Welsh anti-bomb underpants bound for US
Armoured boxer shorts developed in Wales are also to be made in the US to meet the demands of the US military.
Cardiff-based BCB International developed the £60 Blast Boxer underpants to help protect soldiers against the growing risk of roadside bombs, or IEDs. They incorporate a Kevlar-type ballistic material and are designed to protect the groin and femoral arteries against blast debris and shrapnel.
BCB spokesman Phil Minchin said that while current military body armour protects the torso and vital organs, it leaves the groin and upper legs exposed, yet injuries to those regions can be both life-threatening and psychologically traumatising.
He said that while individual US soldiers and their families have already bought the British-made shorts, BCB needed to manufacture in the US before it could sell direct to the US military. It has contracted manufacture to Seneca Cayuga Industries, a non-profit sheltered workshop that employs people with disabilities and already produces clothing for the US Department of Defense.
“We are proud to be doing our bit to raise awareness about groin protection against blast injuries caused by IEDs, which are the biggest risk to troops operating in Afghanistan,” Minchin said. “Extensive trials and ballistic tests have shown that they provide significant protection of the groin area against gravel and fragments blasted at them. They have also been worn on half-marathons and didn’t cause any discomfort to the runners.
“As one soldier who used the product explained to us, it’s like a reserve parachute – you hope you will never need it but it is comforting to know that it is there.”