Home' Defence Technology Review : DTR JUN 2015 Contents 25
DEFENCE TECHNOLOGY REVIEW | ISSUE 10 | JUN 2015
Engineers develop ‘ballistic wallpaper’
The US Army’s Engineer Research and Development
Center (ERDC) has developed a ‘lightweight ballistic
wallpaper’ to fortify existing masonry, brick and cinderblock
Often used by troops for ad hoc defensive protection,
such structures are susceptible to blast impact from missiles
or large calibre projectiles and tend to fragment from the
inside, sending shards of rock, mortar or concrete flying at
occupants, something ERDC calls “rubblising”.
Complete with adhesive backing, the ballistic wallpaper
consists of Kevlar fibre threads embedded in a flexible
polymer film and is applied to the inside of the wall. When the
wall is hit, the wallpaper acts as a catch net, containing the
rubble and preventing debris from injuring soldiers.
Engineers built unreinforced structures lined with the
ballistic wallpaper and conducted small and large blast
testing at Fort Polk, Louisiana and Eglin Air Force Base,
Still in the research and development stage and without an
official name, work on the ballistic wallpaper is continuing.
– Matthew Mendenhall
MODULAR PROTECTIVE SYSTEM
ERDC engineers have also developed the Modular Protective
System (MPS) for protection of exposed troops at firing points,
guard towers and checkpoints. The panels were developed by ERDC
and the cross-bracing devised in collaboration with the UK Royal
Taking inspiration from fold-up picnic chairs, the MPS features
lightweight galvanised steel tube framing and cross-bracing and
armour panels made of a multi-layer fibreglass composite.
Able to provide protection against small arms fire (5.56 -7.62mm ball
rounds), MPS can be assembled quickly by just a few personnel and
without special tools or equipment.
The MPS structure fits inside a small ISO shipping container that
can be transported by truck or sling-loaded under a CH-47 Chinook
helicopter for rapid delivery. After assembly, the container itself then
becomes the ammunition storage for the mortar pit structure or
foundation platform for the guard tower configuration.
The mortar pit MPS kits are being used by the US Army’s 82nd
Airborne Division in Afghanistan, whilst the guard towers are
employed in theatre by the Royal Engineers.
MPS is standing by for licensing and for a possible transition to a
program of record.
LEFT: A section of ballistic wallpaper showing the embedded
Kevlar fibres. Images: US Army ERDC
BELOW: The Modular Protective System mortar pit is currently
used by US forces in Afghanistan according to the ERDC.
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In late February the US Navy’s (USN)
LPD 17 Program Executive Office
completed installation of light emitting
diode (LED) bulbs on the San Antonio-
class landing platform dock (LPD) USS
Somerset, replacing legacy shipboard
fluorescent light bulbs.
The use of LED lighting in a shipboard
environment has several advantages
over fluorescent lighting: better light
quality than fluorescent bulbs, improved
energy efficiency and life-cycle cost
savings. LED bulbs are more reliable
and last more than five times longer than
their fluorescent counterparts, require
less maintenance and significantly
decrease the spare bulb footprint,
which frees up stowage space. LED
bulbs do not contain any hazardous
materials, which eliminates the need for
specialised hazardous material storage
and eventual disposal.
The total ownership cost savings
of the newly installed LED bulbs on
USS Somerset, according to the
USN, will pay for the cost of the initial
installation in approximately five years.
The savings include the cost of power
and disposal per year compared to the
fluorescent bulbs, but does not include
the additional benefits such as reduced
maintenance and improved light quality.
The Navy is also expecting to be able
to exploit improved LED lighting as
technology continues to mature.
The same bulbs installed on USS
Somerset are being installed on several
other USN ships and craft, including
Arleigh Burke-class destroyers,
Ticonderoga-class cruisers, amphibious
assault ships, coastal patrol vessels
and mine warfare ships. Additional San
Antonio-class LPDs are also expected
to receive the LED bulbs.
– Matthew Mendenhall
US Navy LPDs see
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