Lightweight Kinetic Energy Net (KEN) Structural Armor for Airborne Applications

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    Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) is developing a new Kinetic Energy Net (KEN) armor concept for military rotorcraft and aircraft, which could also find application in future combat vehicles. In April 2010 the company has won a US$1.5 Million from the U.S. Army Applied Aviation Technology Directorate to continue continue development of the KEN armor design.

    KEN is a modular, lightweight composite armor system offering high protection weight levels lighter than current aircraft armor. One of the advantages of KEN is its integration into the aircraft structure, instead of attaching plates to the fuselage. By applying advanced ballistic materials and experimental strike faces, current KEN applications save about 13 percent of weight, compared to advanced ceramic and composite armor designs. Lockheed Martin’s goal is to achieve further weight reduction up to 40 percent in the next phase of development, without losing protective capability.

    The company’s Missiles and Fire Control division also develops the TekShield – a unique ceramic design claimed to be superior and lighter than legacy ceramic armor. TekShield provides a balanced protection from blast and ballistic threats, including high speed projectiles and fragments. This new armor technology is scalable to meet specific threats, from small caliber rifles and mid-range cannons to IEDs and other explosive devices.