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Special Report

Next Generation Ballistic Protection Armor More Effective and Less Cumbersome: Body Armor Made with DYNEEMA速 Offers Greater Protection Yet Weighs Less Protecting the World Keeping up Standards Balance Not Compromise Developing Solutions to Meet Evolving Challenges

Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

SPECIAL REPORT

Next Generation Ballistic Protection Armor More Effective and Less Cumbersome: Body Armor Made with DYNEEMA® Offers Greater Protection Yet Weighs Less

Contents

Protecting the World Keeping up Standards Balance Not Compromise Developing Solutions to Meet Evolving Challenges

Foreword

2

John Hancock, Editor

More Effective and Less Cumbersome: Body Armor Made with DYNEEMA® Offers Greater Protection Yet Weighs Less 3 DSM Dyneema Sponsored by

Published by Global Business Media

Published by Global Business Media Global Business Media Limited 62 The Street Ashtead Surrey KT21 1AT United Kingdom Switchboard: +44 (0)1737 850 939 Fax: +44 (0)1737 851 952 Email: info@globalbusinessmedia.org Website: www.globalbusinessmedia.org Publisher Kevin Bell Business Development Director Marie-Anne Brooks Editor John Hancock Senior Project Manager Steve Banks Advertising Executives Michael McCarthy Abigail Coombes Production Manager Paul Davies For further information visit: www.globalbusinessmedia.org The opinions and views expressed in the editorial content in this publication are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily represent the views of any organisation with which they may be associated. Material in advertisements and promotional features may be considered to represent the views of the advertisers and promoters. The views and opinions expressed in this publication do not necessarily express the views of the Publishers or the Editor. While every care has been taken in the preparation of this publication, neither the Publishers nor the Editor are responsible for such opinions and views or for any inaccuracies in the articles.

© 2012. The entire contents of this publication are protected by copyright. Full details are available from the Publishers. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the copyright owner.

High Strength, Low Weight Withstanding Harsh Conditions DSM Dyneema: A Portfolio for Global Solutions Advances in Helmets New Material for Vests Inserts Vehicle Protection The Future Outlook

Protecting the World

8

John Hancock

People Need Protection Ballistic Protection for Vehicles Armor is a World-Wide Concern Weight Matters in the Air Armor Still Does It

Keeping up Standards

10

Francis Slade, Defense Correspondent

Military Imperative New Materials for New Threats Standards

Balance Not Compromise

12

Peter Dunwell, Staff Writer

A Balancing Act Something Has to Give Engineering with Advanced Materials Less Need for Compromise

Developing Solutions to Meet Evolving Challenges

14

John Hancock

Meeting the Threat of the Day Protecting People Protecting Equipment Not Just a Military Threat Looking Forward

References 16

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

Foreword

I

n a changing world, protective armor must

security personnel and even civilians face threats of

continue to be effective against whatever

shooting these days. With the proceeds of crime so

threats may be deployed. This Special Report

high in criminal sectors like the drug trade and people

examines the new challenges and the products

trafficking and with the highly politicized nature of

being developed to match increased and varied

some modern protest movements as well as the well

threat levels.

documented rise of insurgency and guerilla warfare,

The Report opens with a piece that looks at

counter societal elements are much more likely to

advances in polyethylene technology. These

resort to firearms. So it follows that an ever wider

advances have resulted in the development

group of people are at risk of being on the receiving

of Dyneema , an ultra-high molecular weight

end of armed action and are in need of protection

polyethylene, which is an ex tremely low

against ballistic threat.

weight, high strength fiber that affords greater

Also the quality of weaponry is increasing with the

protection against the increasing level of lethal threats.

latest high powered rifles as well as RPGs and even

It goes on to describe use of this material in a wide

missiles being available to any criminal or terrorist

range of applications including helmets, vests and

with sufficiently deep pockets or who is prepared to

inserts, as well as having various applications for

research weak points in supply chains from which

vehicle protection.

equipment can be stolen. Furthermore, because

In our darker moments we like to think that the

many of the groups engaged in these sorts of

threats we face today are new and of a type never

action would rather not openly confront trained

before encountered but that would be untrue where

personnel in the field, there is increasing resort

protection against attack is concerned. However,

to remotely controlled or victim activated

what may be true is that the intensity of attacks and

explosive devices, including the notorious IED and

the easy availability to criminals and anti-societal

suicide bomber.

elements of weapons that would previously have

In this context the provision of effective ballistic

been the preserve of military users has both widened

armor solutions is a critical element in any modern

and deepened the universe in which, particularly,

protective system.

ballistic attack may be encountered. The widening refers to the increasing number of occasions on which non-military people such

John Hancock

as police officers, customs officers, commercial

Editor

John Hancock joined as Editor of Defence Reports in early 2012. A journalist for nearly 25 years, John has written and edited articles and papers on a range of defence, engineering and technology topics as well as for key events in the sector. Subjects have included aero-engineering, testing, aviation IT, materials engineering, weapons research, supply chain, logistics and naval engineering.

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

More Effective and Less Cumbersome: Body Armor Made with DYNEEMA® Offers Greater Protection Yet Weighs Less DSM Dyneema

Products made with Dyneema® have been proven in action - and provided protection – in areas of conflict worldwide. End-users include individuals in military, law enforcement, civil protection and any area where people are assuming risk. Dyneema® has been specified and used in numerous vehicles and body armor products around the world. As conditions and threats are evolving and becoming more severe, DSM Dyneema introduces innovations and developments to help meet demands.

