Honeywell Advanced Fibers and Composites (Morris Township, N.J.) reported on Oct. 22, 2012, that The Protective Group Inc. (TPG, Miami Lakes, Fla.), a leading developer and integrator of lightweight composite armor for military aircraft, is incorporating Spectra Shield ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fiber into armor upgrades for U.S. Army UH60 Black Hawk and CH47 Chinook helicopters.
"Spectra Shield material provides an ideal combination of proven ballistic performance and light weight, which is critical for applications ranging from body armor to aircraft," said Roy Ash, global marketing manager for Honeywell's Advanced Fibers and Composites business. "Armor that uses Spectra Shield material provides a superior level of protection for helicopters and the personnel inside, while the material's lighter weight will allow the aircraft to carry heavier loads and save fuel."
The new TPG solution is expected to reduce armor weight on the Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters by as much as 40 percent compared with rotorcraft currently in service. TPG expects to upgrade armor on approximately 200 Chinooks during the next four years under contract to the U.S. Army, and is also working to meet the needs of the Black Hawk community.
TPG is said to be an industry leader in developing survivability solutions for aviation platforms and is the manufacturer of helicopter ballistic protection systems for the U.S. Army's Special Forces and an increasingly large percentage of the U.S. military's helicopter fleet.
"Honeywell's materials and expertise enabled us to deliver design solutions that meet the demanding specifications set out by the U.S. Army," said Michael Breslin, executive VP of business development for TPG. "The proven performance of Spectra Shield materials in military applications made it a superior choice for this integrated solution."
Spectra Shield is a composite material made with Spectra fiber, an ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene fiber that, pound for pound, is, accordign to Honeywell, 15 times stronger than steel, yet light enough to remain bouyant in water.
Honeywell's patented Shield technology features unidirectional tapes of UHMWPE fiber pre-impregnated with a matrix resin. Layers of the material are then cross-plied at right angles and compression molded to final shape.
Honeywell maintains an active Spectra fiber and ballistic materials research and development program focused on meeting increased demand for its high-performance materials. Spectra fiber is also used in a wide variety of industrial and recreational applications, including rope and lifting slings, mooring lines, fishing line, sail cloth and security netting.
For more information, visit www.honeywell.com/spectra.