Mrs Baldwin made the announcement as visited the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) at Porton Down where she was able to speak with scientists who are creating a lighter, more flexible body armour for soldiers which uses a unique synthetically adjusted ceramic material that still stops bullets.
Research has indicated soldiers wearing ceramic armour could see a 35 per cent weight reduction, which could make them faster and more comfortable in a warzone, whilst maintaining a high level of protection.
The synthetic biology for the armour project has been running for four years and Dstl are now ready to put samples through hardness testing. They also confirmed that a scale-up process is underway to produce samples that can be used for live-fire testing.
So far, £6 million has been invested in synthetic biology for novel materials research, reaching out to academia and industry via a series of competitions. In some cases these competitions have been run jointly with the Research Councils, in others they have been run independently using MOD organisations, such as the Defence Accelerator.
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said: “We’ve spent millions on innovation this year, developing technologies like a new way to uncover insurgents’ fingerprints to mini-drones that investigate chemical hazards. The goal is always to help our Armed Forces defend the UK, and this next generation of armour will make our troops even more alert and effective on the battlefield.”
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