Armor systems made with Dyneema® mitigate threats faced by service members in Eastern Europe

A LinkedIn article previously published by Piotr Dargacz, Application Development & Technical Services Manager, Personal Protection.

For many years, military and law enforcement personnel in Eastern European countries have implemented low cost ballistic solutions, like thick steel and heavy ceramic plates, to protect against threats faced on the job. These threats, in principal, have not changed over the last century; however, new material innovations have pushed the region towards adopting lightweight solutions for both personal and vehicle armor applications.

Today, it is well observed by local authorities that composite solutions are able to reduce the overall weight and thickness of protective armor, without sacrificing ballistic performance. This extra payload can be used for additional equipment to improve blast protection or, in vehicle armor applications, to save on fuel costs – while further preventing transportation issues and sparing mechanical parts inside the vehicle. Over the life span of a vehicle of more than 10 years, these savings actually outweigh the initial cost of armoring a vehicle with low cost alternatives. 

Beyond vehicle protection, Eastern European law enforcement personnel remain concerned about 7.62 x 25 mm Tokarev projectiles, despite the fact that 9 mm pistols are the current police standard. This particular threat is difficult to stop, especially in extreme conditions, due to its pointed nose construction and small diameter. Historically, the 7.62 x 25 mm Tokarev projectile has been produced in multiple factories throughout Warsaw Pact countries, resulting in a variety of penetration capabilities.

Since DSM first introduced Dyneema® unidirectional (UD) material to the market in the mid-nineties, it has been recognized as a key product for designing lightweight armor to protect against very demanding ballistic threats, such as the Tokarev projectile. Therefore, it is no surprise that one of the most commonly used calibers has been 7.62 mm (7.62 x 25 mm for handguns and 7.62 x 39 & 7.62 x 51 for rifles) to verify the performance of ballistic armor made with Dyneema®.   

The lightweight, high-strength performance of Dyneema® UD means less material is needed – when compared to competitive alternatives – to achieve the same level of ballistic protection; providing robust resistance against Tokarev and Kalashnikov bullets. One of the many indicators of the material’s overall ballistic stopping power.

As the Application Development & Technical Services Manager for DSM in EMEA, I advise customers and end-users to use Dyneema® soft ballistic (SB) products as a base material to mitigate against this particular threat. I have, personally, tested multiple Tokarev Lead Core rounds from different manufacturing facilities and, each time, saw stable material performance. This has not only been observed with internal testing at DSM’s Tech Center in Heerlen, The Netherlands, but also validated externally at VTU in Slavicin, Czech Republic, and Moratex in Łódź, Poland.

In addition, with a package made of Dyneema® soft ballistic material, the incoming Tokarev LC projectiles are defeated for normal impact, and at 30˚ obliquity. Additional requirements at small distances between two shots or impacts located close to an edge can also be met easily. All of these properties further come together with a high resistance against fragments, which leads to a flexible, lightweight vest for military and law enforcement personnel.

Not to be overlooked, and probably the most impressive validation of performance, is the ability for Dyneema® to stop 7.62 × 39 mm AK47 Mild Steel Core (AK47 MSC) projectiles without the use of  steel or ceramic backing. This continues to be a leading threat in modern warfare and can be easily mitigated using Dyneema® Force Multiplier Technology. In fact, Dyneema® hard ballistic (HB) product grades allow body armor manufacturers to produce ballistic plates weighing approximately 1 kg (25x30 cm insert).

As new and emerging threats enter Europe, DSM has a broad product portfolio and application database to help design lightweight armor systems to protect those who protect us. From rifle threats, 20 mm FSP or additional spall-liner systems – DSM and other industry leaders, like the Polish Military Institute of Armament Technology, have successfully tested Dyneema® against standard and overmatched threats, as well as for post impact toxicity.

Are you interested in learning more about how Dyneema® can provide higher-performing, lightweight  ballistic solutions? If so, please contact me directly or visit DSM’s booth at MSPO September 7-10 in Kielce, Poland.

Piotr Dargacz
Application Development & Technical Services Manager
DSM
Piotr.Dargacz@dsm.com

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