MILMAG - The Military Magazine

DSEI17: Sensing Armour premiere

Electronic Sensing Armour was developed by Rheinmetall to fulfill an order from an undisclosed client. This system, used in blast and ballistic armor allows  user to instantly check the hard, ceramic insert and evaluate it`s condition and suitability for further use.

Sensing Armour plates as premiered in London. These plates are equipped with an electronic device which allows for instant check of armor`s condition / Photo: Remigiusz Wilk

Despite the possible first impressions, Sensing Armour is not used but testing armor that was hit with bullets or shrapnel – these plates are exchanged for new ones instantly. However, it`s quite common for the inserts to be dropped on a hard surface. Without a complicated examination procedure, involving x-raying the plate, is hard to asses whether the armor can still provide the needed protection. Obviously, this procedure is hard to perform in the field conditions.

This is why Rheinmetall engineers developed a new type of ballistic plate. This armor, a part of offered VERHA line, is the part of Sensing Armour technology. Germans did not want to divulge technical information so we can speculate on the system`s principle of function. Probably, a mesh of thin wires has been placed on the plate`s surface. This wires connect to an electronic device. It is located at the edge of ballistic plate and weights 60 g. System`s internal memory stores various data, such as armor serial number, testing procedure details or other logistical data.

Plates are delivered with a simple device which look a bit like a TV remote. It can be connected to the armor via  water- and dust-proof port placed at the edge of the armor plate. The testing device has a very simple interface, which uses different color lights to inform the operator of the plate`s condition. Green light means “All OK”, while the yellow light indicates that the armor can be still used but it should be replaced at the earliest opportunity. For psychological reasons, to avoid field removal of damaged plates, red color is not in use.

Sensing Armour is fully scalable and can be used not only for personal ballistic protection but also on vehicles. With the new Rheinmetall system it is possible to judge the state of vehicle`s armor right after an impact of a bullet or shrapnel. Additionally, the sensors in armor allow the operator to check it condition in real time and help to locate the exact direction and location of the hit.

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