Textron Defense Systems developing airbag-like net to protect armored vehicles from rocket-propelled grenades



WILMINGTON, Mass., 11 Sept. 2011. Engineers at Textron Defense Systems in Wilmington, Mass., are developing an air bag-like protective net for armored combat vehicles to protect vehicles and crews from rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which have been favorite weapons of insurgents and terrorists on hot spots around the world like Iraq, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

The Textron Defense Systems TRAPSNet RPG countermeasure is for any wheeled or tracked military vehicle, and uses sensors that identify incoming RPGs, and deploys a net integrated into a standard airbag to defeat the RPG while preventing vehicle penetration, Textron officials say.

The TRAPSNet vehicle protection system is an enhancement of the Textron Tactical Rocket-Propelled Grenade Airbag Protection System (TRAPS), and was tested in July under supervision of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington, Va. The test, which were at the New Mexico Tech Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center in Socorro, N.M., included dozens of RPG shots at various angles and ranges, Textron officials say.

The TRAPSNet countermeasure can defend against several different RPG hits, and does not substantially widen the vehicle, Textron officials say. The system only deploys when its sensors detect an incoming RPG, so it does not impede visibility for the vehicle driver and crew.

RPGs also are a demonstrated threat to military helicopters, as well as land vehicles, and Textron officials say they are considering how they might develop a version of TRAPSNet for helicopters. Critics, however, say a similar RPG protective system for helicopters might be too expensive and could adversely alter the aircraft's flight profile.

For more information contact Textron Defense Systems online at www.textrondefense.com, DARPA at www.darpa.mil, or the New Mexico Tech Energetic Materials Research and Testing Center at www.emrtc.nmt.edu.

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