I

t is an established fact that a dismounted soldier in a combat zone is often required to carry 54 kg or even more in equipment for survival, protection and surveillance. The total weight of the ballistic survival equipment alone can amount to as much as 16 kg including a combat helmet, a tactical ballistic vest, inserts with resistance against armor-piercing rounds, and other body armor. The ability to reduce the overall weight of body armor – and thus increase manoeuvrability in the field – is a significant development made possible by the advances in polyethylene technology by DSM Dyneema. The result is Dyneema®, an ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMwPE), which is an extremely low weight, high strength fiber that can cut the weight of body armor by typically 10 to 20%, and up to 35% depending on the specification. Equally important, the material’s outstanding strength affords greater protection against the increasingly more lethal threats of ammunition, fragments and handguns and is stab resistant. Because of its unique combination of properties, Dyneema® UD material is specified for the protection of combat personnel by defence forces around the world and by agencies charged with law enforcement and civil protection.

stronger than quality steel and up to 40% stronger than aramid fibers. Dyneema® fibers derive their strength from a proprietary gel-spinning process that results in elongated polymer chains. The heated gel is extruded through a spinneret and the extrudate drawn through the air and cooled in a water bath. This process produces a parallel orientation of the fiber greater than 95%, giving it exceptional tensile strength, and a level of crystallinity of up to 85%. This is in strong contrast to other materials on the market, such as para-aramid, which derive their strength from strong bonding between relatively short molecules. Dyneema® unidirectional (UD) materials allow the energy transferred from the impact of a bullet, or other threats, to be distributed along the fibers much more rapidly and efficiently than in conventional woven fabrics. These UD materials are used in body armor solutions that comprise multiple layers, with the fibers

Today’s threats arise faster than ever. Help your people stay ahead of them. Our armor solutions keep everyone moving. Dyneema® delivers lightweight, combat-proven protection against current and emergent threats for vehicles and body armor. For more information, please visit www.lifeprotection.dyneema.com

High Strength, Low Weight Invented and manufactured by DSM, Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™, offers maximum strength at minimum weight. On a weightfor-weight basis, Dyneema® is up to 15 times

Molecular orientation of Dyneema®

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

The ability to reduce the overall weight of body armor – and thus increase manoeuvrability in the field – is a

V50 results after accelerated

ageing Hard Ballistics

• Samples conditioned for maximal 8 weeks

• Samples conditioned for maximal 20 weeks

and tested at room temperature • V50 tests 9 mm FMJ DM41 showed no significant relation with condition time

significant development made possible by the advances in polyethylene technology by DSM Dyneema.

V50 results after accelerated

ageing Soft Ballistic

in each layer placed perpendicular to those in adjacent layers, creating a laminate composite construction. This configuration allows energy transferred in the impact of a ballistic threat to be distributed through the fibers more efficiently than in conventional fibers. This ultra-high energy absorption capacity offers protection for combat personnel against major ballistic threats. For soft ballistic applications, such as material for bullet resistant vests, the fiber layers are encased top and bottom in a thin layer of film to increase pliability and to protect the material. Patented UD construction makes back face deformation (BFD) wider and less deep, thereby minimising blunt trauma effect. Another type is ballistic sheet, made from UHMWPE tape, which is currently applied in composite construction for vehicle armor protection and personal protection in helmets and inserts.

Withstanding Harsh Conditions An essential factor in the performance of materials for armor solutions is their durability and how they maintain their performance integrity even in the most hostile of environments in the desert and tropics. As there are no accepted standards or tests to measure the lifetime expectancy of bulletresistant body armor, DSM Dyneema applies an accelerated aging test. This technique has been used to expose Dyneema® UD (both the Soft Ballistic and the Hard Ballistic products) to high temperatures and relative humidity for prolonged periods. The Arrhenius equation was used to relate the accelerated aging data to ambient aging. These investigations have demonstrated the high V50 performance retention of Dyneema® UD after accelerated aging, and good ballistic resistance under extreme temperatures conditions for body armor. These findings are confirmed by thousands of combat proven solutions for both body and vehicle armor. As well as being ultra-light, extremely strong and durable, Dyneema® fibers are resistant to 4 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

and tested at room temperature • V50 tests AK47 MSC did not show significant relation with condition time

moisture, UV rays and to most chemicals such as sweat and common cleaning solvents. With low specific gravity of 0.97 g/cm³, this material floats on water. This means that pressed hard armor panels made of this material have the same characteristics. From a production perspective, Dyneema® is easy to handle. This offers an added advantage of time and cost reductions for body armor manufacturers in material lay-up and cutting.

DSM Dyneema: A Portfolio for Global Solutions Since DSM Dyneema started commercial production of Dyneema® almost 20 years ago, significant strides have been made in developing new technology and globalising production. UHMWPE fiber from DSM Dyneema is produced in Heerlen, The Netherlands, and in Greenville, North Carolina, USA. DSM Dyneema is also a partner in a high modulus polyethylene (HMPE) manufacturing joint venture in Japan. DSM offers a portfolio of Dyneema® grades for soft and hard ballistic applications. Soft ballistic systems (SB) are designed specifically for use in vests to provide protection against handgun ammunitions and fragments, and combined threats, such as handgun and knives. Hard ballistic grades (HB) are specified for ballistic inserts and helmets to protect against heavier, more penetrating threats such as highspeed fragments and rifle threats. Dyneema® has been specified and used in a number of key applications: vehicle and body armor products including vests, helmets and inserts.

