Body Armor and Future Infantry Combat

A lot of sci-fi tends to portray body armor in the future as very big and bulky, often designing armor so heavy that it requires engineering and power for humans to utilize it properly.

My understanding of body armor is designing it to be lighter, less bulky, and more resistant to conventional arms. The logical progression leads to bulletproof armor that is more like clothing than armor. A possible example of this was the Sardaukar from DUNE, where each soldier is covered completely by material either soft or hard. Their clear helmets ensure their vision isn't restricted, and their BDU's are flexible enough for swordfighting and heavy physical exertion without hindering movement.

Assuming this trajectory of armor improvement, how will infantry tactics change when soldiers are near invulnerable to small arms? For the sake of setting a benchmark, let's assume the US or EU comes up with a kind of BDU that is impenetrable to small arms (up to a .308 Win or equivalent). It's complicated to produce and is made of some future non-Newtonian wacky putty stuff that stops bullets. Assuming a military could equip 30% of its infantry with this armor, how would that change their warfighting doctrine and practices?

And how would rivals and non-peer forces react to such a development? If you think of failed Spec Ops operations, having those soldiers immune to small arms would have been a game changer (Operation Red Wings as an example). It would be interesting to compare, as an example, The Battle of Mogadishu and the wounds sustained by the Rangers and Delta. Would as many have died had they been wearing such armor, considering many of them died from gunshot wounds from small arms.

Discuss?

  1. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Dune doesn't have ballistic plates only because warfare in that universe is based entirely around everyone having an energy shield. And since that shield pretty much makes bludgeoning weapons and everything else that requires a lot of impact speed useless too, a super micro-maille would probally be the optimal armor since the primary way to kill someone is slowly dragging a sword across someone. With scifi materials and advanced micro weaving tech you could probally make maille small enough it pretty much looks like cloth.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      What if the enemy has drones with lasguns?

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Nuclear reactions and subsequent raping of whoever used the drone. Not because they caused a nuclear explosion but because they used a drone

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        This is risky because the other side is going to claim you used atomic weapons to the rest of the empire. They might not succeed but it's a chance you have to weigh very carefully.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        AI is illegal in Dune, so no drones. There's a reason Mentats are a thing
        The AI in dune is so powerful it can ruin the last few books

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          No drones? Then what do you call the hunter killer thing than nearly raped Paul's ass in the first book?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            It was remote controlled. They find the body of the dead Harkonnen soldier who was controlling it later in the book.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              So are drones

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        Dune's setting is the aftermath of a AI-human war where the humans won. All "thinking machines" are not only illegal, but culturally unthinkable.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          AI is illegal in Dune, so no drones. There's a reason Mentats are a thing
          The AI in dune is so powerful it can ruin the last few books

          The original author intention was not some gay terminator war, but rather basically the logical conclusion of Algorithmic social manipulation. "Man uses learning engines to rob man of soul" not big scary doombots.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        >What if the enemy has drones with lasguns?
        Using lasguns offensively too much on a battlefield with shielded enemies is just deciding to escalate to shitty unreliable Atomics.

        Lasguns on Holtzman shields cause nuclear explosions. The thing is, the scale and location of the blast is unpredictable. It occurs on a random point on the beam between the gun and the shield. You might create a tidy little Davey Crockett sized blast on the the guy you just landed. There might be Hiroshima sized blast on the middle point of the beam. Maybe an H-bomb detonates in your Lasguns barrel. You're essentially escalating to nuclear war with an inherently unreliable weapon with unpredictable effects, which will likely cause your enemies to retaliate with *reliable* WMD's.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      Except for the new dune movie was fucking retarded. Where the hell were the sardaukars guns?

      Guns are very common and only few people have shields. What's rare is people using laser weapons as a laser rifle shooting a shield creates a very dangerous nuclear situation as bot shooters and shield wearers location.

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        You evidently have never read the book. Whilst firearms exist they are far from the primary personal weapons in universe. Sadukar are always described as using swords, daggers and dart pistols.

  2. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    In the future everyone will fight butt naked

  3. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    Firearms would be bumped up to the 2km/s tank penetrator speed where hardness becomes a secondary attribute and length and density determine penetrator.

    So .308 size cartridges with 100kpsi firing saboted thin needles weighing about 2 grams each.

  4. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    To me, the idea of super bulky suits makes littel sense in real life outside of specialized applications. Even more, the idea of "super Strength" doesn't make a whole lot of sense from a practicality stand point. If the suit itself was capable of those levels of strength then the potential to lose control of it occurs as well for the operator and those they are interacting with. Last thing you need is a soldier twisting their spin 360 or pulping somone's hand when they go to shake it. and how often are you going to do something where you need the physical strength to bench press a car?

    Something like Snake's muscle suit from MGS4 seems ideal and my conception of endurance enhancement would mean providing support to lower the stress on your joints and such and being a modular system to have things like appropriate levels of armor or an exo-skeleton to add some strength enhancement

    That's just my austim though, i wish I could draw so I could visualize my autism better.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >how often are you going to do something where you need the physical strength to bench press a car?

      >vehicle recovery
      >demolition and removal of obstacles
      >usage of heavy weapons at the squad level
      >transport and loading of munitions onto vehicles
      >quickly reloading MLRS and howitzers with a minimum of manpower
      >in-field repairs of heavy equipment which might otherwise require a crane
      >rescue and recovery of people buried in rubble
      >erection of field defenses and obstacles
      the list goes on and on

      • 1 month ago
        Anonymous

        I get what you're saying but that's where I've made concession for specialized application. A soldier in combat doesn't need to do that sort of thing and you can have armor specifically designed for those applications in mind.

        Have a Saudaukar in power armor.

        • 1 month ago
          Anonymous

          >A soldier in combat doesn't need to do that sort of thing
          soldiers don't need to carry heavy weapons, perform casualty recovery, build entrenchments, and destroy enemy entrenchments?

          • 1 month ago
            Anonymous

            Don't be pedantic, you know what i mean. They can accomplish these things currently. I think it would be a given any sort of muscle suit would provide some margial strength enhancement but you can already do those things without having to be the hulk.

            That said, this is imagining war fighting as we currently understand it. Maybe there will be a need to be able to walk around with a GAU 8 or a 25 MM on a squad level at some point to deal with a threat that could not otherwise be taken down with convential weapons.

            • 1 month ago
              Anonymous

              I'm not being pedantic. A squad of soldiers with their own shoulder-fired M2 machine guns would chop any mechanized infantry unit to bits in urban fighting. Anything a normal soldier can do, someone with a powered exoskeleton can do with bigger guns, more ammo, faster, and for greater durations.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      >spin 360
      This made no sense in iron man and it makes no sense now. You'd have to purposefully build the suit in such a way that it could do that on purpose.

  5. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    skin tight suits are GAY!
    i hope we get the bulkiest looking shit if we ever end up developing that concept

  6. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    I hope near-future body armor converges around load-bearing exoskeletons that "wear" heavier body armor and then we in turn wear the skeleton. Skin tight fuuutuure shit has always been ugly to me and I kinda hate it bros

  7. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    There's no point in designing boutique armor for some grunt who is just going to get a mortar dropped in his lap from a drone into his foxhole while he's sleeping.

    • 1 month ago
      Anonymous

      But we're not using WW1 tactics here

  8. 1 month ago
    Anonymous

    >For the sake of setting a benchmark, let's assume the US or EU comes up with a kind of BDU that is impenetrable to small arms
    Artillery. Flamethrowers. Thermobarics. Combat gasses. Biological warfare. Blunt force trauma. Suffocation.
    There are many ways to kill a man and putting holes in him is just one of them.

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