I have a setting where some units of specialized infantry use ridiculously over-engineered power armor similar to that worn by the Brotherhood of Steel in Fallout or Space Marines in Warhammer 40k. While the top rating for modern body armor seems to cap out at being able to stop .30-06 rifles, this new class of armor is rated to stop everything up to squad-level heavy machine guns. Because these infantry use robotically assisted exo-suits, they can carry a lot more weight than a normal soldier allowing them much thicker body armor.
The specs I am looking for are the ideal material to make this armor out of, how thick its plates would have to be, and how much the full set of armor would weight.
- Assume a tech level with a generally current understanding of material science.
- For purposes of what constitutes a "squad-level heavy machine gun", let's say this armor has to be able to stop a .50BMG-SLAP round fired from an M2 Browning Machine Gun.
- The armor must offer this level of protection to the chest, back, shoulders, fronts and out-sides of legs, front and outsides of arms, and most of the head. Thinner armor in more articulated areas like the hands is to be expected.
- Solving the engineering hurdle of the percussive force killing the guy inside without penetrating the armor is not necessary, but would be interesting information to include.
- Including the weight of the robotically assisted exo-suit needed to carry the armor is also not necessary, but would be interesting information to include.
- The best answer is going to based on the lightest material you can use that keeps the plates thin enough to be used as described above.