Advances in Helmets In 2009, DSM Dyneema launched a new Dyneema® unidirectional (UD) composite HB80 – one of the highest ballistic performance UD materials on the market today – in response to a joint US Army and Marine Corps request for


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

The FAST (Future Assault Shell Technology) helmet made with Dyneema® UD composite HB80.

new material that would increase the ballistic performance of the next generation helmet. A key application of HB80 is a ballistic combat helmet called the FAST (Future Assault Shell Technology) helmet. Introduced by Ops-Core, Inc. of Boston, USA, the FAST helmet has been a favorite of Special Operations Forces around the world for several years now. It is already used by many elite units in the US, as well as top tier programs in other European countries. Dyneema® HB80 also played a critical role in Ceradyne Inc.’s successful development of the new Enhanced Combat Helmet (ECH) for the United States Marine Corps and Army. Ceradyne chose Dyneema® HB80 to provide the highest level of ballistic protection for the ECH. Compared to the existing Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) which is made with aramid fibers, the new ECH with Dyneema® HB80 provides protection and exceeds the ECH program requirement for better fragmentation performance than ACH, all without increasing helmet weight. HB80 is also the only material that passes the stringent ECH testing. According to Dr. James Zheng, chief scientist soldier protective and individual equipment, PEO Soldier, United States Army, the ECH program represents a major advance in helmet technology: “This program can deliver enhanced superior protection for our troops. Our close collaboration with leading industry partners such as Ceradyne and DSM Dyneema enabled us to utilize their valuable technological expertise and support, resulting in the new ECH helmet.” The ECH program exemplifies the importance of DSM Dyneema’s continuing leadership in materials science and commitment to innovation to meet the ever-higher requirements for personal protection. Representing a step-change in materials technology, Dyneema® HB80 has achieved a major breakthrough by providing

exceptional performance without increasing the helmet’s weight. As part of the ECH development initiative, Dyneema® HB80 has undergone extensive ballistic and secondary properties testing and provides excellent ballistic and structural properties. HB80 also presents armor manufacturers with opportunities to reduce the weight of ballistic inserts and shields that protect against high-speed fragments and rifle rounds. As one of the highest performing UD materials, it also provides excellent multi-hit performance and can easily be used in combination with ceramics and steel for protection against higher threats such as explosively formed penetrators (EFPs) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In addition to personal protection applications, Dyneema® HB80 is currently being used for high-end vehicle armor applications where light weight and ultra-high armor performance are essential; it is the premier material technology solution for the highest possible protection at the lightest weight in armor applications.

New Material for Vests In 2010, Dyneema® SB51 was launched for soft ballistic applications such as Law Enforcement and Military protective vests. A specific property of SB51 is the good combined performance of NIJ threats and Tokarev 7.62 x 25 mm protection. The material built on the successes of two grades which had already been on the market, Dyneema® SB21 and SB31. Towards the end of 2011, DSM Dyneema announced the global introduction of its latest innovative light weight ballistic material. High performance Dyneema® SB71, a UD grade made of UHMwPE fiber, was specifically designed and developed for use in ballistic vests certified under NIJ0101.06. Today, customers have designs based on SB71 certified for NIJ04 level 3A, and NIJ06 level 3A, as well as various local standards, such as the German SK1 protection level. A good example is a vest designed by BSST GmbH, based in Nellingen Germany. BSST has a wide range of tactical and concealed protective vests and was looking for the lowest weight system that would meet the German Schutzklasse edition Oct 2008, protection level 1 (SK1). With SB71, this protection level was certified at the German Mellrichstadt laboratory at the very low weight of 4.2 kg/m2, while traditional aramid solutions without SB71 are typically in the range of 4.5 - 5.0 kg/m2. Wolfgang Schulz, Managing Director of BSST GmbH stated; “With SB71 we are able to deliver high performance at low weight that has not previously been available.”

Today’s threats arise faster than ever. Help your people stay ahead of them. Our armor solutions keep everyone moving. Dyneema® delivers lightweight, combat-proven protection against current and emergent threats for vehicles and body armor. For more information, please visit www.lifeprotection.dyneema.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

Representing a step-

enables vests to be designed with low Back Face Signature while remaining thin, light and comfortable. SB71, which can be used to design vests meeting NIJ06 specification, was developed in close cooperation with body armor manufacturers. The main advantages of Dyneema® SB71 for body armor manufacturers include reductions in costs, time and material. Ease of handling leads to time and cost reductions, with less time being spent in material lay-up and cutting. And with less material being required, the environmental benefits are significant too.

change in materials technology, Dyneema® HB80 has achieved a major breakthrough

Inserts

by providing exceptional

Modular personal protection system P6 with concealable cover. Protection level: SK1 according to TR 03-2008

performance without increasing the helmet’s weight.

