TenCate Advanced Armor USA Inc. has introduced the Cratus Wave, a body armor ballistic insert that the company says is thinner than other ultra-lightweight commercially available stand-alone Level III inserts and that offers the added potential benefit of reducing heat stress. The Cratus Wave has been certified to NIJ Level III test specifications.

This product inaugurates TenCate Advanced Armor's game-changing Trauma Reduction Technology, a patented process that will be used to make thinner plates designed to stop rifle rounds. "Trauma Reduction Technology is an exciting game changer for law enforcement and military personnel," said Andrew Bonham, president of the TenCate Advanced Armor.

The company says the technology redirects the pressure wave trapped between the wearer and the hard armor plates that are inserted into the front and back pockets of body armor carriers, thereby reducing the back face deformation. Precisely formed grooves on the side of the plate closest to the wearer redirect the pressure wave created by a projectile as it strikes the plate. Back face deformation (BFD) is a metric the industry uses as a surrogate for physiological blunt trauma that may occur when a bullet is stopped. "The rapid dispersion of energy reduces the force that translates to blunt trauma. Thus, we can keep plates the same and reduce the trauma, or redesign the plate and reduce the thickness as we have with the Cratus Wave," Bonham said.

Jason Kruise, personal protection segment leader for TenCate Advanced Armor, says, "Until now, improvements in armor plates have been incremental with little significant differentiation among competing models. Using data from Army video X-rays, we could see the shockwave and how it was trapped, and we asked, 'Why can't we vent that energy'"

Suppliers of ingredients that are used to make the armor composites have signaled they are about to introduce a new generation of materials which will help make armor even lighter, TenCate Advanced Armor says.

"These materials, along with a new NIJ standard, should result in a new generation of rifle round protection for both law enforcement and defense groups that rely on NIJ certifications," Kruise says.

The Cratus Wave was introduced at the 2023 Shooting, Hunting, and Outdoor Trade (SHOT) Show Jan. 17 through Jan. 20 in Las Vegas.