Lightweight vehicle protection with Dyneema®

A LinkedIn article previously published by Hans Meulman, Sr. Technical Application Manager, Personal Protection.

All around the world, military service personnel have been pushing for high performing ballistic solutions for both personal and vehicle armor. In Europe, the trend towards lightweight vehicle armor has been further amplified by several Ministries of Defense due to warfare in places like Iraq, Afghanistan and Mali.

In theatre, protection is needed against a wide and varying range of threats, while keeping total weight as low as possible, which has resulted in the increased use of Dyneema® to armor military vehicles. Dyneema® UD material is a composite, unidirectional (UD) laminate that offers excellent energy absorption and enhanced protection in a lightweight solution.

Traditional vehicle armor concepts were previously made entirely of steel; however, Dyneema® is proven to provide unprecedented protection against high velocity threats. In fact, Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™, is 15x stronger than steel on a weight-per-weight basis. In vehicle armor applications, Dyneema® provides  enhanced ballistic stopping power at minimal weights – allowing armed service personnel to increase protection while simultaneously reducing the overall load on the vehicle.  

As the Senior Technical Applications Manager for DSM, I’ve been able to witness the unmatched performance of Dyneema® firsthand. This was first demonstrated in testing with the 20 mm FSP and further extended after a range of studies on the influence of high temperatures and aging on the ballistic performance of armor made with Dyneema®. In testing of soft armor vests, Dyneema® maintained its robust levels of performance and protection even after conditioning above +90°C.

A study published by DSM on the aging of ballistic resistant articles further supported the above findings for materials over 10 years; and I, personally, completed the original certification testing on vest parts that were 17 years old. Additionally, DSM has committed to testing various Dyneema® products for standards used as basic requirements for armored vehicles, including STANAG 4569, EN1522/23, NIJ 0108.0 and VPAM BRV.

With Dyneema®, the weight of armored vehicle panels can be cut in half for certain threats, including strict multi-hit requirements at high temperatures. In the instance that steel and/or ceramics have to be used to provide protection against AP bullets, significant weight reduction can still be obtained with the integration of Dyneema®. New developments are on the way to market, further expanding the options for our armor manufacturing partners to design high-performing, lightweight ballistic armor solutions. These enhancements will allow users of armored vehicles to expand their payload and drive more agile vehicles with the peace of mind that only comes from the proven performance and protection of Dyneema®.

Over the years, thousands of vehicles have been armored with Dyneema®. According to feedback from various military institutes and global organizations, those same fielded armor concepts have resulted in the protection of countless lives from aggressive threats in demanding environments. As new ballistic threats emerge, DSM has the resources and expertise necessary to continually innovate our product portfolio to help protect those who protect us.

Are you interested in learning more about how DSM can help with your vehicle protection needs? If so, please contact me directly.

Hans Meulman
Senior ADTS Manager
Hans.Meulman@dsm.com

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