Throughout the wide range of armor applications, Dyneema® UD has been well recognised by various defence forces around the world. Various Ministries of Defence have already chosen Dyneema® UD material for the inserts. Until recently, it had been difficult to balance the need for higher protection with light weight needed by soldiers for optimal agility and speed in combat. Because Dyneema® UD offers a combination of exceptional strength with very low weight, designers can add significant protection with minimal additional weight by using the material as the backing for the ceramic insert. The Dyneema® UD backing not only increases the vest’s resistance to ballistic impact, but also helps protect the wearer against wounds in the event the ceramic shatters.

Vehicle Protection Modular personal protection system P6 with tactical cover, military design. Protection level: NIJ3A according to NIJ Standard-0101.06. Photos courtesy of BSST.

The latest development for vests SB71.

In addition to the SK1 certification, BSST also certified a vest design with SB71, which complies with NIJ Standard 0101.06 Level IIIA (3A). This design was certified at TNO in the Netherlands which is the first ballistic laboratory in Europe with this capability. SB71 facilitates protective concepts for the lightest, most comfortable and most demanding vest applications in the range of UD grades available from DSM Dyneema. It is suited for vest designs that meet the NIJ06 standard as well as other law enforcement and military standards. Where all the other Dyneema® UD grade based solutions are already lighter than other non-PE vest solutions, SB71 offers a further average weight saving of 15%. Dyneema® SB71 can also be combined with trauma liners and stab resistance solutions in vests designed to meet various international standards. Moreover, it can be used both in tactical and concealed vest designs. It also

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In modern warfare, armored military ground vehicles need to deliver more survivability than ever. At the same time, vehicles need to be as mobile and agile as possible. Increasingly, military end users are seeing the benefits of using Dyneema® as key ingredient in their armor solution in order to increase crew survivability while at the same time creating room for further weight growth of the vehicle, as modern warfare dictates. In 2009, DSM Dyneema launched a proprietary ballistic tape (BT) which was subsequently selected by Ten Cate Advanced Armor for upgrading the armor of the Patria XA-188APC used by the Royal Netherlands Armed Forces stationed in Afghanistan. Applied as a backing material for the strike force armor, the material has been tested and certified according to NATO standard, STANAG 4569 / AEP55. Vehicle protection applications using Dyneema® Hard Ballistic solutions are benefiting from its unique combination of light weight and exceptional protective ability enabling vehicles to be more survivable, to have increased vehicle performance, increased payloads and to achieve reduced total cost of ownership while


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

Multiple impacts with 7.62 x 51 mm NATO ball, and 7.62 x 39 mm AK47 MSC ammunition on a Dyneema® HB50 insert.

The Mastiff armored vehicle on a test run at Kandahar Air Base, Afghanistan. These vehicles will give commanders on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan more options to deal with the developing threats they are facing. These wheeled patrol vehicles are fitted with armor based on Dyneema®. Source: www.defenceimages.mod.uk

being ensured of retained armor performance in harsh environments.

The Future Outlook DSM Dyneema is well-known in Europe and in other parts of the world for its innovations. “We are a global company and target the needs of different regions and that means continuous innovation”, says Dirk Louwers, EMEA Marketing Manager Life Protection, DSM Dyneema. “The dimensions and dilemmas differ around the world, so at DSM Dyneema we keep a continuous focus on developments in the market and work closely with our customers to be able to bring the best possible products to market. Our goal is to make sure that Dyneema® is present with soldiers and other front-line services when it matters most.”

Today’s threats arise faster than ever. Help your people stay ahead of them. Our armor solutions keep everyone moving. Dyneema® delivers lightweight, combat-proven protection against current and emergent threats for vehicles and body armor. For more information, please visit www.lifeprotection.dyneema.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

Protecting the World John Hancock

As armaments deploy ever more efficient ways to inflict damage, ballistic protection is also evolving to meet new challenges

The development of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles has combined the use of significantly improved materials like UMHWPE based products with smart design features such as the ‘V’ shaped hull to deflect blast.

A

key component in any defense system is to consistently improve and upgrade the quality of protection for personnel, systems and materials. So, at any given time, there will be hundreds of programs to supply the world’s military forces and groups working in threat situations with the latest levels of ballistic protection.

People Need Protection For most fighting forces people are their most valuable component and protecting personnel is a key requirement in most conventional military equipment specifications. That protection falls broadly into two categories; ensuring that the vehicles in which they travel and fight are well armored, and ensuring that, when they are out of those vehicles, personnel are individually well protected. From the metal armor and chainmail worn by mediaeval combatants, which offered limited protection for considerably compromised mobility, we have moved on to significantly lighter and yet much stronger materials, which can be incorporated in clothing or even used as the material for clothing. Kevlar was the first non-metallic material to capture the public’s imagination and since then there have been a lot of further developments such as ‘ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene’ (UMHWPE) based products to reach today’s situation where relatively light materials can offer enormous levels of ballistic protection. Much of that protection can be attributed to the quality of design which makes the best use of the materials available. So the British Army’s latest Mark 4 Osprey body armor combines both armored materials and ceramic plates to offer the soldier a variety of protection levels to suit the task at hand. Equally, an important part of the US Department of Defense program to improve the safety of forces using helicopter deployment, is an enhanced level of body armor for the soldiers concerned.

