GD UK innovates with SV armour to protect soldiers against latest threats

On the eve of the International Armoured Vehicles conference in Farnborough, General Dynamics UK has announced that the new modular armour system for the British Army’s Specialist Vehicle (SV) family already meets the most demanding STANAG levels for mine protection, following a series of blast trials conducted at Otterburn ranges in Northumberland. Preliminary testing of the new armour system has also proven that the design increases the level of protection and survivability above current standards, protecting the crew compartment from being penetrated by the latest IEDs, thereby meeting the MoD’s stringent soil test conditions. In addition, the commonality of the armour system across the SV family will help reduce the British Army’s logistics footprint and costs in this area. General Dynamics UK continues to work closely with its British Army and MoD partners to ensure that protection levels for the SV family continue to evolve throughout its development phase in order to ensure that when it enters service, SV will be one of the most versatile, mobile and survivable vehicle fleets on the battlefield.

Demanding Performance Test Regime

The SV’s modular armour system was subjected to live firing trials conducted at the Otterburn ranges in Northumberland at the beginning of November 2011, witnessed by representatives of General Dynamics UK, UK MoD and the British Army. The system was tested against two types of IED projectiles, creating very different failure mechanisms in vehicle armour. A total of 36 shots of both threat types were fired at the armour system. Results confirmed that the system has the ability to protect vehicle occupants against the highest STANAG levels of IED threat without crew compartment penetration. The adoption of the new system for SV has therefore moved a significant step closer.

In addition to the live firing trials, design assurance testing was conducted throughout the second half of 2011 in order to calibrate a predictive model for the design of the SV hull. Beginning in August, these tests gathered data about mine performance characteristics which helped inform the best hull design to meet the MoD’s stringent soil test conditions. Further tests of this nature were carried out on a fully representative SV rig in December, with a further set of tests planned for Spring 2012 to confirm the design assumptions.

Leading protection with reduced logistical impact

The SV modular armour system will be a world-leading survivability solution for the protection of British soldiers, and is the result of a Research and Development programme run jointly by General Dynamics UK’s armoured fighting vehicle (AFV) team in South Wales and the UK MoD. General Dynamics UK’s survivability engineering team has worked with UK MoD counterparts in the Defence Equipment & Support (DE&S), Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) organisation and the British Army to develop a best-in-class solution to set a new benchmark in protection levels for AFVs.

The new armour system will protect occupants from the most powerful IEDs – a fact proven by this round of live fire trials – and also protect them from bomblets dropped from overhead and certain rocket propelled grenades such as tandem-charge high explosive anti-tank rockets. Because of its modular nature, it will have the inherent flexibility and growth to be adapted to other threats which may occur in the future, but also reduce logistics effort and cost as the user will need to hold less armour packs in their inventory and only have to ship and fit the additional items instead of a whole armour pack when they need to up-armour an SV vehicle.

The success of these tests allows the detailed design of the SV armour system to proceed rapidly. Lessons learned during testing will feed into the final system build standard which will be fitted to six SV prototypes to confirm that the complete system will provide the optimum level of survivability. Following these trials with the Army, which include a detailed range

Source: General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE: GD)
Date: Feb 20, 2012