The movie The Hurt Locker won big on Oscars night last weekend. The film about explosive ordinance disposal squad in Iraq scored five awards in total: Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director, and Mark Boal scored for Best Original Screenplay. It won Best Film Editing and Best Sound Editing. And finally, the film won Best Picture category.
The ceramic protective armor worn by members of the bomb squad was a major element in the film. Made of Kevlar fabric with ceramic plates, the suit is designed to protect the soldier from the impact of a blast. “We thought of it like a suit of armor that a knight would wear in medieval times,” says Boal in a Hurt Locker press release (PDF). “They have to put on, because it’s the only thing they have, but it certainly doesn’t offer foolproof protection from the enemy.”
“It’s heavy, it’s hot, it’s hard to move in, but it put me right in the moment. Just the idea of getting into it—I wanted to dry heave whenever they said it was time to get suited up. I started sweating instantly and I knew I wasn’t going to get any hotter than I was in the first 30 seconds,” recalls Jeremy Renner, actor.
Guy Pearce, the actor who plays the squad’s first leader, remarks that, “Our suit weighed about 70 pounds and I think the ones they actually wear are about 140 pounds.”
If you haven’t seen the movie, you can see one of these suits (an EOD 9 suit) in this Navy video:
This isn’t the first time a critically acclaimed movie has featured the wonders of ceramic armor. We’ve written about Batman’s ceramic armor suit used in The Dark Knight that was manufactured by Ceradyne.
Learn more about ceramic military applications in the military here.