by Curtis Hand, images from Chiron Global Tech
While the coffee is brewing in a machine for someone’s cup somewhere, Maritime Security & Defence (MSD) magazine had a rare opportunity to catch up with and interview another innovator unknown to us previously, Justin Forsell (right), Co-Founder, Chiron Global Tech.
He gave us some of his time and insights about advantages Chiron offers as an innovative, life-saving, injury-reducing product to better protect in those in naval defence and maritime security arena as well as defence and public order personnel in dangerous training and operational scenarios. One of its products captures new data for advanced training and survivability analytics in addition to actual protection during and after training.
MSD: What does Chiron Global Tech do?
Justin Forsell (Forsell): Chiron Global Tech is an innovative, Australian technology company that has developed and manufactured a unique, world-leading, patent-pending, integrated, full-face, high-coverage body armour system for Defence, Law Enforcement, Security and Corrections personnel. The suits have applications for close quarter combat training allowing significantly higher levels of training realism than current soft training suits. An operational suit is also under development.
MSD: What is the Chiron X1 High Impact Training Armour? (can we say: “HITAR”?) When will it be available?
Forsell: The Chiron-X1™ is a highly protective, full-coverage training armour system designed to withstand high levels of force and speed to vital targets (including the head, neck and throat) from heavy blunt weapons during close quarter combat (CQC) training, and marking munitions rounds (MMR) training. The suits enable concurrent CQC and MMR (Kinetic to non-Kinetic) training without stoppage or changing equipment. The Chiron-X1™ suits will be available from late 2021.
MSD: Why is Chiron-X1 “HITAR” important? What level of protection does it offer the wearer?
Forsell: The Chiron-X1™ provides extremely high levels of protection to the wearer allowing personnel to really “Train as they Fight” using realistically high levels of force, speed and accuracy. The hard armour’s unique patent pending solution provides unparalleled head, neck throat and spine protection against compression, hyperextension and whiplash during high-force CQC training. This is important because personnel will react during operational duty in the way they have been trained. Train soft and slow and that is what will happen in highly stressful combative scenarios. Chiron’s suits enable correct operational muscle memory to be developed reducing the risk of injury during training and increasing survivability in the field due to improved reaction techniques and speed.
MSD: What are its advantages over other light body armour?
Forsell: The current training suits provide higher surface area coverage and better protection than traditional CQC training suits. They are also lightweight and allow high levels of agility, enabling personnel to train more realistically for longer.
The advantages afforded by the suits sets a new standard in CQC training enabling highly realistic training moving seamlessly between CQC and Marking Munitions Rounds (MMR) training with high levels of force, speed and accuracy.
There is an upgrade path to a “sensored” suit incorporating Chiron’s globally patented force measurement sensor solution into the Chiron-X1 to record the force and anatomical location of blunt force strikes, stabbing and MMR impacts in real time (Chiron-X2Ô). Statistical analysis generated from the Chiron-X2Ô will provide world-leading objective data to assess combat readiness of personnel, drive significant longer-term training improvements and help increase survivability of personnel in operational scenarios.
MSD: How is it used for “high-fidelity” training? Can you share an example?
Forsell: High fidelity combat training incorporates several elements to simulate a higher degree of realism than other forms of CQC training, increasing preparedness for entering extreme operational combat scenarios.
High fidelity realism (see image above) is created using special effects, such as simulated explosions, blood squibs, sounds of gun fire, MMR, plus accurate full-force and high-speed CQC techniques enabled through use of the Chiron-X1. In addition, high fidelity training combines real time monitoring of health data to assess personnel stress response and performance to identify who remains composed under pressure (and able to make considered moral and ethical decisions), and who does not. The Chiron-X1 suits are perfect for high-fidelity training as they solve the paradox of training for lethality while maintaining high levels of safety.
The suits enable a high degree of CQC realism using techniques required in extreme, high-risk operational CQC scenarios and that would not otherwise be possible to practise. They enable the development of correct muscle memory. The suits have been used by the Australian Defence Force for HF training exercises comprising extreme realistic CQC techniques with high levels of speed and force to high-risk anatomical targets, deployment of “simunition” at extreme close range, deployment of special effects including explosive sounds and live gun fire sounds and monitoring of bio-metric feedback using sensors.
MSD: What is the Chiron-X1R and how does this differ? The Chiron-X1R is a riot suit designed especially for Law Enforcement, Security and Corrections personnel.
