The aerospace and defense industry continues to be a hotbed of patent innovation. Activity is driven by the pressing need for modernization, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), unmanned systems, 3D printing, and composite materials technology. In the last three years alone, there have been over 237,000 patents filed and granted in the aerospace and defense industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Advanced materials in defense: anti-ballistic garmentsBuy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which uses over 206,000 patents to analyze innovation intensity for the aerospace and defense industry, there are 110 innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Anti-ballistic garments is a key innovation area in advanced materials

Anti-ballistic garments are specifically designed clothing or protective gear that provides protection against ballistic threats, such as bullets or projectiles. These garments are often made using multilayered structures or composite materials that offer high strength and resistance to penetration. They are commonly used by military personnel, law enforcement officers, and individuals in high-risk occupations to minimize the risk of injury or fatality from ballistic threats.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established aerospace and defense companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of anti-ballistic garments.

Key players in anti-ballistic garments – a disruptive innovation in the aerospace and defense industry

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of applications identified for each patent. It broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.   

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of countries each patent is registered in. It reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.  

Patent volumes related to anti-ballistic garments

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Berry Global Group 9 Unlock Company Profile
Elbit Systems 19 Unlock Company Profile
HEICO 2 Unlock Company Profile
Gentex 3 Unlock Company Profile
Lockheed Martin 2 Unlock Company Profile
Melrose Industries 5 Unlock Company Profile
Thrace Plastics 3 Unlock Company Profile
Albany International 20 Unlock Company Profile
Umicore 13 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Ten Cate 10 Unlock Company Profile
Kolon Industries 6 Unlock Company Profile
Composix 3 Unlock Company Profile
Milliken 43 Unlock Company Profile
U.S. Department of Defence 6 Unlock Company Profile
W. L. Gore & Associates 5 Unlock Company Profile
3M 3 Unlock Company Profile
PPG Industries 3 Unlock Company Profile
General Motors 3 Unlock Company Profile
Warwick Mills 9 Unlock Company Profile
Raytheon Technologies 2 Unlock Company Profile
Arthrex 2 Unlock Company Profile
Teijin 40 Unlock Company Profile
Boeing 39 Unlock Company Profile
Honeywell International 289 Unlock Company Profile
Royal DSM 235 Unlock Company Profile
DSM-Firmenich 235 Unlock Company Profile
TotalEnergies 8 Unlock Company Profile
Barrday 5 Unlock Company Profile
Hardwire 25 Unlock Company Profile
FEDUR 9 Unlock Company Profile
Prosys 2 Unlock Company Profile
Point Blank Enterprises 2 Unlock Company Profile
Kolon 7 Unlock Company Profile
DuPont de Nemours 110 Unlock Company Profile
Graphene Composites 16 Unlock Company Profile
GENTEX 7 Unlock Company Profile
Brrr! 2 Unlock Company Profile
Parmacotto 4 Unlock Company Profile
Corteva 19 Unlock Company Profile
Barrday 51 Unlock Company Profile
Gebr Knauf 1 Unlock Company Profile
ShotStop Ballistics 2 Unlock Company Profile
Agency For Defense Development 1 Unlock Company Profile
Nat Univ Dong Hwa 2 Unlock Company Profile
Beijing Tongyizhong New Material Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile
Ud Technology 3 Unlock Company Profile
Zhengzhou Zhongyuan Defense Material 15 Unlock Company Profile
American Technical Coatings 11 Unlock Company Profile
BAE Systems Tensylon Hpm 2 Unlock Company Profile
Jiangsu Housheng New Energy Technology 2 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Honeywell is one of the leading patent filers in anti-ballistic garments. The company filed patents related to multi-panel ballistic resistant articles made of a plurality of woven and non-woven multilayer composite panels for wearable armor applications. Having equal or varying thickness and density of composite layers, each panel is configured to prevent ballistic penetration and mitigate the stress propagation into the adjacent panel. The woven panels include multiple layers of woven fabric of polarized ballistic fibers, with a metal salt, oxide, hydroxide, or hydride polar bonded on the surface of these fibers. 

Spectra Shield® is a high-performance anti-ballistic armor solution provided by the company. Honeywell’s Spectra® ultra-high molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber and ballistic composite materials are widely used to meet specific performance requirements in soft and hard armor applications, including bullet-resistant helmets, vests, and fragment protection plates.

Rocky Research, a wholly owned subsidiary of Honeywell, is developing a new blast mitigation material called Coordinative Molecular Bond Armor Material (COMBAM), which can be charged with refrigerant and programmed at the molecular level to release the refrigerant at a certain rate to provide thermal protection against unintended high temperature conditions. COMBAM can be integrated with traditional armor to protect against fire and heat-induced self-ignitions.

Some other key patent filers in this space include DuPont, Royal DSM, and Teijin.

In terms of application diversity, Honeywell, Teijin, and Kolon Industries are some of the leading innovators. By means of geographic reach, some of the leading patent filers include Hardwire, Albany International, and Elbit Systems.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the aerospace and defense industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Advanced Materials (AdMs) in Defense.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.