British forces deploying to parts of Afghanistan will be issued anti-blast underpants to protect a soldier's most sensitive region. The equipment meant to protect one's personal "equipment" has earned the nickname, "combat codpiece."
No figures are available, but many soldiers have sustained vital injuries to the pelvic region in the wake of a roadside bomb. The British military and the engineers behind the combat codpiece hope the underwear will prevent some of these injuries.
Some 45,000 pairs of the anti-blast underpants have already been delivered to Afghanistan, with another 15,000 ready to be issued to deploying troops.
Each bomb-resistant pair of underpants comes in camouflage colors, and looks like a bulky pair of underpants which tie on at both sides, according to the BBC. After considering many different fabrics, the engineers behind the combat codpiece chose to make it out of silk.
Alan Hepper is the principal engineer at the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory in England. As he tells the BBC, his team took many factors into consideration when creating the materials. "The way silk is woven makes it very strong, with a very high ballistic efficiency. It may sound like an extravagant material, but in ballistic protection terms, it is the best we've found."
The groin not only contains many vital arteries that can not sustain much damage, but is also an are prone to sweating in high temperatures. Engineers needed to design underwear that could not only let sweat pass through, but also provide a much greater deal or protection than they currently receive.
Only the first two tiers of the blast-proof underwear are ready for battle. Researchers at the Defense Science and Technology Laboratory are still working on "Tier 3," which will cover more of the upper leg and the wider abdominal region.