Military Review

Lightweight and high-tech protective materials. Part of 2

Lightweight and high-tech protective materials. Part of 2

About the latest developments and forecasts for the future

For almost a hundred years, Alcoa Defense has kept abreast of innovative technologies, being a reliable partner and supplier of military structures, its products help maintain the protection of land, air and sea weapons platforms at the highest level.

In continuation of the discussion started (Part 1) Alcoa Defense Vice President Margaret Cosentino noted that one of the promising areas of development is the technology of stamping large metal parts. The strength of a monolithic part is much higher; in the process of stamping, it is possible to more effectively distribute the metal of the workpiece, depending on the loads acting on these or other zones of the part. Such a powerful constructive idea has become achievable today thanks to the innovations of Alcoa. Alcoa, working with the US Army and DARPA (Advanced Defense Research), brought this idea to real life by developing the production technology of the world's largest all-stamped aluminum housing for combat vehicles - no one in the world makes such large parts in closed stamps. Corentino spoke about the prospects for this achievement. “This stamped part made according to the breakthrough technology replaces the lower part of the body of a combat vehicle — a solid piece stronger than traditional welded hulls — ultimately increasing the survival rate of the crew. In addition, the Alcoa engineering process reduces the weight of the machine, the time it takes to assemble it, and therefore the cost. If constructively requires a higher level of protection (that is, more metal) in certain areas, then this can be easily achieved by stamping. Another advantage of stamping is that during the design process it becomes easier for us to make the shape of the part closer to the final one, which allows us to reduce the amount of mechanical processing. ”

Alcoa received a five-year contract from the US Army worth 50 million dollars for research projects and the development of innovative lightweight solutions for ground combat vehicles, such as monolithic shells for them

Alcoa is actively cooperating with the military in the field of innovative materials and production processes in order to further increase the level of protection of combat and tactical vehicles and achieve superiority in this parameter over the machines of a potential enemy. “Last year we signed a five-year contract with the US Army worth up to 50 million dollars in joint work aimed at developing solutions of aluminum alloys that increase combat survivability,” Corentino said. - We worked closely with the US military and together with them developed a stamped monolithic lower body for combat vehicles. By eliminating welds, we can significantly increase the level of survivability in the application of both IEDs and other threats. By reducing the number of parts and improving the efficiency of the supply chain, we come to a more affordable solution. We believe that by combining such modern solutions for passive booking, such as a monolithic body, with improved active protection systems, we can get the best combat stability package for our ground vehicles. ”

Ceradyne, which plays a prominent role in the field of personal protection systems, is conducting the final stage of qualifying tests of the VTP (Vital Torso Protection) torso protection system, which is part of the US Army’s Soldiers Protection System (SPS) protection program. VTP will help the army to achieve its goal and reduce the weight of the liner for body armor, while maintaining the required level of protection. Cheryl Ingstad, head of the promising ceramics department at ZM, added: “As part of the SPS program, we are also developing an integrated head protection system, Integrated Head Protection System, which will allow the army to get the next generation helmet. The ZM company's experience in creating unified and convenient protection systems for the commercial segment will help us as accurately as possible to meet the needs of military customers. ”

Working also in the related field of security, Ceradyne will supply its UltraLight Weight Ballistic Bump Helmet N49 (ULW-BBH N49) to US law enforcement. “This helmet is also well suited for special forces. It uses a patented boltless design, and the mass of a clean helmet without lining, etc. is just 575 grams. ”

The search for new solutions is also a priority for DuPont, which, according to the chief technologist of this company, Joseph Hovánek, constantly uses its scientific and practical experience to study and develop new advanced materials. “Recently, we have developed several new materials for hard and soft protection, including products with a unidirectional and chaotic orientation of Kevlar fibers to protect against piercing weapons, as well as several products from Tensyion (Tensyion) ", - he added. Mr. Riu from QNA, in addition to evaluating new personal protective equipment, also gave his assessment of how the industry would respond to the army’s desire to improve the safety of its equipment and personnel. “At QNA, we are constantly expanding what is possible in order to achieve the best multi-impact (ability to withstand multiple hits) characteristics of our advanced composite materials in combination with reducing the weight of new systems, and we will work with our customers to deploy these solutions in the divisions. We are also working to introduce new passive and active RPG protection solutions to the market. ”

