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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

16 September 2015

DSEI 2015: RUAG Emphasises Polyvalent Protection Solutions

Earlier in 2015, RUAG has revealed its intention to satisfy symmetric and asymmetric threats to armoured vehicles as the future operating environment shifts to a more hybrid type of warfare.

RUAG Defence, the strategic partner of international land forces, is continuing to develop its business in the field of ballistic protection systems. In a joint procurement effort, Austria and Belgium have awarded RUAG Defence to upgrade their fleet of PANDUR Is with ballistic protection kits. Shown: MinePRO passive protection system. (Photo: RUAG)

RUAG Defence is having much success on the international market with its ballistic protection technology. The Swiss have been active in the protection market since the 1980s building it as a side business out of their knowledge of ammunition manufacture. The key to their success is being able to pull together skills and experience from diverse fields like; material technology, environmental conditions, testing, prototyping, simulation and production. According to RUAG Defence’s CEO, Dr. Markus A. Zoller, the current operational threat continues to evolve with opponents becoming more professional in the execution of tactics, techniques and procedures as well as having access to more powerful weapon systems.

According to Zoller, protection of armoured vehicles must be considered holistically and he used the concept of the Protection Onion to illustrate this. The outer shell within RUAG’s sphere of solutions, comprises unmanned technology in a bid to take the man out of physical danger; followed by intelligence for ISTAR systems and protection against cyber-attacks; active protection against rockets and mortars; and finally the core, comprising passive protection. “Protection has to be considered holistically across the four shells and RUAG can address it as an upgrader and as a provider of protection systems,” Zoller proclaimed.

Also earlier this year, RUAG announced that in a joint procurement effort, Austria (lead) and Belgium have awarded RUAG Defence a contract to upgrade their fleet of PANDUR I with ballistic protection kits. All five variants of the PANDUR I will be upgraded with mine-, IED- and ballistic protection. The realisation of the project will start this spring and will be finished by the end of 2020, which could come up to 130 kits.

The solutions comprise further developments of RUAG’s existing portfolio of passive protection systems, which include the RoofPRO, SidePRO, MinePRO family of systems, designed to protect medium-sized armoured vehicles from RPGs, IEDs, and small arms; as well as hanged seats and a double bottom.

  • SidePRO-KE/IED is a highly engineered, fully integrated, modular polyvalent composite protection system that utilises a variety of advanced lightweight materials for direct application on armoured vehicles. SidePRO-KE/IED meets current threat level protection requirements.
  • MinePRO is a lightweight, blast and EFP resistant, easy to mount armour plate based on state-of-the art technology to ensure the safety of the crew. Further, all other subsystems of the vehicle such as stowage, seating for crew, driver and commander shall be evaluated, improved, reinforced or replaced.

RUAG currently is testing and qualifying protection against 40m threats, while internationally bidding on ramping up on vehicle defence via polyvalent protection solutions.

In August, RUAG announced selling eight SidePRO-KE kits to the Irish Navy, protecting machine gun mounted stations. Two ships will be equipped with four kits each, protecting machine gun marksmen.

A current project involving upgrading the protection on the PANDUR has only been made possible due to RUAG Defence’s ability to develop protection technology and also integrate it onto and into vehicles. This requires a large amount of vehicle knowledge and engineering knowhow to understand how best to protect the vehicle and ensure it will still perform as needed. RUAG Defence achieve this by using a strict and thorough development plan including; reengineering of the vehicle, protection solution integration, qualification of each protection element, improvements and then finally qualifying the vehicle as a whole.

RUAG's M109 self-propelled howitzer new generation modular upgrade extends the range, rate of fire, incorporating a new electrical system, with higher operational readiness, and increased mobility and protection. According to the company, the future will hold the integration of modern munition and fuzes like the EXCALIBUR and PGK, while rubber tracks are also being evaluated. Markets of the future include Northern Europe and the UAE.