UK troops will be provided with armoured underwear for pelvic protection to offer protection from pressure-plate improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and bombs in Afghanistan.

The combat codpiece is made of special ballistic material crafted from silk and synthetics, and is ultra-lightweight as well as capable of stopping or mitigating the effects of a blast.

Based on the armour technology used by Genghis Khan’s Mongol warriors in the 13th century, the codpiece could also be implemented by the US and other NATO forces.

About 45,000 pairs of the underwear have been delivered to Afghanistan, with another 15,000 to be issued and more to be delivered early next year.

MoD scientists are still working on upgrading the system to cover more of the upper leg and the wider abdominal region, and design trials are expected to take place early next year.