Those who have been inside a combat helicopter even just once, knows the degree of protection for pilots and crew is extremely low. It is hard to survive in a “flying capsule” under heavy and sustained fire from the ground. Of course, our armor system (we armor the pilots, crew and the helicopters) can not provide protection from anti-aircraft weaponry, but it is very frustrating when helicopters are brought down by machine gun or sniper fire. After all, a shot down helicopter means either a severely injured or dead pilot and crew. Protecting them from either of these scenarios is the main goal of our work.
We have developed an armored-suit that still allows for helicopter pilots and navigators to move freely in the cockpit and fly without hindrance.
This, of course, is a prototype, which still has to be refined and improved upon in consultation with specialists, but the design concept and preliminary testing so far has proven the armor to be be both convenient and functional. The armor is soft, we use second class kevlar armor. A standard fifth class bulletproof vest is then worn over the suit. In the near future we will try the system in flight and get feedback directly from pilots and crew. We will scrutinize these trials by being flying with those who will wear the system.
The project certainly does not come cheap (the spiraling Ukrainian hryvnia means exchange rates are higher than ever before), but people’s lives are more valuable. We think it goes without saying that we are talking about real pros who fly expensive technology and need the best for their combat missions.