Russian ‘Obereg’ Vest Outperforms US Counterpart in Bulletproof Showdown

"Rostec's 'Obereg' Vest shows Unprecedented Durability Against High-Caliber Rounds.

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Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna is a Defence & Aerospace analyst and is the Director of ADD Engineering Components (India) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany with manufacturing units in Russia. He is Consulting Editor Industry and Defense at Frontier India.

Rostec, the Russian state corporation, has released video footage demonstrating a new military equipment piece that endured bullet impacts well beyond its intended capabilities.

The “Obereg” bulletproof vest, designed as a protective talisman, was commissioned for use in a special military operational zone. It impressively demonstrated its ability to absorb the impact of a potent 8.6x70mm Lapua Magnum rifle bullet (.338in), surpassing its original specifications. In contrast, a captured US-made vest failed to stop a bullet from an AK assault rifle, highlighting the superior performance of the “Obereg” vest in withstanding the significant impact of the Lapua Magnum rifle bullet.

The word “talisman” refers to an object that is believed to have magical or protective properties, often worn or carried as an amulet or charm to bring good luck or ward off negative influences. In this context, “Talisman” is used metaphorically to describe the bulletproof vest as protective and potentially luck-bringing equipment.

The 8.6x70mm Lapua Magnum rifle bullet is a high-powered ammunition known for its exceptional accuracy and long-range capabilities. The impact range of an 8.6x70mm Lapua Magnum rifle bullet can vary depending on factors like the specific firearm, bullet weight, and environmental conditions. However, it is generally considered effective at long distances, often exceeding 1,000 meters (approximately 1,093 yards) in terms of accurate and lethal engagement range in capable firearms.

Rostec’s latest “Nash Krash” project presented data depicting comparative performance tests of three flak jackets. These vests include a cost-effective option from the market, the newly manufactured Russian “Obereg,” and an American vest employed by the Ukrainian army. It’s important to note that all these vests adhere to the BR5 protection level, as defined by Class 6 in Russia’s GOST armour standard.

Flak jackets” are protective vests designed to shield against projectiles and shrapnel, commonly used by military personnel to protect against explosions and gunfire.

The BR5 protection level, classified as Class 6 in Russia’s GOST armour standard, denotes a specific degree of ballistic resistance in body armour and vehicle armour. It signifies that the armour is designed to withstand ammunition with a certain calibre and velocity, typically including protection against rifles and heavy firearms. The higher the BR rating, the greater the armour’s ability to withstand powerful projectiles, making it suitable for military and security applications.

Among all the models tested, Russia’s Obereg was the sole vest to successfully withstand the impact of various types of ammunition, including 7.62x39mm, 7.62x54mmR, and 8.6x70mm munitions

– The 7.62x39mm ammunition is a common intermediate rifle cartridge, often used in assault rifles like the AK-47. 

– The 7.62x54mm R is a full-power rifle cartridge employed in several Russian and Soviet firearms, known for its significant stopping power.

– The 8.6x70mm munition, as previously mentioned, is a high-powered rifle round favoured for its long-range accuracy and ballistic performance. 

Obereg’s ability to withstand all these types of ammunition showcases its exceptional ballistic protection capabilities.

Pavel Pavlenko, the general director of the Oktava plant (a sister company of Rosteс), pointed out that the 8.6x70mm bullet, also known as the .338in Lapua Magnum, caused a significant impression in this location, Which surpasses the usual damage evaluated in state-level tests.

Pavlenko mentioned that a vest is considered effective when the armour piece can withstand this level of impact (where the bullet doesn’t pierce the plate but only creates an indentation).

An 8.6x70mm bullet didn’t penetrate the most affordable vest, but it left a significant indentation on the backside of the plate, an indentation of a magnitude that could have caused life-threatening injuries.

The American model demonstrated the lowest resistance level, as a standard 7.62x54mmR AK assault rifle bullet easily penetrated it. In contrast, the other two models successfully stopped the bullet.

Pavlenko explained that the Obereg vest’s plate utilizes a multi-layered composition, incorporating ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethene (UHMWPE), ceramics, kevlar fibre, and an extra protective layer. This combination not only reduces fragmentation scatter but also provides moisture insulation.

The complete weight of the Obereg, which includes side, throat, and shoulder protection, along with the armoured apron and backside plate, currently stands at 11.5 kg. This weight is considered lightweight for the BR5 protection level, covering a total area exceeding 5.3 square feet. Rostec is presently reducing its weight to a target range of 10-10.5 kg.

The Obereg is priced at 115,000 rubles ($1,160), while American samples that did not pass the AK bullet test are priced at over 200,000 rubles ($2,000), indicating a notable cost difference.


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