Ballistic Protection for Vehicles Perhaps the really big changes and developments in armor protection have come in the area of protecting vehicles, especially land vehicles. 8 | www.defenceindustryreports.com

In asymmetric warfare, the favored weapon of the insurgent/terrorist/freedom fighter is one which does not expose him to a straight fight with the, usually, better equipped conventional forces, and that has driven the enormous increase in the use of IEDs (improvised explosive devices) whose impact on their victims is devastating and whose effect on morale is also draining. The development of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles has combined the use of significantly improved materials like UMHWPE based products with smart design features such as the ‘V’ shaped hull to deflect blast outwards and away from the vehicle floor. Part of the MRAP specification includes that it “shall provide integral protection for the crew from blast, shock, fragments and… blast effects, without breach of the floor when a mine is detonated under… the crew compartment.”1 The six wheeled Cougar MRAP vehicles used by American forces have been further developed as the Mastiff heavily armored 6 x 6 wheel drive patrol vehicle now entering service with British forces. The smaller Foxhound patrol vehicle, also ordered for the UK forces, uses a similar combination of design and modern armor materials.

Armor is a World-Wide Concern The Buffalo, a vehicle derived from the monocoque capsule protection concept pioneered by South African forces to cope with IEDs, is so well armored that it is actually used to detonate mines. Another program undergoing upgrade is the 30 year old Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) RAM now in service with Armed Forces from Vietnam to South America. The RAM Mk3 adds new levels of ballistic armor, mine blast protection and an enhanced firewall bulkhead to separate the engine compartment and fuel tank from the crew compartment and thus protect the crew, weapon system and power pack. Russia and India are big players in the armored vehicle market. Russia’s new T-90S tank features enhanced levels of protection against all existing anti-tank guided missiles, shells and mines. Meanwhile India, a significant customer for


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

Russian tanks, is developing its own armored transport capability, in upgrading the Indian armed forces 150,000 strong fleet of lorries. Ashok Leyland, Tata Motors and newcomer Asia Motor Works (AMW) are all lining up to build armored vehicles for this very lucrative market. And it isn’t only lorries; Tata has developed its own Micro Bullet Proof Vehicle (MBPV) for indoor combat against insurgents as well as the Tata Mobile Bunker with ballistic protection to NIJ level III.

Weight Matters in the Air In the air, weight is a critical factor in how much ballistic protection can be provided. As Marc Edwards, president of TenCate Advanced Armor USA Inc. explained in the September 2011 edition of SOTECH; “Unlike ground vehicle armor, aerial vehicles’ ballistic protection requires less of a focus on ballistic protection and more on weight because of the increased distances typically involved in taking fire from the air.”2 Helicopters are often more vulnerable, so much of the armor development in this area is concerned with improving their protection. UMHWPE based products with their ultralight weight and enormous strength are a very important part of this. United Technologies Research Center and the US Army are currently engaged in a program to develop a lightweight integrally armored helicopter floor and, in the upgrade of the Black Hawk UH-60M, a number of new components, including ballistic resistant seats, will make the vehicle even more effective. BAE Systems is currently developing a transparent ceramic armor material for an unnamed customer.

Armor Still Does It Whilst the news focus around new military equipment is often more on the technologies, it may be that the people who use that equipment will be at least as interested in the degree to which they can be protected against incoming fire and explosion and in that, armor remains the key component needing constant development to match the latest standards of weaponry.

Today’s threats arise faster than ever. Help your people stay ahead of them. Our armor solutions keep everyone moving. Dyneema® delivers lightweight, combat-proven protection against current and emergent threats for vehicles and body armor. For more information, please visit www.lifeprotection.dyneema.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

Keeping up Standards Francis Slade, Defense Correspondent

As with any area where performance is critical, ballistic protection has changed to meet changing threats and there are standards with which it should comply

The ballistic resistance standards required for body armor have been regularly upgraded to the current level of NIJ06. To be compliant body armor and the materials with which it is constructed must be able to demonstrate resilience against five levels of ballistic threat.

I

t once was the case that the main application for ballistic protective armor was with military personnel and military vehicles. However changes in in the ways that wars are fought and in civil society have meant that today there is a need for ballistic protective armor among a much wider group of users.

provides an initial level of protection to militate against the effects of blasts including fragments. There is also a second layer of detachable pelvic body armor and, for those whose role demands even greater levels of protection, a third tier of pelvic protection is being developed to offer even greater coverage including the upper leg and wider abdominal region.

Military Imperative

New Materials for New Threats

It is still developments for military purposes that drive this sector. High velocity firearms using hardened or specially designed ammunition can easily pierce metal protection while improvised explosive devices (IEDs) can be hidden, to lethal effect. And so a whole new class of materials has evolved to protect against these newer ballistic threats. Also, for all the technology that is deployed on the battlefield today, the lion’s share of work still falls to the foot soldier, who remains uniquely vulnerable outside of any protected environment or vehicle. However, protection afforded to individual combatants must not hinder their mobility or increase vulnerability to attack; plus it must not interfere with the need to carry many items of equipment. One excellent case of this would be the body armor system used by British troops deployed in Afghanistan. It is a three tiered system of clothing and armor consisting of special protective underwear and detachable armored modular trousers; all designed to integrate with current kit. The new kit balances protection with comfort and maneuverability, enabling troops to wear one or more protective layers depending on the task. Even the underwear is manufactured from a ballistic silk material that