DuPont's synthetic Kevlar fiber is widely used and is very popular with manufacturers of various protection systems and their customers. Various underwear protection (ballistic vests, inserts, helmets, elbow pads, knee pads), as well as vehicle kits are made of it.

Riu further expressed his opinion on the near-term trends: “We see a non-decreasing threat of mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), which only increases the need for lightweight solutions that can be included either in the design of the machine or used as an additional set. Our high-quality anti-splash marks, as well as energy-absorbing seats and outdoor explosion-proof solutions will enable vehicle manufacturers to get cost-effective solutions that will give the fighter the highest level of protection. "

Mr. Hovanek from DuPont sees growth and continuous development in this sector: “The number of asymmetric threats in the world for military and law enforcement officers is constantly growing, and we understand that an increasing number of military and militarized structures need protection from various threats, both ballistic and nonballistic. We also expect the strengthening of the so-called “mandatory wearing” trend, that is, the key requirement in the next two to three years will be convenience, good fit and flexibility (in the true sense) of the elements of body protection. ”

Speaking about the needs of customers, prevailing in the field of protective materials, a representative of the company DSM Dyneema, said that "they want the lighter versions of our products"

Protection of armored vehicles

World military spending on armored vehicles and personal protective equipment are calculated in many zeros. Only the United States in the 2016 year spent on this, by the most conservative estimates, 30 billions of dollars.

In August, 2016, the British company Permali Gloucester announced the delivery of composite armor for the British AJAX combat vehicle in accordance with the 15 million pound contract issued by General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS),

According to the company Permali, composite materials will become an integral element of the ballistic protection of this machine. The British Department of Defense ordered 589 for these medium combat armored platforms.

Permah solutions are based on lightweight passive ballistic and explosion-proof protective panels (tested in accordance with STANAG 4569 and AEP-55 standards), which are made of glass, aramid or ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene UHMWPE (ultra high molecular weight polyethylene), as well as thermo-reactive rubber and modern thermoplastic polymers.

“They can also include ceramic tiles to protect against armor-piercing shells and aluminum or steel claddings for greater rigidity or increased levels of protection. Panels can be supplied as an optional upgrade or integrated into completely new platforms. Working in close cooperation with consumers and manufacturers of military vehicles makes it possible to optimize booking solutions, increase protection and reduce the mass of the final product, ”said a company representative.

One of the innovative solutions of the company is the Tufshield polyurethane coating, which provides protection against adverse external influences. In addition, Permali’s booking kits are available on many UK platforms, including CVRT, VVARTMOG and VIKING tracked vehicles, as well as heavy wheeled tractors and tankers manufactured by American Oshkosh. In addition, the company has developed a reservation kit for the HMT EXTENDA open top car from Supacat. As for other special-purpose vehicles, it does not need to be sewn up with the upper part of the minimum level, since soldiers must have the maximum level of knowledge of the situation when performing reconnaissance missions, as well as direct combat contact. The composite ballistic panels for the bottom of this car will be supplied to Supacat in the 2017-2018 years.

Car for special operations forces HMT EXTENDA company Supacat

General Robert Rice, Director of the Directorate of Military Equipment and Supplies of the British Ministry of Defense, explained: “The new AJAX armored vehicle is the basis of the new British Strike brigades, it enables the armed forces to respond quickly and efficiently to virtually any type of terrain. Now, next-generation British combat vehicles have world-class protection. ”

Speaking of the fact that Permali is currently working in a much closer relationship with leading manufacturers of final products, starting from the earliest stages of designing and developing combat vehicles, her representative noted that ceramic composite armor offers much higher levels of protection for compared to metal armor. To a greater extent, this concerns solutions for protecting against such threats as small arms and heavy machine guns and even medium caliber guns and IEDs; the latter were simply the scourge of coalition forces operating in Iraq and Afghanistan for more than a decade.

