Infantry: May 25, 2004

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Russian firms have developed a full range of body armor, and are agressively selling them. These items are now being offered for export, in addition to being used by Russian armed forces. The body armor offered by the state export company, ROSOBORONEXPORT, vary in degree of protection as well as the purposes for which they are used. The KIRASA series of armored vests are designed for  police work, executive protection, and military operations. The entire KIRASA line consists of seven different types of body armor. As with most Russian military/protection equipment, these items provide the user with good quality and an affordable price, making them especially attractive to soldiers and bodyguard personnel in Third World countries. 

The most effective item in the line is the KIRASA-D vest, which was designed for combat infantry  troops. This vest basically provides the same amount of protection as the US militarys Interceptor Vest, except with more options.  While the Interceptor vest is among the most expensive body armors on the market (at over $1500), the KIRASA-Ds affordability might enable it to outsell the Interceptor in the export market. It is basically the same style as the Interceptor, uses ceramic plates to provide up to Level IV protection, and gives the same neck and groin protection as the Interceptor. Other vests in the line, such as the KIRASA-J, are designed for use by close protection specialists (bodyguards in plainclothes). The vest is designed to look like an ordinary tuxedo vest and is manufactured from Kevlar. The vest will provide the wearer with protection up Level II (small caliber pistol bullets). This is a lot more convenient than wearing a normal police vest which must be worn underneath or over the clothing, and is a lot more comfortable. The weight for the KIRASA-D vests, with the ceramic plates, is about 20 pounds while weight for the KIRASA-J is 2-5 pounds, much lighter since it has no ceramic plates. The vests generally run an average price about $200-300. The American vests are a few pounds lighter, and are "combat proven," but for many prospective buyers, the Russian price advantage may be decisive.

 


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