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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

14 June 2016

Eurosatory 2016 Plasan – innovation at the heart of progress

In today’s fluid and changing commercial environment, no company – no matter how well established – survives without adapting and reacting proactively to those changes. Israeli armour manufacturer Plasana Sasa Ltd, headquartered in Merom Hagalil, is no exception.

At Eurosatory 2016 Plasan is showcasing three of its most recent successful undertakings: the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) programme in the United States, the Thales Hawkei tactical vehicle and the Piranha 5. Talking to MT regarding future prospects, the company’s Marcom Manager, Michal Rosenzweig, admitted that there appears to be a trend towards smaller numbers of vehicles as far as developing demands are concerned. “It’s true there are not many JLTV type programmes out there at the moment – but the Hawkei requirement stands at over 1,000 vehicles and there are new opportunities around every corner,” she said.

Hawkei is a good example of the way in which Plasan is addressing the requirement for innovation in design, development and application of vehicular armour systems. The company has worked with Thales (and its predecessor organisations) for well over six years, according to Rosenzweig, and has applied unique armouring technologies to the extremely demanding requirements set for the programme.

The monocoque construction of the vehicle, and the requirement for a very rapid up-armouring capability – to take the overall vehicle protection from Level 2 to Level 3 according to the demands imposed by operational conditions – presented significant challenges for the company’s design and development engineers. The solution, however, has been to provide a modular ‘kitted hull’ technology that enables soldiers to carry out the tactical upgrade, in the field – in less than 30 minutes!

The demands of the Hawkei are good indicators of the trends shaping demand for Plasan’s products and services. “Every requirement is for lighter and more capable materials; an improved maintenance programme and the ability to swiftly replace damaged components is a universal requirement and the demand for non-welded armour solutions is also increasing at an astonishing rate,” Rosenzweig says.

With about 1,200 employees in total, of which 600 are in Israel, and a market that is heavily skewed towards exports, the company’s global footprint continues to grow: Rosezweig points to Latin America (Colombia, Brazil, Mexico) and Eastern Europe as markets in which the company is especially active. The demands coming from both new and traditional markets are changing with like speed and Plasan’s reaction has been to focus not only on its core skills in applying advanced materials science to their customer’s demands but also in addressing new subsidiary markets. “There is a focus right now on ergonomics to an extent we have not seen before, including issues such as advanced blast protection seats and similar systems,” says Rosenzweig.

Plasan has a deep well of operational experience from which to draw inspiration for continued development, as well as extensive facilities such as its own ballistic testing laboratories. After thrity years in the business, according to Rosenzweig, there is a clear understanding that the company will need to continue to innovate to maintain its position as a leading provider of advanced armour solutions.

Picture Shows Plasan’s armour solution for the Thales Hawkei tactical vehicle means that soldiers can upgrade the protection level from Level 2 to Level 3 in the field within 30 minutes.