About Me

My photo
MILITARY TECHNOLOGY (MILTECH) is the world's leading international tri-service defence monthly magazine in the English language. MILITARY TECHNOLOGY is "Required Reading for Defence Professionals". Follow us on Twitter: MILTECH1

25 February 2015

IDEX 2015: Dynamit Nobel Defence details ERA solution

Dynamit Nobel Defence (DND) is showcasing its ERA solution that is on order for the German army's new Puma AIFV during IDEX 2015. DND's head of business development Herbert Weisshaupt explained that while DND has been working on ERA solutions for many years, development did not go smoothly. For some time, it had to be put on hold as army officials did not see ERA's advantages fearing instead that personnel might get hit by fragments if an ERA box would go off. However, DND has demonstrated this fear not to be justified using special materials and insensitive explosives that require a hit by a hollow charged weapon to go off. Recent trials have shown that its ERA protective system is capable of coping with hits of small and medium caliber rounds up to 30mm including APFSDT rounds without going off. In 2014, tests were also conducted during which tiles were hit by EFP IEDs and molotov cocktails as part of the system's qualification. In neither case did this result in a detonation.  At the Meppen test range in Germany, DND's ERA tiles underwent further testing when they were shot at with 155mm rounds by a PzH2000 howitzer. One hundred and fifty kilograms of explosives were also detonated in close proximity of the ERA tiles. In both cases, the tiles remained unscathed. Also part of the trials were air transportability tests. Weisshaupt told MT that during a deployment the ERA sets and vehicles would be transported in separate aircraft with the boxes being mounted on the vehicles in theatre.

The ERA project started as a result of a requirement in the early 2000s for an ERA package that would improve the level of protection of the Fennek wheeled vehicle. While Weisshaupt doubted the relevance of ERA for Fennek as its driver sits in a rather exposed position, DND decided to develop a solution nonetheless. In the end, ERA was not introduced on Fennek but the efforts of DND paid off as its evolved ERA technology is now on order for Puma. Germany has ordered 350 Puma vehicles, 342 AIFVs and eight driver training vehicles that are made by the PSM consortium consisting of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. Weisshaupt indicated that 200 ERA packages were on order.
He explained that the system was fully compliant with STANAG 4596 providing full 360 degree protection against hollow charges, not against tandem shaped charges however. Weisshaupt boasted that Puma is the only vehicle in service with the German army that has this level of protection, hereby even outperforming the Leopard 2A6 main battle tank. This is not only due to the ERA protection but also due to the vehicle's mine and roof protection which are supplied by another company. While DND's ERA package weighs 1 tons including 500 kilograms of explosives, Weisshaupt explained that if traditional passive armour had been used this would have resulted in a tenfold increase of the weight of the protection package in order to achieve the same level of protection against a standard RPG-7. DND's ERA package is part of Puma's C (for Combat) protection suite that also comprises add on passive flank armour to protect against medium caliber rounds. The basic A suite protects Puma's sides against 14.5mm rounds while regardless of which suite is installed, the frontal area of the vehicle is protected against medium caliber rounds and hand held anti-tank weapons.

Consisting of boxes that weigh 40 kilograms, DND's ERA solution can be mounted in three to four hours. It is a highly modular system than can easily be adapted for other armoured vehicles. The system has already been tested on the Boxer multirole armoured vehicle while it would also be suited for enhancing Leopard 2's survivability when operating in urban terrain. Weisshaupt also indicated that his company was aiming at operators of M113 and Fuchs vehicles which like Boxer have large surfaces that would need to be covered. In addition, the possible application of the ERA package on the CV90 AIFV is also being looked into.
Pieter Bastiaans

No comments:

Post a Comment