Based on an extensive debriefing that boiled down to five and a half operatives ripping the tech staff and Wayne Oliver (their patron) a new one, improvements were made to the existing armor availability. The trooper’s body armor was tailored to provide arm and leg protection, and also the disc thickness was altered to provide a suitable variation in potential protection and weight. Threat protection anywhere from 5mm to 16.5mm RHAe is now available (4d to 13d).
The R&D department was very excited by the robotic specimens brought back from the mission. Even a cursory analysis showed that while the drones were remarkably vulnerable to projectile weapons. they contained within their shells a fibrous material layer that was an outstanding conductor of heat and energy. While not quite superconducting (though very clearly this is a half-step to room temperature superconductivity!) the structure and composition was relatively easy to isolate. This allowed the fast (but expensive) creation of a heat/energy dissipative cloth. Initially it was tried as an under-layer beneath the armor, but that was a failure, as the explosive/expanding debris from the initial impact punctured the suit and provided no protection. It was then thought to make the layer the outer protective cloth that the ABA was stuffed inside of – that worked.
It also seems to blur out IR signatures [-2 SM for IR signatures] a bit, since it smooths out he natural heat contours of the body.
[Game mechanically: Hardened 1 against most lasers and blasters, but not projectiles]
Two caveats: it’s heavy, and contains bound metals in the structure (armor weight per unit protection is increased by 50%). Also, it’s a remarkable radar reflector, and increases the radar return from a body by 2x (+2 SM if painted by radar). Finally, it’s conductive as hell, and should be treated as metal armor in trooper’s minds.
Basically, the troops can now select armor from 4d, 7d, 10d, and 13d grades, with torso, arm, and leg protection ranging from 18 lbs for 4d+1 without the dissipation layer to 86 lbs for full coverage with the new stuff.
The IR dissipation, conductivity, and radar reflectivity may well be BS. I don’t care. It makes it interesting.
A belated parting shot on this one. I crunched some numbers, randomly generating incoming threats from 1d(1) to 12d(5) and everywhere in between, against armor from 4d to 13d. The dissipator cloth reduced the damage when the threat was a beam instead of a bullet by about 1d+1 injury on the average (4-5 points), and more importantly, increased the fraction of totally stopped shots by about 65%. That’s over 8,000 trials. So for 50% more weight you’re seeing about a 65% increase in protection. I can live with that, and I suspect that my players will like the options presented.