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Stratified Hard Armour Composite, or SHArC, is a novel application of composite materials for ballistic protection.
Following on from filing for patent protection Naba TCS this week conducted a private test on a small sample. Richard McAinsh Technical Head of Naba TCS commented, ‘Last year I had the opportunity to talk with US soldiers just back from a tour of duty in Iraq. On returning to Europe I started thinking how Naba TCS motor sport engineering experience, and the materials we had access to from F1 could be applied to easing the main concern of all the troops we spoke to. That concern was focussed on the protection afforded by the vehicle skins in which they were riding.’
Coming from motor sport is a bit left field from conventional armour suppliers so Naba TCS went into the project with no preconceptions; but with no track record had to finance the conceptual design and samples manufacture themselves.
‘It was hoped to test prior to JEC but this was delayed which may have been in our favour. JEC gave us the opportunity to present the concept to several people with much greater experience of composite armour solutions. It was well received and even prior to testing the comments made clearly indicated a development path.’ On the testing Richard says, ‘personally I was a little disappointed with the results at first. I had set some very high goals for what we wanted to achieve. However factoring in our inexperience and the advice received at JEC I am pretty happy. The behaviour was well predicted. I believe if you can understand why things happen the steps needed to improve performance are also clear.’
The SHArC concept allows for the integration of a transparency in an armoured panel removing the requirement for heavy framing and vulnerable joint lines. Complex curvature similar to that achieved for conventional composite structures can be made. This allows the armour to be given a dual function as vehicle structure. Surface features can easily be incorporated to act as topological barriers to a projectile causing it to deflect or tumble as it hits the strike face. Different strata can be tailored to different threats using the same tooling.
Naba TCS are now talking to potential investors and industrial partners interested in licensing the concept and supporting further development. At the same time they are applying their design expertise on a SHArC armoured monocoque vehicle concept for rapid pursuit or convoy protection; ‘something like a fighter escort for ground vehicles.’
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