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July 11, 2012

Army plans to build body armor for women

WASHINGTON (UPI) -- The U.S. military announced plans to develop body armor in the style of "Xena: Warrior Princess" to be more comfortable and effective for female troops.

The U.S. Army said it plans to engineer body armor designed to fit women's bodies more naturally, The Christian Science Monitor reported. Adjustments would include more curves in the chest and hips, shorter torsos and narrower shoulders.

The changes in female body armor are a response to complaints from the female soldiers of the 101st Airborne Division in 2009 regarding the gear they were using.

"It rubbed on the hips, and the vests were too long in the front, so that when you had female soldiers climbing stairs or climbing up a hill or a tree or sitting for a long time in a vehicle, that would create pressure points that in some instances could impact blood flow and cause some discomfort," female body armor developer Lt. Col. Frank Lozano said.

Prototypes have been tested with the women of the 101st Airborne Division and feedback has been positive. Military officials said, however, building conforming yet protective armor could take years.

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