“For each of these programs, we worked taking into account the type of platform, the views of end users and the Ministry of Defense, with the goal to set up customized solutions that would meet complex technical and design requirements,” he added.

British proposals for the protection of armored vehicles

Another major initiative of the British Ministry of Defense is a program of modernization of the main combat tank (MBT) CHALLENGER 2, for the sake of victory in which Lockheed Martin and Elbit Systems joined forces and announced this later than everyone else in August 2016. The program, with a total value of over 600 million pounds, provides for the upgrade to 227 MBT. BAE Systems and General Dynamics, Rheinmetall, RUAG, Krauss-Maffei Wegman (KMW) and CMI Defense / Ricardo also fought for the contract.

In accordance with the conditions announced by the British Department of Defense in April 2016 of the competition for armored vehicles, the proposals should take into account “possible future requirements”. The program, designated CR2 LEP (CHALLENGER 2 Life Extension Project - extending the life of the CHALLENGER 2 tank), will extend its life from 2025 to 2035 year "in order to maintain the possibility of high-precision maneuvering direct-fire in a wide range of military operations" .

However, there are quite a few details regarding the replacement or modernization of the CHALLENGER 2's Chobham 2 composite armor, which provides protection against small arms fire, RPGs and various IEDs, including charges of the "shock core" type. Additional upgrades are expected to include the installation of active protection complexes on this MBT. In this regard, the Laboratory of Military Applied Research of the British Ministry of Defense in July 2016 signed a contract with QinetiQ to review and evaluate several systems, including the MUSS complex developed by Airbus Defense & Space.

December 23 Ministry of Defense 2016 announced that the program CR2 LEP selected two finalists - the company BAE Systems and Rheinmetall. The Ministry of Defense will allocate each of them with 23 a million pounds for the development of the renewal program, after which it will select the winner and sign a contract with him to upgrade the CHALLENGER 2 tank prior to modifying the McNUMX and subsequent production to 2.

IBD Deisenroth Engineering is currently actively promoting its latest development in the field of composite ceramics. The company explained that solutions for ceramic protection provide greater flexibility and, therefore, allow to obtain higher levels of protection for the "more complex surfaces" of modern MBT, BMP and BTR compared to more traditional materials from heavier steel. IBD was the first company to develop complete parts made of composite materials for vulnerable areas, including wheel arches and sponsons, because before that ceramic protection was assembled only from flat panels.

IBD, which presented its promising solutions at Eurosatory 2016, focused on creating three-dimensional molded profiles made of ceramic tiles that meet the protection requirements in accordance with the STANAG 5 NATO Standard 6 and 4569. In addition, such solutions can be successfully applied to protect against IEDs and “shock core” charges.

The company also noted that the transition from steel to ceramic composite materials entails a significant reduction in the mass of armored vehicles, which makes it possible to add armament and equipment for reconnaissance, observation and control in accordance with operational needs.

Dynamic protection (reactive armor) with a low level of fragmentation, called HL-Schutz, and previously known under the designation CLARA (Composite Lightweight Adaptable Reactive Armor - lightweight adaptive composite reactive armor), is based on the same principles as the traditional dynamic protection technology. The new concept of insensitive hinged armor, developed by Dynamit Nobel Defense (DND), is a combination of panels made of composite materials and a completely new low-sensitivity explosive with a low burning rate. This explosives can withstand the hit of bullets and shells fired from machine guns and small-caliber guns, splinters, exposure to fire and lightning. Reactive blocks are initiated from the impact of a cumulative jet. Only such a jet creates enough energy to initiate the explosives contained in the block, which, detonating, deflects and thereby reduces the characteristics of armor penetration of the cumulative jet. Also, the dynamic protection units are immune to the effects of any type of environment and a bullet or even a medium-caliber projectile.

