Vehicle armoring has been a major concern for many armies, which participate in the war on terror and specifically the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. These armies are utilizing various means of protection, including conventional armor plating for heavy vehicles (such as trucks and engineering vehicles). Lightweight vehicles require more advanced, lightweight armor to protect against small arms fire, improvised explosive devices (IED), mines and RPGs. Effective countermeasures against the later requires heavier or reactive armor, or special active protection systems which are currently under development.
Protection of static positions such as checkpoints, observation posts, and inspection sites presents a major challenge. In these applications, specially designed pre-fabricated structures can be used, where advanced materials are employed to minimize the risk of attack without degrading the effectiveness and performance of the facility. Such structures can be constructed from a combination of reinforced concrete, steel, composite materials, and blast mitigation structures. Examples of such structures are BAM-1A wall panels, which can be used for add-on protection for existing buildings. The material offers various levels of anti-ballistic protection, blast and forced entry protection. BAM is manufactured by ASAP Inc. Protected positions can also be constructed from Rapid Armored Shelter System (RASS), or Personel Balistic Shield produced by Plasan Sasa, which can be used as a personal shield by an individual soldier, or, when combined together – as a protection of a forward medical point, machine gun firing post, or even makeshift protection for an unarmored vehicle.
A different method of rapid deployment force protection is utilized by the German Army – which will soon field container sized protected structures produced by EADS, which are designed to support German Army out-of-area deployments on peacekeeping missions. IBD from Germany is developing a mobile version of a protected container, which uses the company’s advanced AMAP composite armor, formed into a cylindrical, sealed and highly protected compartment in which troops, medical teams or sensitive supplies such as explosives or ammunition can be transported through hot zones, in relative safety.
Prefabricated armored structures offer augmented protection for fixed and vulnerable facilities, such as checkpoints, observation posts and guards positions etc. Such structures use blast mitigation structures, as well as steel meshes, to activate RPGs and AT missiles before they strike the surface. When weight is a consideration, composite armor can also be used. When the threat of anti-tank missiles is high, IR countermeasures can be applied selectively – including laser dazzlers, infrared countermeasures etc.
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