British Foxhound benefitting from Spectra Shield
Honeywell has announced that its second-generation Spectra Shield ballistic material is being used to armour Foxhound vehicles being manufactured by General Dynamics Land Systems – Force Protection Europe for the British Armed Forces. The lightweight material allows the vehicles it is fitted on to remain agile while increasing survivability.
According to the company, the Foxhound vehicle with Honeywell’s Spectra Shield materials underwent more than 12 months of rigorous blast and mobility testing before being chosen by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD). The vehicles are currently being shipped for use in Afghanistan.
More than 50% lighter than traditional vehicle armour materials, according to the company, Spectra Shield materials make the vehicles easier to transport and manoeuvre. The protective qualities of Spectra Shield help the Foxhound significantly improve protection of personnel against roadside bombs and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
Honeywell’s patented Spectra Shield products are manufactured by bonding parallel strands of fibre in place with an advanced resin system. In addition to Spectra fibre, Honeywell adapts this technology to other fibres. Spectra fibre is made from ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene using a patented gel-spinning process. The fibre exhibits high resistance to chemicals, water, and ultraviolet light. It has excellent vibration damping, flex fatigue and internal fibre-friction characteristics. It also has up to 60 percent greater specific strength than aramid fibre.
Tim Swinger, global business manager of Honeywell’s Advanced Fibers and Composites business, said: ‘Honeywell Spectra Shield lowers the overall vehicle weight of the Foxhound while improving the vehicle’s ability to withstand the increased threats seen in combat today. The decrease in weight helps to decrease each vehicle’s maintenance and fuel costs, and can limit the number of re-supply trips through dangerous routes.’
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