Advanced materials have been developed for these purposes such as ‘ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene’ (UMHWPE) which can be produced either as a rigid material for use in ballistic plates and helmets or woven material for protective garments. These materials can also be used for a wide range of military vehicles such as the British Army’s Mastiff patrol vehicle. Using materials of this type in naval vessels has a number of advantages. Light weight enables them to be much more effective in patrol and interception roles that military, police and customs officers need when tackling pirates, drug runners and the like, while the nonmetallic nature of these materials makes the vessels more difficult to detect using conventional technology and less vulnerable to mines. Similarly, with aircraft, there is a direct correlation between weight and effectiveness – fuel, speed, efficiency and agility. So modern advanced materials can ensure high levels of ballistic protection but without the compromise of poor performance. But isn’t just in military applications that ballistic protective armor will be needed. Police forces today face criminals who are ever better armed,

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

and civil disorder events that can verge on battlefield conditions. Speaking of the new materials in action, Commander Rosso of the French National Police said: “the new material was extensively tested by the French National police against a wide range of threats for law enforcement officers. It passed all our stringent tests.”3 Police requirements for ballistic protective armor are often nearly the same as those for combat troops plus the police often need to carry ballistic shields in riot conditions and these, again, are much more effective when made of light but strong material. Beyond that, even prominent or key individuals today can face the kind of threats that require ballistic protective armor. From VIPs and celebrities through people in business and politics, many civilians are at potential risk of stabbing, shooting or worse. Modern armor enables them to wear protective garments that are not obtrusive and do not hinder them going about their business. The same materials make possible the armoring of the vehicles in which they travel.

Standards To deal with these evolving threats, the ballistic resistance standards required for body armor have been regularly upgraded to the current level of NIJ06. To be compliant body armor and the materials with which it is constructed must be able to demonstrate resilience against five levels of ballistic threat (different grades of firearm and ammunition – go to

http://www.nij.gov/topics/technology/ body-armor/compliant-ballistic-armor.htm for full details) including higher ballistic velocities than were previously the case to reflect the enhanced power of modern weapons. It must also be able to resist multiple shots at 2 inch shot to shot spacing and within 2 inches of the edge of the armor. Manufacturers will have to submit two different sizes of clothing for testing at the extremes of the size range and the new standard requires test panels to be fully immersed vertically in a water bath at 70°F for 30 minutes. A new environmental conditions test will require all test items to be tumbled for 72,000 cycles over a ten-day period at 149°F at 80% relative humidity prior to the actual ballistic testing. The new NIJ standard 0101.06 requires that for P-BFS testing each panel must be shot with one hit at 30° and another hit at 45° angles. It also requires hard armor to be tested with uniformed thermal exposure (10 days of uniform thermal exposure at 149°F (65°C) and 80% relative humidity) and thermal cycling (1 day of thermal exposure cycling from 5°F (-15°C) to 194°F (90°C) from 0% to 50% relative humidity as well as a mechanical durability test (armor drop test) for which each hard armor plate must be submerged in water and tested wet. The continually increasing nature and lethality of threats mean that these latest developments can never be final. Ballistic protective armor, if it is to be effective, will always have to evolve with the times.

Today’s threats arise faster than ever. Help your people stay ahead of them. Our armor solutions keep everyone moving. Dyneema® delivers lightweight, combat-proven protection against current and emergent threats for vehicles and body armor. For more information, please visit www.lifeprotection.dyneema.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

Balance Not Compromise Peter Dunwell, Staff Writer

Using armor to strengthen the protection of vital functions in transportation vehicles need not mean weakening something else

Current military campaigns have made the public aware of the needs to protect wheeled and tracked vehicles but the payload/ accommodation area, propulsive power, and communications of aircraft, ships and boats must also be protected.

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t’s called survival; that need to perform under threat conditions whatever mission, task or function is required, and then to return unscathed. What most readily springs to mind is warfare but there are plenty of other circumstances in which protection is required. However, whether in a military or civilian context, the need to protect against attack is usually part of a delicate balance, an equation that weighs threat protection against mobility or agility, weight or payload and performance or efficiency. This balance is nowhere more apparent than in transportation – the design and build of transport and fighting vehicles.

A Balancing Act There are all too many conditions in which transportation has to be protected against ballistic threats, not least the needs for fighting forces to operate in hostile conditions where threats from ordnance and explosives (blast and fragments) are a daily challenge. Current military campaigns have made the public aware of the needs to protect wheeled and tracked vehicles but the payload/accommodation area, propulsive power, and communications of aircraft, ships and boats must also be protected to operate effectively. It is a balancing act. In the past, protection against ballistic penetration and explosion came at the price of considerable additional weight which, in turn, limited range, mobility, payload and operational performance. That would be wholly unsuited to today’s asymmetric threat environments of insurgencies, guerrilla campaigns and concealed IEDs (improvised explosive devices). Protection has to be effective and yet not, itself, be a burden. It mustn’t compromise mobility because the ability to operate in a variety of terrains or conditions and to react rapidly to challenges and threats will often depend on the vehicle’s mobility and speed. Even in civilian contexts, such as the need to protect crews sailing through waters where pirates may be operating: effectively protecting the crew not only makes them safer but also improves their chances of resisting attack and sailing on to deliver their cargo.

