Saint-Gobain wins US armed forces armour contract
Saint-Gobain Crystals is to supply the US Army and US Marine Corps (USMC) with its sapphire engineered armour under a three-year contract announced on 11 October. The $20 million contract will see the company provide the armour and tooling to make bulletproof windshields and door windows for the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Launcher.
The sapphire engineered armour is a transparent armour product designed to replace conventional glass-glass armour. It consists of large sheets of sapphire laminated with multiple layers of glass and polycarbonate.
According to the company, the armour has ‘superior’ mechanical and optical properties to meet the higher threat levels now endured by combat vehicles, while providing ‘greater than 50 percent weight savings, better night vision effectiveness and higher lifetime durability in challenging environments’, including the desert.
Natesh Krishnan, director of global sales and marketing, said: ‘Saint-Gobain won the contract because our sapphire-glass armour 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 armour. Our sapphire armour 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.’
The armour products will be supplied by Saint-Gobain's plant in Milford, New Hampshire.
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