SecMet (Pty) Ltd was requested to assist with the design, material selection and drafting of the minimum requirements that would be necessary to ensure sufficient protection in combination with improved manoeuvrability for suits used during attack dog training by the police.
The proposed material layer(s) and material type selection was facilitated by establishing a minimum test criteria that will allow sufficient protection of the wearer and via performance comparison to existing suits. The minimum tearing strength of the alternative suits was benchmarked to the existing suits in use.
The maximum biting and biting-pulling force that could be exerted on the suit was established by taunting the training dog(s) to bite on multiple 10cm diameter Pine wood rods. The indentations made during the biting were measured and characterised and compared to artificial indentation (mimicking a canine teeth) made with a calibrated force on the same rod.
Various materials and combination of materials and/or number of layers were tested for compliance with the attack suit specification, specifically in terms of penetration resistance and spread of load. The materials included Leather, nylon, wool, felt, sponge and high density foam.
The optimised material combination which consisted of a leather layer, quilted ballistic nylon and wool material, was evaluated to comply and exceed the minimum requirements. The latter provided satisfactory protection in field testing and surpassed the existing training suits in terms of manoeuvrability due to the significantly reduced thickness.