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Something Has to Give The more weight that armor adds to a vehicle, the less payload it can carry… supplies, people or weaponry and munitions. In the military context, this also affects effectiveness, inasmuch as facing a multiplicity of threats requires a range of weapons: limited payload means a limited choice of weapons. Further contribution to a non-fighting vehicle’s ability to evade attack or escape threat is performance: in a military context, performance will impact on fighting effectiveness both in terms of the intensity with which an attack or defense can be mounted and in the duration of any effective operational capability. So if armor has to be heavy in order to offer a reasonable level of protection, it might end up compromising performance. There are many capabilities that have to be balanced against the protective strength of armor when that protective strength is a function of weight and, unfortunately, in this context, balance can mean compromise; and compromise can mean less than optimum levels of performance in all areas.

Engineering with Advanced Materials Fortunately, just as technological advances have sharpened the nature and violence of threats, advances in materials technology have massively improved the quality, weight and utility of armor and ballistic protection. Even when armor was made from metal, designers tried to incorporate as much flexibility as possible with jointed parts such as in the suits of armor on display in museums and castles. Inevitably, metal armor, whether personal or used on a vehicle, restricted performance in the areas already covered above. Design tended to be governed within constraints imposed by the material: hence, as above, to compensate for the material’s rigidity, joints were incorporated but they, in turn, became weak points. A revolutionary development was the arrival of Kevlar, a woven synthetic material using aramid fibers, notable for their heat resistance and strength: Kevlar fiber, five


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

times stronger than steel and naturally flame resistant, revolutionized armor when it arrived in 1965. But even this synthetic material has its limitations and while a new version of the material was announced in 2010, there have been further advanced materials developments in the intervening years. One of the more notable developments in the field of ballistic protection armor has been long chain ‘ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene’ (UMHWPE) developed in the 1950s and commercialized in the late 1970s, which can be either woven or directly pressed to suit the application and manufacturing process. The material has strength to weight ratio (depending on format) of between 10 and 100 times that of steel and some 40% more than that for materials using aramid fibers. This means that design can focus more on function and protection and less on constraints in the properties of the materials. It also means that skills from non-traditional sources can be leveraged to incorporate the latest material developments in military vehicles – the motorsport industry, which has a highly developed materials engineering capability blending design with materials to create ultra-strong impact resistant structures, is a contributor of growing importance to the defense manufacturing sector.

This means that design can focus more on function and protection and less on constraints in the properties of the materials. It also means that skills from non-traditional sources can be leveraged to incorporate the latest material developments.

Our armor solutions keep everyone moving. Dyneema® delivers lightweight, combat-proven protection against current and emergent threats for vehicles and body armor.

Less Need for Compromise One great advantage of these modern materials is their light weight, making possible the design and production of faster and more agile vehicles (wheeled, winged or afloat) which can carry larger payloads for a given vehicle size. Even small vehicles made from modern advanced materials have exceptionally high levels of ballistic stopping power and, of course, lighter weight means lower fuel consumption per payload unit. Also, synthetic materials such as UMHWPEs are more resistant to climatic stress (they don’t rust) and more

Today’s threats arise faster than ever. Help your people stay ahead of them.

resilient than their metal counterparts. And because they are, to all intents and purposes, plastic, repairs are easy to carry out. Provision of protection against ballistic penetration still has to be balanced against other performance factors but with modern materials such as UMHWPEs, that balance no longer needs to be a compromise.

For more information, please visit www.lifeprotection.dyneema.com

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SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

Developing Solutions to Meet Evolving Challenges John Hancock

Trends and developments in ballistic protection armor solutions: the next generation and what the future holds

The key has been to develop materials that can be used in armor on three positive levels; weight, flexibility of material and flexibility of application. In this there are two basic formulae… hard and soft ballistic solutions.

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o sooner are ways developed to tackle, deflect or repel threats, those who would threaten, find new ways to attack their targets. As importantly, they also find new levels on which to attack their targets and even identify new, weaker or more vulnerable targets to attack. Whereas, once the people most in need of armored protection against ballistic attack were military personnel, today, those who would threaten society regard civil police and even civilians as legitimate targets. This change of emphasis and increase in the universe of potential targets has thrown down the gauntlet for protection solutions. The challenge is how to protect the broadest possible group against attack while going about their lives.

Meeting the Threat of the Day So, how have ballistic armor protection providers responded to these changes and what will they be doing to ensure that they can supply new equipment appropriate to new and emerging threats? The first part is easier to answer as it is mainly a matter of record and history. The second part is more complex: how can providers offer a new generation of protective solutions when they may not as yet know the threats against which they’ll need to protect? One answer lays in the breadth of capabilities of materials being developed and improved today, i.e. the more tasks for which they can be configured, the more likely they can be configured to meet as yet unknown threats. The key has been to develop materials that can be used in armor on three positive levels; weight, flexibility of material and flexibility of application. In this there are two basic formulae… hard and soft ballistic solutions. ‘Hard ballistic solutions’ are what we traditionally regard as armor – rigid plates of resistant material added to or inserted in the structure to be protected. While this may well be appropriate for applications where the carrier itself has no need to flex, it is an encumbrance where movement needs flexibility, i.e. people and animals. With ‘soft ballistic solutions’ the

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protective layer is in a woven form so that it can be incorporated in or even used to produce wearable protection such as bullet proof and stab proof vests. This increases the effectiveness of the wearer in several ways: they are relatively safer; that relative safety allows a wider choice of actions and, because this form of armor is usually lighter, they are less likely to suffer fatigue.

