The innovative combination of a high protective level and extremely high wearing comfort is due to a technology that our subsidiary Hexonia tested in around three years of development work. Product developer Eva Goral from Hexonia has played a leading role in the development of the ballistic underwear from day one.
“What is unique about our ballistic underwear is that it is not obviously recognizable as such. It is incredibly soft, fits close to the body and is very comfortable to wear on the skin. You don’t expect such a comfortable piece of clothing to save lives,” says Goral.
Hexonia’s ballistic underwear provides soldiers with proven protection against secondary fragment injuries, including those caused by IED: debris and fragments that are propelled by the explosion and thrown at the soldier with high force can be stopped by the underwear, preventing them from penetrating the skin and causing serious injury.
Some of the world’s strongest materials
The high ballistic performance and particularly high wearing comfort are achieved, among others, by a material mix of silk, polyamide, and elastane.
“In the early days of product development in 2014, we worked with a high-strength polyethylene instead of silk. This gave us a high level of protection, but the underwear was quite stiff and felt like plastic,” recalls Goral.
She started looking for alternative high strength yarns and came about silk. By adapting the development accordingly with the result, they not only achieve high ballistic protection, but at the same time had a product which was comfortable to wear. The silk also made it possible to work on circular knitting machines and thus produce the underwear almost seamlessly.
“The silk has a particularly high strength and feels pleasantly cool on the skin. Thanks to its hydrophilic properties, it absorbs moisture and passes it on to the overlying layers of clothing. It therefore dries quickly and has a climate-regulating effect,” she says.
Seamless knitting increases protection
Polyamide and elastane ensure high shape retention and a close fit. One of the main features of ballistic underwear is its almost seamless production. The absence of seams minimizes skin irritation and at the same time increases explosion protection, as seams are often the weakest points in a protection system.
Hexonia produces the underwear torsos in one piece on modern circular knitting machines. Seams are only created on the sleeves of the T-shirt and on the gusset of the trousers.
User-driven innovation: Hexonia’s Edge
Hexonia has been supplying ballistic underwear to the German Armed Forces for a couple of years, but what sets them apart is their approach. Through close dialogue with end-users and procurers, they tailor products to meet specific needs, ensuring both protection and comfort on the field.
“We’re in the advantageous position of having a significant portion of our development and production process occur at our Nettetal and Jahnsbach sites in Germany. This enables us to conduct real-time testing on our own machines and to oversee and manage every step of the process from A-Z,” says Goral.
GARM Ballistic Underwear consists of a shirt and pants and is available with both short and long sleeves and trouser legs.
Source: NFM Group.