LONDON, Dec. 4 (Xinhua) -- British Defense Minister Harriett Baldwin unveiled a cutting-edge project Monday that will see lightweight bullet-proof vests protecting soldiers in war zones.
Baldwin was briefed about the new armor project when she visited Ministry of Defense's high-security defense research labs at Porton Down, which, a United Kingdom science park, is situated slightly northeast of Porton near Salisbury, in Wiltshire, England.
She spoke with scientists who are creating a lighter, more flexible body armor for soldiers which uses a unique synthetically adjusted ceramic material that can stop bullets.
"We've spent millions on innovation this year, developing technologies like a new way to uncover insurgents' fingerprints to mini-drones that investigate chemical hazards," she said. "The goal is always to help our armed forces defend the UK, and this next generation of armor will make our troops even more alert and effective on the battlefield."
Research has indicated soldiers wearing the ceramic armor could see a 35 percent weight reduction, which could make them faster and more comfortable in a war zone, whilst maintaining a high level of protection.
The synthetic biology for the eight million U.S. dollars armor project has been running for four years and scientists are now ready to put samples through hardness testing and live-fire testing.
A billion U.S. dollars innovation fund for cutting-edge science and technology has seen a number of exciting projects developed, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) said.
Included are a pocket-sized drone and a mini-detector known as Snake Eyes which are amongst the new high-tech gadgets set to investigate future chemical or bio-hazards.
A world-first has seen British soldiers controlling 4x4 vehicles with Xbox-style controllers, and a British driverless truck leading U.S. military trucks in an unmanned convoy. It provided a glimpse into the future of getting much-needed supplies to the front line, said the MOD.
A new lightning-fast protection system, Icarus, which will be able to detect and defeat threats to armored vehicles within 100 milliseconds has also been developed, add the MOD.
The Defense Accelerator fund has so far seen 630 proposals and innovative ideas for defense and security being assessed, with 147 of the proposals so far winning government funding.