Canadian Manufacturing

Romanian research centre designing bulletproof vests for women

Low volume of vests in Europe spurs effort to ramp up production

BUCHAREST, Romania—A Romanian research institute is developing a bulletproof vest for the growing number of female soldiers signing up to serve in the country’s army.

Though the US Army produces flak jackets for women, they’re not common worldwide, prompting the Romanian government to commission the project.

Lt. Claudiu Lazaroaie, who heads the project at the Scientific Research Center for CBRN Defence and Ecology, said manufacturing is expected to start next year; producing thousands of the flak jackets in three different sizes. The respected centre—founded in 1924—carries out scientific research for defence technology and equipment.

For now, Romania’s female soldiers are forced to wear men’s body armour in smaller sizes, even though their anatomy is different. For many women, that means wearing a standard issue vest that is tight across the torso and too loose around the middle, causing discomfort and offering less protection.

The US Army says since 2013, it has provided its female soldiers with vests whose feature include narrower shoulders for easier aiming of rifles, darting to accommodate the female chest, a shorter torso, greater adjustability for the waist and hips and a neck collar that accommodates the hair bun worn by some female soldiers.

—With files from Alison Mutler in Bucharest, Romania

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