Composite armor developments: AGY and Plasan Sasa

Plasan Sasa (Kibbutz Sasa, Israel) reported on Jan. 10 that it will supply advanced critical MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush-protected) vehicle protection for an additional 1,500 armored vehicles to U.S. firm International Military and Government LLC (a subsidiary of International Truck and Engine Corp., Warrenville,

Plasan Sasa (Kibbutz Sasa, Israel) reported on Jan. 10 that it will supply advanced critical MRAP (mine-resistant, ambush-protected) vehicle protection for an additional 1,500 armored vehicles to U.S. firm International Military and Government LLC (a subsidiary of International Truck and Engine Corp., Warrenville, Ill.). The armored vehicles are to be delivered by the end of July. According to Plasan Sasa, the contract is worth more than $200 million (USD).

This deal continues and builds on a June 2007 order for 1,200 units awarded by the U.S. military to International and Plasan. “This second order reinforces and affirms the high level of satisfaction by the client, and it helps to secure Plasan’s position as a world leader in ballistic protection,” says Plasan’s CEO Dani Ziv.

The ballistic protection solutions that Plasan will provide the Marines under this expanded order build on those already provided to the U.S. military, to the defense and security forces of Israel, and to others worldwide. Plasan Sasa develops, manufactures and assembles add-on armor protection kits (APKs) for lightweight military tactical truck and wheeled vehicles, fixed and rotary wing aircraft and commercial vehicles, as well as personal protection armor.

Elsewhere, glass fiber supplier AGY (Aiken, S.C.) announced on Jan. 27 its role in an innovative ballistic and blast protection solution called the ThermoBallistic armor system, a response to what AGY says is an increased demand for composite armor solutions around the world.

Targeted for the European market, ThermoBallistic laminates, produced by Polystrand (Montrose, Colo.), combine AGY’s trademarked continuous structural S-2 Glass, E-glass and/or aramid fibers to form X-ply sheets or unidirectional tapes that can be molded by AGY customers to create ballistic and blast protection solutions for end-users. Potential applications include armored vehicle spall liners, for which the low areal density and thermoformability of the material are reportedly well-suited.

“A spall liner can reduce the amount and limit the path of the lethal particles that penetrate the vehicle’s hull when the armor is penetrated,” explains Drew Walker, AGY’s VP of sales and marketing. “There is an urgent demand for materials that provide increased performance and lighter weight.”

Key features of the composite armor system include superior energy management at low areal density, fast processing via thermoforming as well as corrosion- and water-resistance.

To meet military demand for the ThermoBallistic product, AGY has increased production capacity of its S-2 Glass fiber by 50 percent, with the capability of expanding more. “With this significant increase in output we can stay ahead of S-2 glass reinforcement demand,” adds Walker.