Joining up to protect soldiers [CANSEC17D2]

01 June 2017

Safety and survivability technology company Helios Global Technologies yesterday signed a Memorandum of Understanding with BAE Systems to pursue the development of BAE’s liquid armour technology.

Based in Kelowna, British Columbia, Helios works closely with the Surviving and Thriving Applied Research facility of the University of British Columbia.

BAE Systems has been working on liquid armour for some time, and has achieved impressive results. Now the concept requires further research with the aim of providing more focused applications of the technology.

Working together, Helios and BAE Systems expect to see initial results in 18 to 24 months. To aid its research and development, Helios has access to a ballistics test range.

Liquid armour comprises a liquid that has been likened to custard. It can be fashioned into wearable armour for soldiers, or armour for vehicles, through either the impregnation of flexible materials, or encapsulation within them. The crucial property of the liquid is that it hardens when subjected to a sudden impact, such as a bullet strike. Not only does this absorb the impact, but when combined with Kevlar can disperse the impact over a wider area.

Applying liquid armour technology can allow soldier-worn protection to be considerably lighter, thinner and more flexible than current body armour.

That makes the soldier far more comfortable and agile, and also makes integration of other dismounted solider systems easier.

As well as soldier use, Helios is to study cross-sectoral applications for the technology in industry and sport. Furthermore, the company is working in partnership with the University of Alberta to undertake research in the potential of attenuating explosive shock waves, which have been shown to damage the brain.

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