HL Schutz lightweight insensitive hinged armor developed by Dynamit Nobel Defense, based on the same principles as traditional dynamic protection, is designed to protect against the whole range of cumulative ammunition

Depending on the type of vehicle and requirements, the HL protection kit can either be directly installed on the main armor of the vehicle, or in combination with additional armor (for example, an armor plate), which increases the level of protection against armor-piercing shells. In this case, it is installed between the main armor and blocks DZ. Two panels are stacked one on top of the other, the bottom one weighs about 40 kg, and the top one around 20 kg. The average weight of such dynamic protection is approximately 260 kg / m2. Such a system reduces the impact of a cumulative jet, and also provides additional protection against large-caliber bullets, right up to the 14,5-mm armor-piercing incendiary gunned down. When mounted on an armored vehicle, the HL-Schutz dynamic protection units are installed at different angles. Such a “smooth” placement allows you to get additional space behind the protection system, which can be used for stacking equipment. But, most importantly, it allows you to get the optimal level of protection against hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers.

When detonating the energetic material that fills the blocks, there are no fragments flying from the machine in different directions, that is, the risk of indirect losses is reduced to a minimum among the infantrymen who are in close proximity to the machines. Within a few milliseconds, the composite material is fragmented into a tangle of fibers. In addition, the HL-Schutz concept of dynamic protection is aimed at minimizing fragmentation inside the machine, thus reducing the crew’s armor damage and equipment. One of the most important characteristics of the HL-Schutz system is that if one reactive unit is initiated, the chain reaction will not happen and the neighboring units will not detonate. This is achieved thanks to the special design of individual tiles and the use of a special low-sensitivity explosive.

LEOPARD 2A4 is now digital on 100%

Digital tower tank LEOPARD 2А4, developed by RUAG Defense, at the exhibition DVD 2016

Early last year, RUAG Defense showed what the company calls the world's first “one hundred percent” digital MBT LEOPARD 2A4. It is possible that the project was specifically designed as an upgrade at the middle stage of operation, which allows more flexible adjustment to the needs of each customer. According to RUAG Defense, the latter concept of an intermediate upgrade for the LEOPARD 2A4 MBT represents another innovative milestone achieved by it. In this regard, the company modestly calls itself "the only supplier on the market, able to offer a fully digital model."

Intelligence and command systems are closely interrelated, that is, the combat mission can be successfully completed in accordance with the assigned task only if the relevant information has correctly passed through all data transmission channels. Thanks to open interfaces, it has now become possible to send and receive voice messages, images and data at any time and under the most adverse conditions. Of particular note is the updated tank fire control system, which has been completely redesigned by RUAG Defense, and now thanks to universal interfaces it can easily be combined with existing and new systems, for example, a battle control system or ammunition programming. Modern MSA supports all types of ammunition and, as a result, has high functional flexibility. Digital modernization has allowed to bring an obsolete tank to a new level and significantly increase its combat capabilities.


Another development direction in the field of protection systems for OBT, BTR and BMP is the so-called “microprotection” of specific elements of vehicles, for example, fuel tanks. The growing demand in this market allowed the British company Permali to enter the American market together with the local company HIT (High Impact Technology) and present their BattleJacket Fuel Cell Containment System (FCCS) fuel sealing system there.

The BattleJacket system, based on self-sealing technology using a sprayed elastomeric coating, can be applied to metal, ceramic and plastic products. It protects the components of the machine not only from corrosion and abrasion, but also from excessive heat.

The FCCS system, designed to prevent leakage from getting bullets, with the help of special tools can be applied by spraying on the surfaces of machines already deployed in small forward bases and repair sites.

Permali confirmed that this technology will be included in the program for the new AJAX combat vehicle, as well as integrated into the NMT EXTENDA family of vehicles from Supacat.

