Dstl (the Authority) is considering options with respect to innovative design and development of body armour within a Policing and wider Defence and Security (D&S) arenas.

The Authority is considering options with regards to improving the fit, comfort and wearability of body armour for Policing, but also for D&S Personnel. These factors are key to wellbeing and performance of the end-user, as well as affording them increased protection.

This RFI will inform future work and develop options for potential future funding levels, which may help support on-going S&T and industry development to address known body armour issues, including but not limited to:
– Improving comfort in a diverse workforce (e.g. female specific/inclusive armour, shaped armour, anthropometry research);
– Increasing the coverage afforded (and thereby protection) by the body armour;
– Improving the fit for end-user (e.g. through adjustable systems or innovative sizing regimes for 1st to 99th percentile user);
– Reducing end-user burden (e.g. by minimising system mass, optimising load carriage options for body-worn equipment, or scalable systems);
– Maximizing mobility to ensure task performance is not hindered (e.g. through flexible armour systems or low-profile designs);
– Reducing musculoskeletal or environmental injury risk (e.g. through smart fabrics and materials, in-built wearable technology or cooling systems)
– Improving public perception of Policing and D&S Personnel when wearing body armour (e.g. through recognisable brands, covert armour, or modern designs that look less intimidating).

The Authority wish to understand what body armour technologies and innovations are currently at a low to medium Technology Readiness Level (TRL) which may help to address the above issues within 2-8 years if projects were to receive MOD support.

Advice on TRLs are can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/guidance-on-technology-readiness-levels

The Authority is issuing this RFI to gauge interest and to understand the technology horizon in relation to undertaking S&T in this area with external providers within the UK and/or overseas.

4. Information Requested

To assist the Authority, you should provide:

1) Details of the body armour technology / innovation, including current Technology Readiness Level (TRL);
2) Details on which of the body armour issues identified above, the technology/innovation aid in addressing;
3) Anticipated benefit to the end user and proposed metrics to evidence this;
4) Indication of the volume/value of development which would be required per annum, and length of time to be commercially viable;
5) Breakdown of proposed phases of development remaining to be commercially viable.

Please submit responses to this RFI to caflynn@dstl.gov.uk by no later than Friday 29th October 2021.