Honeywell announced Oct. 8 that its second-generation Spectra ShieldÆ ballistic material is being used to armor Foxhound vehicles, manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems Force Protection Europe, for the British Armed Forces. The vehicles are currently being shipped for use in Afghanistan.
The Spectra Shield materials are more than 50 percent lighter than traditional vehicle armor materials, making the vehicles easier to transport and maneuver. The improved agility of the vehicles can help them survive even the toughest missions.
“Honeywell’s state of the art materials play an integral role in the survivability of the Foxhound vehicles,” said Col. Nick Wills, Assistant Director Equipment Operations for the United Kingdom Army Headquarters. “Spectra Shield’s very low weight allows the Foxhound to be a very agile and survivable platform.”
The Foxhound with Honeywell’s Spectra Shield materials underwent more than 12 months of rigorous blast and mobility testing before being chosen by the United Kingdom Ministry of Defence. The protective qualities of Spectra Shield help the Foxhound significantly improve protection of personnel against roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices.
“Honeywell Spectra Shield lowers the overall vehicle weight of the Foxhound while improving the vehicle’s ability to withstand the increased threats seen in combat today,” said Tim Swinger, global business manager of Honeywell’s Advanced Fibers and Composites business. “The decrease in weight helps to decrease each vehicle’s maintenance and fuel costs, and can limit the number of re-supply trips through dangerous routes.”
For more than 20 years, Honeywell’s materials have been used in advanced armor systems for a wide range of ballistic protection and security applications ñ from bullet-resistant vests, breastplates, and helmets to combat vehicles and military aircraft ñ where lightweight solutions and durability are critical. Honeywell ballistic materials protect men and women who serve in militaries and law enforcement agencies around the world.
Honeywell’s patented Spectra Shield products are manufactured by bonding parallel strands of fiber in place with an advanced resin system. In addition to SpectraÆ fiber, Honeywell adapts this technology to other fibers.
Spectra fiber is made from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene using a patented gel-spinning process. The fiber exhibits high resistance to chemicals, water, and ultraviolet light. It has excellent vibration damping, flex fatigue and internal fiber-friction characteristics. It also has up to 60 percent greater specific strength than aramid fiber.
In addition to armor, Spectra fiber also can be used for high-performance marine applications such as lifting and mooring lines, industrial slings and security netting, as well as for novel curtains used to protect windows and doors during hurricanes.
Honeywell maintains an active Spectra fiber and ballistic material research and development program aimed to meet increased demand for its high performance armor materials.