Thursday, May 25, 2006

New Lockheed armor protects against IEDs

United Press International - Security & Terrorism - New Lockheed armor protects against IEDs: "DALLAS, May 24 (UPI) -- Lockheed Martin said Wednesday it had developed a new type of armor plating that offers improved protection against improvised explosive devices.

The Macro-Composite Protection System (MAPS) has been provided to the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Navy for independent testing that should be completed by the end of the year.

Lockheed was bullish on the new product after its own testing, which was carried out in Texas with the Iraq market definitely in mind.

'We believe MAPS is a breakthrough in protective technology,' said Lockheed engineering director David Hunn. 'MAPS armor promises to provide an entirely new level of vehicle and personal protection to our forces that could save lives.'

MAPS is specifically aimed at the threat posed by shrapnel-producing IEDs as well as armor-piercing small arms fire.

Thus far, there has been no penetration of the plating by either explosions or 7.62 armor-piercing rounds fired from a sniper rifle, the company said Wednesday in a news release.

The plating consists of a macro-composite material encased in shock-absorbing polymers with a metallic strike face and spall plate on the front. It weighs in at about half of what current armor weighs.

It is suitable not only for military vehicles but on helicopters and attack aircraft as well as civilian vehicles such as armored trucks.

Lockheed didn't say how much the new material costs; however Hunn stated 'it should prove much less expensive than current ceramic armors once in production.'"

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