HIT, with its decision BattleGuard, which it calls the "physical anti-bullet and anti-explosion barrier to protect advanced bases and roadblocks," also entered the tactical defense market.

The Czech Army is currently considering similar technology to protect personnel from bullets and shrapnel. Developed from 2014 by the Military Research Institute of the Military Research Institute (MRI), the dome-shaped system (photo below) passed a series of explosion and qualification tests in the Czech armed forces in the middle of 2016.

The inner space of width 90 cm between two layers of aluminum armor can be filled with corundum balls, insulating materials and even sand in order to absorb the kinetic energy of bullets and fragments. To date, explosion tests have confirmed the stability of the system when 10 kg of TNT is exploded at a distance of 10 meters.

Up to six people can be accommodated inside the dome, the space can be divided into two zones with an area of ​​5,6 м2 and 7,8 м2. According to MRI, the system is transported by air, land or sea and is assembled in 4 hours, but special tools are needed.

Personal protection

Meanwhile, for ballistic protection systems currently worn by infantrymen and special forces, such as body armor and helmets, there is a tendency to increase the level of modularity so that they can be upgraded depending on the level of protection required for a specific combat mission.

For example, the American command of special operations forces performs the FTHS program (Family of Tactical Headbome Systems - a family of tactical wearable systems on the head), within which a basic anti-shock helmet with an additional set of anti-bullet protection is being developed. Revision Military and Ceradyne ZM companies received a contract last summer to study the solutions on the market.

FTHS family of tactical helmets developed by Revision Military

The selected FTHS helmet, starting in September 2017, will begin to replace the standard Ops Core FAST helmets. It will provide protection against 9-mm and 7,62-mm bullets, as well as from splinters and blunt injuries due to modular and multi-layer tamping systems inside the helmet itself.

Revision Military offers the Multi-Use Bump Shell 2,3 kg helmet, first presented at the Special Operations Forces Industry Conference SOFIC in May 2016, with an additional anti-bullet kit installed over the base helmet.

According to Mr. Manika from DSM Dyneema, the ballistic materials used in these areas continue to play "a very significant role."

“We expect that the main growth in the defense sector will be associated with modernization programs that need new technologies. Many countries, such as the United States, Britain, Brazil and India, are modernizing their armed forces. Although today the need for more troops to participate in global conflicts seems to be declining, riots and the growing threat of terrorism around the world are contributing to progress in new technologies. This situation has also led to the fact that growth opportunities in personal protection have overtaken growth opportunities in vehicle protection, although this area is still very important. ”

Speaking about current trends in protection technologies associated with body armor and combat helmets, he stressed that manufacturers are concerned about reducing the size and weight, and the military leadership seeks to get lighter systems in order to increase the convenience and freedom of movement.

Looking to the future, the Dyneema also takes into account the proliferation of special types of ammunition, as many of the armed forces tend to get away from assault rifles and machine guns of traditional 5,56 mm and 7,62 mm calibers. In the appearance of 6,5 mm and 6,8 mm bullets, as well as Russian 5,45 mm bullets, the company sees a new world-wide ballistic threat. ” According to Manik, “special cartridges for pistols and rifles have a high penetrating power and easily form debris compared to standard cartridges. Unfortunately, nothing can stop them from spreading. Customers are asking for new materials that can protect them from new bullets. This is a constant race between the underworld and the industry of personal protection systems. Helmets, body armor and liners to them of different types offer significant opportunities for growth. The helmet sphere is currently undergoing a transformation, as existing products based on the model for the American army are being replaced by lighter models. ” He further noted the growing demand for inserts for body armor, linking this with growing concerns caused by the widespread and easy availability of AK-47 and AR-15 assault rifles and the like. “As part of modernization programs, both military and law enforcement agencies buy more comfortable vests with less weight. Although these items are bought in this order — the vest, the helmet, and the insert plates — they all play their key role in full protection. ”

Continuous changes

Innovations aimed at increasing the damaging effects of weapons, and improving tactics allow companies in the field of protective materials to remain dynamic and adaptive. These companies will continue to increase innovation rates in order to saturate the market with new materials and other advanced technologies. Similarly, these companies will be looking for partners to quickly bring their solutions in the field of protection to customers from the military and law enforcement agencies.

