After three decades of fighting an asymmetric war on terror, western armies are gearing to face different enemies. They no longer expect total battlespace dominance; but, lessons learned from the hybrid warfare they fought for decades become instrumental in developing new technologies and combat techniques to fight and win the future war. Warfare is changing in all domains, and the land battle is no exception. Far-reaching changes are evolving – the ability to strike targets from afar precisely, using fires over an extended range, or remotely controlled and autonomous systems that engage the enemy without risking the humans. Still, as the enemy also possesses such capabilities, survivability becomes as essential as firepower, enabling your forces to remain effective maneuver to win the fight.
Survivability is what Plasan NA brings to the table. “Plasan is more than an armor provider, as it supplies survivability and protection solutions for the military.” Plasan NA CEO John Cavedo told Defense-Update. “We approach survivability from different angles – our solutions touch vehicle design, crew placement, passenger seating, and the arrangement of structural parts and how they behave under explosion and through the blast. That’s what we do; we understand the dynamics, how the different threats interact with the vehicle, the ballistic characteristics of different armor solutions. Sometimes, a small change in design can dramatically improve survivability without adding weight to the platform.
Some solutions are produced by Plasan in house, while others are developed in cooperation with vehicle integrators and manufacturers. Plasan offers this expertise to vehicle manufacturers of all types – from supplying armor kits and parts to lightweight tactical vehicles produced in large volumes production to design of advanced protection solutions for armored fighting vehicles like the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle (OMFV), at the early stage of development and prototyping, engineering, manufacturing, and development stages. “Moving parts or seats by a few centimeters can result in much higher crew survivability to blast and ballistic threat, without adding an ounce to the vehicle weight,” Cavedo explained.
“With solutions ranging from STANAG 4586 Level 1 to 6 and higher, slat-fence – counter RPG armor, blast protection, and Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA), our solutions range beyond the ballistic protection, offering a layered survivability approach. As an international player in the survivability market, our cutting-edge technologies are positioned to address customers’ needs and requirements worldwide. Some of those needs are unique to a specific user, while others are valid across all customers.”
Advanced armor solutions are designed to face ever-increasing threat levels. These include ballistic protection, defeating 30 mm AP and higher, or countering RPGs with different statistical armor solutions. Plasan also integrates sensors to monitor the vehicle’s protection level and introduces an enhanced reactive armor (ERA) system known as Razor, elevating the protection of medium and light armored vehicles.
In developmental testing (TRL-6), Razor is positioned to protect current and future armored vehicles against advanced threat comprised of kinetic and shaped-charge warheads. Razor introduces a more efficient, lighter ERA installed on lighter (thinner) armor, thus reducing the total vehicle weight.
As armies are facing increased threats, Plasan also ups the ante with improved armor. “We have been working on armor solutions beyond Level 6+ over 2 years, and we have the know-how and technologies to simulate and test against those threats,” Cavedo added.
In 33 years, Plasan has evolved from a local Israeli armor provider to become a major provider of survivability and protection solutions to leading armored vehicles OEMs worldwide. US activity makes a substantial part of the company’s turnover. Through extensive cooperation and collaborative design with OEMs, Plasan has established Plasan North America (PNA) as its US operation. Initially, these activities include metal and composites fabrication. Recently PNA expanded to design and engineering capabilities and applied to obtain Special Security Access (SAA) authorization to work on US military programs. To support this activity, Plasan NA is increasing the number of employees, adding personnel in engineering and design functions.
PNA has also become a production facility on its own, as the company obtained manufacturing technology of the Hyrax, a light armored developed by Plasan Sasa. By manufacturing Hyrax in the USA, Plasan leverages the 50 percent US workshare requirement to comply with Israeli acquisitions with US Foreign Military Funding (FMF).