Conventional armor solutions can be weight-prohibitive for certain classes of tactical vehicles. Accordingly, tactical wheeled vehicle program managers were looking for lightweight RPG-defeat solutions that would protect vehicle crews and equipment without severely downgrading vehicle performance or mobility. The solution: RPG Defeat Net Systems that are lightweight technology described as a “weight-critical” survivability solution. They are passive, non-lethal countermeasures that present no collateral or fratricide risks.
The technology integrations use passive netting to protect the vehicles with the same probability of defeat percentages as the bar armor that was used extensively during Operation Iraqi Freedom. This new technology is highly adaptable to most Army and Marine Corps vehicle systems.
Delivering Battlefield Tech Supremacy
Because RPG Defeat Nets are lighter than other conventional armor solutions, especially for vehicles that can’t support the weight of bar or add-on-armor kits, the defeat nets are ideal solutions providing a 50-75 percent reduction in weight. Why? They reduce wear-and-tear effects on vehicle systems caused by powertrain stress and added fuel consumption, and can significantly reduce the risk of rollovers compared to heavier armor solutions. The nets can also be mounted on vehicles to provide protection from all angles. In fact, RPG defeat nets have become a deterrent, because enemy combatants who have fired on net-protected vehicles got lots of ‘flash’ but no ‘bang’ from their projectiles.
RPG Defeat Net-based Technologies and associated A-kits provide vehicle crews with RPG kill protection in theater, providing additional crew safety and reduced installation times of up to 75 percent. This passive system consists of an array of metal nodes, a net of Kevlar® cords supporting them, an integrated frame that attaches to the vehicle, and mounting hardware to secure the net and frame to the vehicle surface. The integrated system is designed to force projectile detonation in the net and prevent armor penetration.
Project joint partners included the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center’s (TARDEC) Center for Systems Integration, Office of Naval Research and Program Manager (PM) Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected (MRAP). Through a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA), this government team partnered with QinetiQ North America and AmSafe. Using a systems engineering approach, the assigned project engineers quickly defined systems requirements and developed an integrated master production schedule. Through weekly project technical interface meetings, the team successfully designed, integrated and prototyped potential solutions for the end product.
Over the past two years, RPG net integrations have been developed at TARDEC and fielded by PM MRAP to provide protection for the following vehicles: MaxxPro Base, MaxxPro Dash, RG-31 A2, RG-31 A3 SOCOM, RG-33 AUV SOCOM, RG-33 CATII/HAGA, and RG-33 A1 SOCOM. RPG nets also protect PM Heavy
Tactical Vehicle’s (HTV’s) HEMTT A4.
(Information provided by TARDEC Hit Avoidance Team Engineers Brian McCaffrey, Steven Caito and Heather Kammer.)