Our Roots

  • Family Legacy

  • 1970
    • The heritage of our company goes back to the 1970’s, when Dr. David Fernandez (our founder Dave’s father), developed his own uni-directional fiber composite which would go on to change body armor forever.

      David Fernandez, PhD, had degrees in Physics and Composite Materials, was a prolific inventor and material scientist. He worked with NASA, JPL and Aerojet and became one of the world’s leading experts on ballistic materials, developing armor for the gunners on the black hawk helicopter. He also pioneered advanced composites for sports, including graphite shaft and composite golf club heads and tennis rackets.

  • 1982
    • Dave Fernandez is born into a family of values and purpose. He grows up seeing his father using science to solve problems, save lives and provide for his family.

  • 1987
    • David Sr. develops the lightest weight Helicopter Floor Armor for the Royal Austrialian Air Force.

  • 1989
    • Was contracted to develop lightweight composite structures for the Space Station Program.

  • 1997
    • Founded Armacel, a defense product company focused on innovation in material science. David Sr. and his wife Asia, whom worked by his side, executed on on a vision to bring forth lighter weight armor systems to Law Enforcement and the U.S. Department of Defense to save the lives of American war-fighters.

  • 1997 - 2001
    • Dave begins working with his father and starts to learn material science 1st hand. Dave’s father teaches his wife and son the recipes and processes to make the uniquely strong armor.

    • May 5, 2001

      MAY 5, 2001 Dave’s Father Passes Away – Asia takes over the family business.

  • 2004
    • Armacel secures an army contract for the first large military purchase of light-weight hard body-armor plates.

  • 2005
    • Dave starts working full-time while getting a degree at Pepperdine University, helping to expand the business and driving product innovation. WIthin a few years he would graduate and turn his full attention to the family business.

  • 2008 - 2009
    • Armacel is awarded a contract with the Navy followed by two massive U.S Army contracts – saving the U.S. taxpayer millions of dollars and more importantly, many soldier’s lives.

  • 2010
    • Dave and his mom decide to sell a majority of Armacel to help fuel the growth of the business.

  • 2012
    • New Armacel management decides to focus attention on other businesses. Armacel closes operation. Dave leaves the company and decides to pursue his vision for the Defense Industry.

  • Engense & DFNDR

  • 2013
    • October 7

      Engense is officially launched, focused on developing lighter weight body armor for the military. The goal – to become the leading, science-backed, premium defensive armor company in the U.S.

  • 2016
    • January

      Engense expands to help outside of military, including Police, 1st Responders, private security and average citizens that want to protect their families. This was the launch of the DFNDR brand.

    • February

      The Level III+ Armor Plate is brought to market and made available direct to consumers.

    • April

      DFNDR launches its first Level IIIA Armor Plate and Backpack Armor Plate making the lightest armor in the world available to the masses.

    • May

      First DFNDR / U.S. Army R&D contract to manufacture lighter weight armor.

    • November

      The launch of Level III Armor further rounding the DFNDR ballistic protection portfolio.

  • 2017
    • February

      Secured a military research contract to further explore innovation in ballistic material science.

    • May

      DFNDR launches a line of concealable carriers to round out its defense system.

    • September

      Level III++ Armor is created at half the weight of traditional armor alongside the lightest NIJ certified Level IV Rifle Armor Plates in the world.

    • October

      A second U.S. Army R&D contract.

    • November

      Following up in quick succession, DFNDR debuts the QRC (Quick Release Carrier) System.

  • 2018
    • July

      DFNDR receives Pacific Coast Business Times Spirit of Small Business

    • December

      DFNDR wins award to produce the lightest Army hard-armor system to date.

  • Present day

    The team at DFNDR is busy researching, designing and testing even lighter weight and more impact resistant armor to bring to market. The Engense & DFNDR crews are working diligently as “soldiers in the lab” to save the lives of those who defend our values, our freedoms and the ones we love most – our families!