Defense

October 4, 2013

Army develops lightweight ballistic protection for aircraft

Tags:
Heather R. Smith
Redstone Arsenal, Ala.

The Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center Prototype Integration Facility designed, qualified, fabricated and installed a prototype of an enhanced Ballistic Protection System for the cabin of the UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft.

Army tactics and training are constantly changing to meet the threat on the battlefield, and one such example is the attack helicopter.

Originally the AH-1 Cobras were designed to arrive on station quickly, eliminate the threat, and move on to the next target. But in today’s battlefield, attack helicopters like the AH-64 Apaches are providing air support to ground convoys, and often hovering over convoys to eliminate any sign of threats.

These combat operations result in increased exposure to enemy ground fire and increased need for ballistic protection systems, and the Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center’s Prototype Integration Facility, or PIF, has developed that expertise.

Ballistic Protection Systems, or BPS, typically consist of materials and techniques used to shelter personnel and materiel against projectiles. PIF Program Management Supervisor Jeff Carr said thick, heavy, dense material has historically been used for armor, so a major challenge for aviation is to provide ballistic protection in the lightest, most compact means possible.

The PIF has a history of installing traditional armor on ground vehicles including the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS. Although armor steel is a very effective BPS, it is extremely heavy. The cab armor on the HIMARS weighs approximately 2,500 pounds.

Carr said changes in how the Army fights have challenged the Army to effectively employ lighter-weight armor systems in aircraft while maintaining or increasing the ability to withstand advanced ground fire. Advances in light-weight composites have allowed the Army to begin the integration of new lighter weight Ballistic Protection Systems.

The PIF designed and integrated a BPS for a tactical variant of the Bell 407 aircraft. The Iraqi Armed 407 was an aircraft produced by the PIF and commissioned by the Department of State for the Iraqi government. This effort was particularly challenging due to space constraints associated with the small commercial-to-military converted aircraft. The installed system provides protection for the cockpit floor and crew seats.

Lightweight ballistic armor is also being designed, qualified, fabricated and installed by the PIF on the CH-47 Chinook, and UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft.

The current Chinook BPS system offers protection against small arms fire and weighs 3,500 pounds. The PIF was able to take advantage of advances in light-weight composite material and to reduce the weight of the original BPS by 2,000 pounds. The new BPS offers additional protection to both the pilot and cargo areas.

Also integrated into the CH-47D/F is a floor kit, a passenger vertical kit, and a Multi-Impact Transparent Armor System for windows, which allows normal operations while reducing ballistic intrusion.

The PIF-enhanced BPS for the Black Hawk will reduce the weight of the current BPS system by 500 pounds. The PIF will also deliver a Technical Data Package to the UH-60 Program Management Office, which will allow industry to compete for future BPS acquisitions.

“The PIF continues to design, develop, and install new and improved ballistic protection on aviation and ground systems,” Carr said, “Their design capabilities, machine shop and advanced composites lab provide an extraordinary capability to create custom formed material BPS.”

Editorís note: Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center is part of the U.S. Army Research, Development and Engineering Command, which has the mission to develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s soldiers.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines January 30, 2015

News: Taliban claims responsibility for attack on Americans at military base near airport - The Taliban claimed responsibility Jan. 30 for a shooting incident at a military base attached to Kabul’s international airport yesterday that killed three American civilian contractors and an Afghan national, saying the attacker had infiltrated the ranks of the security forces. Commission...
 
 

News Briefs January 30, 2015

Military judge weighs restrictions on Gitmo female guards A military judge is deciding whether to continue restricting the use of female guards at Guantanamo. Navy Capt. J. Kirk Waits heard closing arguments Jan. 29 at the base in Cuba during a pretrial hearing for Abd al-Hadi al-Iraqi. Waits didn’t say when he will rule. Hadi...
 
 
Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Jake Bailey

Cope South experts exchange knowledge, techniques

Air Force photograph by 1st Lt. Jake Bailey TSgt. Sam Bishop, center left, and SSgt. Jeffrey Stephens discuss propeller maintenance with Bangladesh air force maintainers, from the 101st Special Flying Unit, during exercise Cope...
 

 

Air Force names 2-star to lead F-35 Integration Office

With the initial operating capability date of the F-35 Lightning II quickly approaching, the Air Force appointed Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Harrigian as the director of a larger Air Force F-35 Integration Office, Feb. 1. In addition to gaining new leadership, the F-35 Integration Office will also grow from a staff of four to 12 and...
 
 
boeing-ana2

Boeing announces ANA’s commitment to more jetliners

Airline continues fleet modernization with Boeing airplanes Boeing and All Nippon Airways announced Jan. 30 the airline’s intent to purchase three 787-10 Dreamliners to add additional flexibility to the airline’s 787 fleet....
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

Air Force risks becoming too small to succeed under sequestration

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark A. Welsh III testifies before the Senate Armed Services Committee Jan. 28, 2015, in Washington, D.C., as Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Joesph F. Dunf...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>