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Next-Generation Passive RPG Protection Systems


RPG Defeat Net

Michael Andrewartha, Product Line Manager, Survivability, QinetiQ North America Scott Quigley, Principal Engineer, QinetiQ North America

Problem Statement For more than 50 years, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), have been responsible for lost lives and destruction of military vehicles. The RPG-7 family of grenades, specifically the anti-tank, shaped- charge versions, are weapons of choice in battlefields worldwide. These low-cost and readilyavailable weapons can penetrate over 300mm of rolled homogenous armor, posing a lethal threat to vehicle occupants and systems.


N THE past quarter century, QinetiQ North America (QNA) has fielded the most widely-deployed RPG protection system in the world. In 2009, QNA introduced Q-NET®, an innovative protective-net solution that reduced the weight of passive protection by up to 60% and extended protection to a broader range of vehicles. Q-NET has been successfully deployed on over 13,000 platforms in the past six years, providing protection to vehicles and soldiers worldwide. QinetiQ North America continues to work at the forefront of RPG protection and has developed a next-generation technology that is even lighter weight and easier to deploy in the field.

How Passive RPG Protection Works: Passive RPG protection works in two ways: • By disrupting the fuse train • By disrupting or distorting the liner of the shaped charge to reduce the effectiveness of the shaped charge jet (the method used in traditional slat or bar armor) Passive RPG systems do not “catch the RPG,” and do not intentionally detonate the RPG at a distance. A shaped charge, detonated at any reasonable standoff from its target, would still likely penetrate the hull of any of today’s ground vehicles. Traditionally, slat or bar armor solutions were used as a brute-force method of reducing the penetrative capability of RPGs. However, as most military vehicles cannot bear the weight of slat/bar armor, lightweight systems such as Q-NET have become the preferred method of passive RPG protection.

The Evolution of Passive Defeat Technology Development of passive defeat systems began in the early 2000’s to address the need for better RPG protection across a wide range of vehicles. Previously only very large vehicles could be equipped with RPG protection, because they were the only vehicles capable of supporting the weight of slat armors. The need for a lightweight solution initially led to the development of high-strength, textile-based solutions that worked by disrupting the fuse mechanism of incoming RPGs. After years of research and development focusing on material selection, mesh and cord size analysis, laboratory simulation and live fire testing, a system was produced that was capable of defeating threats while maintaining a significantly reduced total system weight, as compared to slat armor. However, textile-only based solutions also had challenging limitations: - The systems relied on strong woven cords to develop enough constricting force on the round to defeat it. The resulting cords were so strong, however, that if the piezoelectric fuse struck one, it could detonate the round – allowing the shaped charge to form a jet that could penetrate the vehicle. - The openings in the net mesh had to be limited in size to ensure that smaller-diameter RPG threats could not enter, enabling a fuse to strike a cord and detonate. - The small openings and large cords made it difficult to protect windshields and windows without obscuring the occupant’s field of vision.


Proven protection for your most important assets.


Defence Industry Reports – ‘Advances in RPG Protection Technology’ – Qinetiq  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advances in RPG Protection Technology

Defence Industry Reports – ‘Advances in RPG Protection Technology’ – Qinetiq  

Defence Industry – Special Report on Advances in RPG Protection Technology