Insiders say what helped ZMI win the bid to develop the next generation of WJF armor was willingness to incorporate input and accept design suggestions and criticism from a veteran Street Judge. To this end, in late 2095 ZMI representatives contracted Patrick Murphy who had been on leave since the early 90s, to return to Withmore City as well as active duty and participate in the development process. Over a dozen prototypes are said to have been categorically rejected before an acceptable base model was devised. Actual development work took place over the course of 2096 and the first prototype was personally field tested by Judge Murphy himself on the streets of Red. It was approved for deployment in early 2097 and is being gradually rolled out.
While the new design is cosmetically completely distinct from the decades-old WAI WJF Attack Armor, from a functional standpoint the aim was to provide similar protection while adapting the design of the armor to the street-level realities of Street Judge duty, including taking into account the various annoyances Judges had with the original equipment. One of the overall improvements is that while the earlier model was comprised of a uniform, thick nanoweave, the ZMI-designed tactical armor is assembled from armor-grade flex-plasteel segmented plates over a thinner, more elastic nanoweave.
The suit was designed with the aforementioned flex-plasteel plates that have been put through a rubberizing process, giving them a matte look. Beneath the plates and nanoweave, the suit is lined with a nanoengineered moisture-wicking thermal material licensed from EcoGear which keeps the wearer warm in cold weather, and cool in warm weather. The placement of fastenings has also been improved to allow quick donning and removal of the armor, even in constricting environments. Additionally, the traditionally engraved nameplates have been replaced with a magnetic shape-memory alloy linked to sensors that identify the Street Judge and modify the nameplate to display the correct name. The new method is actually cheaper to produce than custom-engraved plates, simplifies logistics tremendously and eliminates the problem of \'trophy hunting\'.
The gloves follow a similar design principle to the bodysuit - flex-plasteel over nanoweave. In this case the forearms and the backs of each hand are plated while the fingers and palms are covered in weave. The weave is thinner on the fore and middle fingers of each hand to avoid losing the dexterity and feel needed for accurate shooting. The bladed knuckles were entirely omitted as they were seen as an impractical impedance.
The boots themselves have seen significant improvements over the previous model. They are composed of synthleather with the same flex-plasteel plates in a segmented pattern, the boot\'s upper seals to the bodysuit, just as the gloves do. The nanomaterial insoles adapt over time to the shape of the wearer\'s foot for optimal comfort and minimal back and knee strain, as Street Judges spend significant time on their feet. The lining is temperature-regulating, antibacterial and moisture wicking while surrounded with a breathable, bloodborne pathogen resistant membrane. The sole itself is a marvel of engineering: a good inch and a half in thickness it features multi directional lugs to provide a solid base and traction in all terrains as well as a defined heel brake to help control movement. These features are enhanced by the outsole\'s material: a temperature-responsive polymer that softens in cold weather to allow better traction on ice and snow.
The helmet saw a significant redesign in terms of both form and function - while the WAI model was composed of multiple disassembling titanium alloy plates, to allow collapsibility for ease of storage, the WJF Enhanced Combat Helmet instead is made of far less parts to improve durability and the padding and retention system inside the helmet as well as to improve the manufacturing process for consistent quality. Furthermore the infamous red-eyed faceplate has been replaced with a featureless, reflective black faceplate. Similarly, the red contrast-enhancing overlay was replaced with a far more effective amber overlay to both make targets sharper and improve compatibility with TruSight augmentations. Other functional features of the helmet remain classified
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