Military body armor has improved drastically over the last few centuries, and we have the details how.

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Lt. Col. Ginger Whitehead, product manager for Soldier protection equipment at Program Executive Office Soldier, points to the maxillofacial protection on the new Integrated Head Protection System, or IHPS, that saved a Soldier's life recently in Afghanistan when a brick was thrown at his neck. (U.S. Army/Gary Sheftick)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared onMilitary.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

U.S. Army equipment officials said last week that the service's new helmet system, with includes detachable face and neck protection, saved a soldier's life recently in Afghanistan, blocking a brick that was thrown by an angry mob.

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - One of the world's largest freshwater fish is protected by the natural equivalent of a "bulletproof vest," helping it thrive in the dangerous waters of the Amazon River basin with flexible armor-like scales able to withstand ferocious piranha attacks.

Researchers from the University of California, San Diego and University of California, Berkeley on Wednesday described the unique structure and impressive properties of the dermal armor of the fish, called Arapaima gigas. They said their findings can help guide development of better body armor for people as well as applications in aerospace design.

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The Integrated Head Protection System (Military.com/Matthew Cox)

Editor's Note: This article by Matthew Cox originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

In late September, the Army secretly fielded a small number of helmets that offer increased protection against high-performance sniper rounds.

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If diamond are a girl's best friend, then pearls may soon be a soldier's — sort of.

An Army-funded research project has produced a lightweight plastic compound that's both stronger and lighter than steel by "mimicking" the outer coating of peals known as nacre (or mother of pearl), the Army Research Lab announced on Tuesday.

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(U.S. Army/Staff Sgt. True Thao)

Army researchers have devised a method to produce ceramic body armor, lightweight but strong, from a 3D printer. Except that 3D printers are meant to print out knickknacks, not flak jackets — which meant that engineers had to hack into the printer to get the job done.

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