Saint-Gobain awarded major contract to supply sapphire armor

Saint-Gobain Crystals has been awarded a three-year contract, valued at approximately $20 million, to supply the U.S. Army and Marine Corps with sapphire engineered armor and tooling to make bulletproof windshields and door windows for the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Launcher.

This next-generation transparent armor replaces conventional glass-glass armor.  The superior mechanical and optical properties of Sapphire armor meet the higher threat levels that combat vehicles now endure while providing greater than 50 percent weight savings, better night vision effectiveness and higher lifetime durability in challenging environments (including the desert).

Saint-Gobain's plant in Milford, New Hampshire, will supply the armor products, which consist of large sheets of sapphire laminated with multiple layers of glass and polycarbonate.

According to Natesh Krishnan, director of global sales and marketing, "Saint-Gobain won the contract because our sapphire-glass armor solution met the Army's demanding performance requirements for a high-value vehicle.  This innovation will also offer additional protection to soldiers in the field and is the first large contract of its kind for high-end armor. Our sapphire armor provides superior ballistic performance combined with weight reduction, enhanced transmission capabilities for night vision and sand abrasion resistance. As sapphire is second in hardness only to diamond and is chemically inert, it is excellent for use in sandy desert conditions, and resists etching from gases emitted after a rocket launch."

These next-generation innovative transparent armor-window products were developed at the Milford plant using Saint Gobain's extensive materials' expertise.

Source: Saint-Gobain
Date: Oct 12, 2012