The need for well-defended personnel, vehicles and military bases will grow, as the combat effectiveness of opponents close in combat power and technological level will continue to grow. However, these needs must be balanced by modularity and mobility, since modern operational space determines the need for fast and maneuverable forces capable of operating in an expeditionary style and far from permanent deployment sites.

At the SOFIC conference, Revision presented its new universal anti-shock helmet with ballistic capabilities. Two overhead sets go to the basic anti-shock helmet, which allows the helmet owner to increase the level of protection depending on the level of threat

The first part of the article:
Lightweight and high-tech protective materials. Part of 1

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  1. Alexey M
    Alexey M 13 February 2017 09: 59
    They don’t play enough with their modularity. Then give them a modular weapon, then give protection. And where and how to store all this? And when to wear? I think the protection should be maximum, but in moderation. Our standards are more strict than import ones, so let them equal us not we on them.
  2. Medium
    Medium 13 February 2017 11: 24
    It is written according to the principle: "Vali kul, then we will take it apart." The theme is clearly beyond the power of the author.
  3. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh 13 February 2017 12: 12
    Great review. Especially interesting about the new types of remote sensing.
    The challenge for technologists is to reduce the weight of the tank / armored personnel carrier without reducing
    armor protection. Metals cannot help here - only composites
    with ceramics and organics.
  4. missuris
    missuris 13 February 2017 14: 02
    I want exoskeletons passive and active! =) And on the topic, they’re completely crazy, they make the army shockproof helmet lol), but as a modification of modern shockproof helmets it’s normal, only xs that the police will buy these body kits.
    As the development of the market volume for the sake of the market volume, modularity is good, i.e. jobs, salaries, GDP growth and so on, but I didn’t buy one myself) I want a heavy 4.5 kg helmet made of ceramic on a neck exoskeleton or suspension, well, when the helmet hangs over the head or on springs)
    1. The brightest
      The brightest 13 February 2017 14: 45
      Quote: missuris
      make an army shockproof helmet

      Now this is the name for a helmet capable of withstanding a splinter and a pistol bullet.
  5. astronom1973n
    astronom1973n 13 February 2017 14: 36
    Car for special operations forces HMT EXTENDA company Supacat
    On such guys from Texas in Siberia in January at -38 degrees for reconnaissance !!! At a speed of over 60 km / h !!!! Yu huuuuu ice cream on a cart! wassat
    1. Großer feldherr
      Großer feldherr 13 February 2017 15: 34
      On a snowmobile it’s like riding, and nothing, no ice cream if dressed and equipped
      But it is this tachanka for the desert.
      And there is nothing for them to do in Siberia — there is no incentive, our oligarchs already sell any resources for a pittance.
  6. astronom1973n
    astronom1973n 13 February 2017 17: 28
    Quote: Großer Feldherr
    On a snowmobile it’s like riding, and nothing, no ice cream if dressed and equipped
    But it is this tachanka for the desert.
    And there is nothing for them to do in Siberia — there is no incentive, our oligarchs already sell any resources for a pittance.

    Have you tried on the armor on top of the snow pole? not? kaaif! at least how to dress, it’s cold however! a snowmobile is fun, and then you need to look into both eyes! and properly assess the situation. a cart for the desert ...
  7. hezbola
    hezbola 14 February 2017 23: 54
    I would like to look at the neck of that helmet developer whose head in this helmet caught a 762 bullet ..
  8. Sahalinets
    Sahalinets 17 February 2017 14: 01
    What is the use of an impenetrable helmet if the energy of a bullet simply breaks its wearer's neck?