors. Each 762x281x25mm panel (30x15x1 inches) weighs about one kilogram (2.3 pounds). The Skydex is actually a multilayer shock absorber that limits most of the blast shock from a bomb. Thus there are fewer casualties inside the vehicle, and troops are more quickly able to respond to the attack. The panels result in fewer casualties overall, and fewer severe injuries.
Some 8,000 MRAPs in, or headed for Afghanistan are also equipped with Skydex, along with the 550 Strykers. Skydex also acts as sound-proofing and provides a more comfortable ride in general. Skydex is also used in boats, athletic equipment, combat helmets, factory floors and athletic equipment. Skydex has been used in military applications for over five years, and has a good reputation, but not much public acclaim. It's just another one of those many things that makes the death rate of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan a third of what it was in Vietnam and World War II.