Armour for Armour

Being rather sad I often take a joyful romp through the defence related EU tender journals and occasionally something pops out that looks interesting.

The Transparent Armour Protection System (TRAPS) is required by the Protected Mobility Team

The UK MoD has a UOR requirement for a Transparent Armour Protection System (TAPS). The system solution shall afford protection against the Stone Threat in Afghanistan for various military vehicles. Any proposed solutions shall be robustly scored against the following KURs:

The system shall not prevent safe operation of the vehicle through reduced visibility.

The system shall protect the windscreen from 3 separate attacks across the primary vision area.

The system shall have a working life of no less than 12 months and shall not degrade the ballistic protection of the Transparent Armour (TA) to which it is fitted.

The system shall be capable of being initially installed at second line facilities.

The user shall be able to restore situational awareness post attack whilst on patrol with the aim of the system still providing protection against the threats.

When one thinks of it for a while it makes perfect sense, glass armour is very expensive and because of abrasion from road borne debris, dust, unfriendly locals (as if) and careless squaddies (double as if) putting a cheap second skin on it protects the good stuff underneath. Being bullet proof does not necessarily mean scratch resistant.

It also means any damage can be repaired quickly in the field rather than taking the vehicle off the road and loading the poor REME with yet more things to fix.

My first reaction was the Peter Kaye sketch



It’s a joke for us British, anyone else, sorry!

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Red Trousers
Red Trousers
March 28, 2013 10:20 pm

Makralon shields for the windscreen? You could be brave and bid a sliding metal mesh, like the coppers’ Transits have.

KUR 3 is nonsensical. It can’t degrade itself?

They are getting worse, and having downsized to such an extent that it takes 6 months to get on contract even after having won a bid, and even in negotiations, you find you are dealing with some shambolic child with plastic shoes. You can put back in at least 5% of profit by doing your homework before the meeting, knowing that the Shabby Wood Commercial negotiator has been brought in only for the negotiation, and certainly won’t be aware of the cost and capability trade-offs down at SR level.

(It would be unfair, as I was not there, to observe that the shambolic child is probably on his second negotiation after cutting his teeth on the FSTA Tanker contract)

March 29, 2013 6:57 pm

i’m probably being a bit thick here, but wouldn’t some sort of clear sticky-back plastic type solution work? (obviously have to work in the heat etc) … bit like the scratch resilient inserts you can get for mobile phones and the like ;-)
oh and those mesh screens on cop vans are for large object / petrol bombs protection etc aren’t they (in riots), not so much for driving around rocky desert-y environments?

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
March 29, 2013 8:24 pm

My wife (a primary school teacher) swears by something call ShireSeal for covering anything in the classroom as proof against wee and puke (!) But a quick Google came up with this,which is rather better:

Surely they could be convinced to supply it in sheets, instead of pre-cut shapes??

It’s not rocket science is it?!?!?!?

Jeremy M H
March 29, 2013 9:07 pm

In the US I think NASCAR has tearaway sheets they put on the front windows of the cars that they can simply rip off during pit stops to restore visibility. It protects the glass from chipping at 150 plus MPH. Should work for this.

John Hartley
John Hartley
March 29, 2013 11:02 pm

What about the 3mm polycarbonate the cops use in riot shields? Probably will scratch to hell in 12 months, but is cheap enough to replace sooner.

Jeremy M H
March 30, 2013 12:44 pm


I would think you would just use that with those tearaway sheets I describe. Those would protect from basic road abrasion and let you clear the visibility in a few seconds while the plastic would protect from thrown rocks. The biggest problem with plastic is that it scratches all to crap under road conditions. Pair it with tear away protection and it should work just fine.

Dangerous Dave
Dangerous Dave
April 1, 2013 5:23 pm

@Jeremy: trear away shets good idea for instant improvement in visibilty, but you need to be outside to “tear them off a strip”?

@all: I’m worried that what ever protectors are purchased, end up being expensive for what they are. As a result, the SOP will be to “get maximum mileage” from each set of protectors before the Stores Sergeant will let you have another set. This would result in trucks and MRAPS tottling around with knackered protectors over the transparent armour resulting in safety issues and much reduced tactical visibility.

Better that the solution was cheap and available commercially (hence my Shire-Seal/automotive suggestion) as these can be bought in bulk for pennies and no-one will mind if they are replaced frequently.

Hartley: is 3mm too thick?, the transparent armour doesn’t need protecting kinetically, just from erosion and zero-cost projectiles (that’s rocks, then!)

April 2, 2013 8:46 pm

I would give a +1 to polycarbonate sheets.

I can attest that 2mm polycarbonate tubes are virtually indestructible when people are hitting them. There are videos of non bullet proof 12mm polycarbonate taking .22 and 9mm on youtube, so if you were interested in preventing damage to the armour then it would be quite possible from pistol calibre weapons if it was desirable.

Regardless, even 3mm polycarbonate is certainly going to take a rock thrown by hand. Whilst it does scratch easily it is repairable just as easily:-