Forsell: It is a highly protective, active-duty, full-body armour riot system offering extensive coverage against a range of threats including heavy blunt weapons, bladed weapons, syringes and small arms fire. The R&D around this product is still being finalised and it will be available from mid-next year but fundamental differences include speed of fitting (a simplified system for operational scenarios), an option to incorporate fire retardant fabric and stab resistant capabilities, and integrated gas filtration. The Chiron-X1Rä will be certified to British Standard 7971-8.
MSD: What are its specific benefits to the end user?
Forsell: Compared to current Riot protection, the Chiron-X1R will provide higher levels of protection and agility, plus greater coverage. The suits will be “customisable” with other upgrade features that we can’t go into detail about, due to commercial sensitivities.
MSD: What level of edged weapon and blunt force trauma can this protect against?
Forsell: The suit will provide high levels of protection against high-force, high-force blunt force trauma and will have additional inbuilt stab protection for exposed areas to at least the same level as commonly used Riot protection, again to British standards.
MSD: Why is it able to help the wearer be more effective?
Forsell: The increased coverage from the Chiron-X1R while being relatively lightweight and allowing high levels of manoeuvrability and agility will provide increased levels of protection for Riot, Public Order, Corrections and Security personnel.
MSD: How might this promote non-lethal public order procedures or doctrine?
Forsell: The higher levels of protection will allow officers to de-escalate violent situations without always having to resort to significant/lethal force in subduing violent offenders. If public order personnel are highly protected they have less need for force escalation in responding to physical threats.
MSD: What can you say about the CHIRON-X3TM – Ballistic Soldier System?
Forsell: The Chiron-X3 ballistic soldier system is a highly protective, active-duty integrated soldier system platform that is being specifically designed for “first entrants” facing the risk of an extreme response as they enter and clear a hostile building, vessel, or vehicle. It can also be worn at border or facility checkpoints where armed adversaries could easily mix with civilians. The Chiron-X3 solution is to develop an integrated, modular, high coverage, highly agile, body armour and component platform with graded ballistic protection for use by Defence and Police / Law Enforcement in active operations.
MSD: Why would an armed force want this?
Forsell: Lightweight and agile the Chiron-X3 has been designed to enhance survivability and mobility of operational personnel in high-risk building-entry and clearance scenarios. The modular design allows full or partial coverage and customisation of individual components in response to specific threat levels and operating conditions.
MSD: What are the technological advantages for the end user?
Forsell: The Chiron-X Series design can integrate third party technologies inside the armour envelope. The Chiron-X3 is being designed for more modularity and ease of use in operational scenarios.
MSD: How does this differ from the previous two suits? Is it an exoskeleton?
Forsell: The Chiron-X3 suit design is still being finalised but will be manufactured from different materials with advanced ballistic capabilities.
MSD: What level of edged weapon, ballistic and blunt force trauma can this protect against?
Forsell: Customers will be able to select the level of ballistic and edged weapon protection they require. We have already developed a prototype NIJ Level III++ version which we displayed at Land Forces 2021. The Chiron X3 allows users to select the body areas that need protection and the level of ballistic protection for mission specific profiles. Users generally prioritise combat mobility and minimise carrying weight, but in certain situations / environments (e.g. “First entrants” to locations known to contain hostile forces) they may need extra ballistic coverage. The modular nature of the Chiron X3 design will let users add/remove armour components easily based on the threat or operating environment they encounter.
MSD: In terms of protection, does it meet a NATO or police standard?
Forsell: The Chiron-X3 will be certified to relevant international standards including NIJ, HOSDB, and NATO ballistic and stab testing and standards compliance testing.
MSD: How long does it take to don the full armour?
Forsell: Our aim is for personnel to be able to fit their armour within a few minutes.
MSD: What level of mobility and comfort / body fatigue can the wearer expect?
Forsell: The suits will have high levels of mobility and comfort. The lightweight construction will assist in reducing body fatigue, though the overall weight will depend on the level of coverage / number of components selected by the user.
MSD: What and where are these products available?
Forsell: The Chiron-X1 suits are available now (although our order book is full until early 2022). The Chiron-X1R suits are scheduled for completion in 2022 with the Chiron-X3 suits available from early 2023.
MSD: What colour options are available?
Forsell: We can provide the suits in whatever colour is required by the customer including various DPM patterns at an additional cost.