by David Crane
defrev at gmail dot com
It looks like vehicle armor a.k.a. vehicular armor just got a whole lot cheaper to make. A team at the British Ministry of Defence’s (MOD) in-house science and technology center Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL), the University of Cambridge and QinetiQ have teamed up to develop a process for making a new type of advanced steel armor a.k.a. armor steel called Super Bainite using thermodynamic modelling techniques. Thermodynamic modelling has apparently drastically sped up the development of the new armor, allowing it’s manufacturing process, properties and cost to be optimised in months, instead of years.
Unlike convential steel armor, which must be produced via high heat, and thus quenched and tempered, Super Bainite is…
produced via a new low-temperature mechanism called isothermal hardening, which creates an ultra-hard steel armor without having to resort to steel alloys. A steel alloy, or alloyed steel, incorporates additional metals into the mix to strengthen and harden the steel, and is more expensive.
The DSTL team is headed up by scientist Peter Brown. According to him, due to the unique low-temp process by which Super Bainite is made, it’s able to "match the ballistic performance of the very best off-shore armor steels for a fraction of their cost."
Super Bainite has already been successfully produced in production trials by DSTL in partnership with with Corus and Bodycote, and the first Super Bainite armor plates are currently undergoing ballistic testing.
It would seem only fitting that the new "super armor" (Super Bainite) would be developed in the same country (England) that brought us Chobham armor, which is used on both the M1A1 / M1A2 Abrams MBT (Main Battle Tank) and British Challenger 2 MBT. If Super Bainite proves to be viable and can therefore be used to make military armored vehicles (armored ground vehicles) of all types (HMMWVs, MRAPs, Strykers, HEMTTs, FMTVs, JLTVs, etc.) and incorporated into Chobham armor a.k.a. Chobham armour advanced composite armor for main battle tanks (MBTs), the U.S. military will be able to buy a lot more of them for the same total cash outlay. DefenseReview therefore considers Super Bainite to be a potentially game-changing technology from an industrial manufacturing capability perspective, and perhaps one of the most important military industrial technologies to be developed in a long time. If it’s released to the commercial market, Super Bainite could also have a profound impact on civilian armored vehicle production, specifically for armored cars (executive protecion / VIP protection) and trucks (money transport) and tactical vehicles, like law enforcement SWAT vehicles and trucks.
Editor’s note: Bodycote is affiliated with IonBond Coatings (a.k.a. Ion Bond Coatings), which makes the Black Diamond anti-rust / anti-corrosion coating for firearms. DefenseReview has published information about IonBond Black Diamond firearm coating, which is an available option on Bob Marvel Guns custom 1911 pistols like the Marvel Tactical .45 and Nighthawk Custom semi-custom 1911 pistols like the Global Response Pistol a.k.a. Nighthawk GRP 1911 pistol. You can purchase both Bob Marvel Guns and Nighthawk Custom guns with the Black Diamond firearms coating from the Scottsdale Gun Club (SGC) Pro Shop.