Protecting People In a military context, the benefits are fairly clear. Service personnel have been facing the threats of bullets and shrapnel from shell-fire for several centuries and the threat from stabbing for even longer. However, today’s asymmetric warfare has seen insurgents and terrorists resorting to weapons that can be activated remotely or that can be set to activate when a target comes near. The best documented is the buried or roadside bomb, or IED (improvised explosive device). But any protection available for service personnel must not create new vulnerabilities as a result of encumbering or restricting the wearers’ movements or capability. Usually, a combination of soft solutions used to produce vests, shorts, flak jackets and leggings with hard solutions for helmets and plates to offer extra protection to vulnerable body parts such as the groin or heart are used to protect against these modern threats. As Colonel Peter Rafferty, Personal Combat Equipment Team Leader at Defence Equipment and Support in the UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) put it: “Our troops… face specific threats and, by working together, the MoD and industry have created a layered system of clothing and body armour that offers troops fighting on the front line the best balance between protection, mobility and comfort”4

Protecting Equipment In a similar way, new approaches to vehicle armoring have evolved to deal with new threats in different ways. For instance, a vehicle such as the


SPECIAL REPORT: NEXT GENERATION BALLISTIC PROTECTION ARMOR

British Army’s Foxhound combines modern levels of plate armor with smart design – the vehicle has a ‘V’ shaped hull to deflect blast from below to the sides and thus protect the floor area from the full force of an explosion: it can also drive away on only three wheels in order to fully exploit its resilience. As part of the ‘smart’ approach, the MoD worked with nontraditional partners such as the UK’s world-leading motorsport industry and its advanced engineering supply chain. Announcing the second order of Foxhounds for the British Army, UK Defence Secretary, Phillip Hammond said it would, “provide our armed forces with a highly protected and agile vehicle…”5

Not Just a Military Threat Another fact of modern life is that law officers (police, customs, etc.) are increasingly subject to armed attack – firearms and knives or even swords – as criminals become more violent and as riots straddle a fine line between criminal activity and terrorism. While individual officers must be protected, in most advanced societies police operate with the consent of the public and that would be jeopardized were they to present too overt a paramilitary image. Additionally, they need to be able to pursue offenders, so weight is also a factor. Once again, advances in materials, such as UMHWPE (ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene) and aramid fibers, combined with smart design that deploys appropriate materials where they will be of most use – for instance, police riot armor often incorporates fire retardant elements and helmets incorporate breathing apparatus to protect against gas – means that the technology of protection keeps wearers safe against new threats. Perhaps worst of all is that ordinary citizens going about their lives can be subject to attack. Of course, it would be impractical

for us all to go about wearing body armor but for those identified as at risk – VIPs, politicians, business leaders, outspoken critics of some regimes and low risk security personnel – some protection is prudent. Sometimes this will be incorporated or inserted into attire, at other times it might be built into a vehicle; on civil aircraft, it may be used to armor the door to the flight deck, but, again, it should not draw attention and so modern advanced materials are essential in this sector.

Looking Forward So what does the future hold? There is almost certainly more development potential in materials such as aramid fibers and UMHWPEs, as materials engineering finds better ways to leverage their strengths. There are also even more futuristic materials under development such as ‘elastic smoke’ a simple and ingenious idea from a team at Cambridge University, England. Dr Alan Windle from the team describes, “particles of carbon that are like smoke. But because the carbon nanotubes [that make up the material] are entangled, the smoke… is elastic. [and can be] stretched and turned into a very strong, lightweight and elastic ballistic grade… material...”6 Sadly, it seems likely that violent threats will continue to evolve or be developed to try and exploit weaknesses in defenses: so armor will also need to continually develop in order to counter those threats and the quality and utility of materials will be an increasing part of that development process.

Today’s threats arise faster than ever. Help your people stay ahead of them. Our armor solutions keep everyone moving. Dyneema® delivers lightweight, combat-proven protection against current and emergent threats for vehicles and body armor. For more information, please visit www.lifeprotection.dyneema.com

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References: 1

 ‘Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) Vehicle Program’. GlobalSecurity.org at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/ground/mrap-req.htm

2

Marc Edwards, president of TenCate Advanced Armor USA Inc. in the September 2011 edition of SOTECH

3

 Commander Mr. Rosso, Bureau of Weapons and Technical Materials (BAMT) French National Police. Quoted on Dyneema website at http://www.dyneema.com/en_US/public/dyneema/page/segment/LifeProtection.jsp

4

 MoD ‘Defence News’ Equipment and Logistics article 17 December 2010 at http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/EquipmentAndLogistics/ModIntroducesPelvicProtectionForFrontLineTroops.htm

5

 MoD ‘Defence News’ Equipment and Logistics article 22 December 2011 at http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/EquipmentAndLogistics/400mEquipmentPackageForTroopsInAfghanistanAnnounced.htm

6

David Crane in Defense Review November 8, 2007 http://www.defensereview.com/future-body-armor-is-nanotech-ballistic-fiber-the-next-step/

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Special Report – Next Generation Ballistic Protection Armor  

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Defence Industry – Special Report on Next Generation Ballistic Protection Armor