The U.S. Army has ordered 829 rocket-propelled grenade RPG Net kits for the MaxxPro Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle. In February 2011 the Army (TACOM) awarded Navistar Defense a $40 million contract to supply the kits designed to augment the MaxxPro MRAP vehicle protection, improving its effectiveness in defeating RPG attack. The RPG Net, developed by QinetiQ North America, has been developed to defeat RPGs by disrupting their fusing mechanism as the incoming rocket is trapped by the net.

A Rosomak M1 (Patria AMV) of the Polish Army in Afghanistan, equipped with RPG Net offering RPG protection. Photo: Polish Ministry of National Defence

The RPG Net provides a lightweight solution used as an add-on protection on top of existing armor. It can be used to protect the entire vehicle, or apply on specific locations where other types of armor are less effective. Navistar is expected to deliver the kits by the end of July 2011.

Net/ mesh protection against RPGs is not a new concept, in fact it was tried and tested since the invention of the shaped charge anti-tank warhead in the second world war. It was used during by the U.S. Army and Marines during the Vietnam War and even as  makeshift protection measures by some of teh forces deployed to Afghanistan. Two concept are currently offered – the wire-mesh SidePro made by the Swiss company RUAG and the RPG Net, manufactured of ultra-strong net made of composite materials, offering low-weight and effective protection against RPG. The RPG net has already been employed on the Polish AMV Rosomak M1 deployed in Afghanistan. The  current order for the Maxxpro MRAP is the first use of the RPG net on this type of vehicle which has sofar employed only bar (slat) armor solutions.

The British forces are also expecting to receive a similar armor by the summer of 2011, following an order for the QuickShield quick-repair armor for its armored vehicles.

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