Current Affairs New slat armour to be used on additional Czech military vehicles in Afghanistan
Additional transport vehicles used by the Czech military in Afghanistan are to receive added protection developed by defence firm VOP-026 Šternberk: cage (or slat) armour capable of defending against rocket-propelled grenades or shape-charged warheads. Lightweight and made of superior alloy steel, the slat armour can consistently save lives in attacks that otherwise almost certainly prove fatal.
Czech personnel serving in Afghanistan will see their transporters outfitted soon with new cage armour capable to stopping RPGs or missile attacks –in many cases snuffing out the explosions and the piercing of the plate metal of the vehicles themselves. The head of R&D at the company, Stanislav Rolc, says in practice the new slat armour has proven very effective. He told me more about its use:
“This is protection against hand-held rockets, anti-tank rockets like the RPG 7 and similar threats. We started development in the spring of 2010 and had only two months to create the first type of this kind of armour in the Czech Republic and after that we began producing it for vehicles in Afghanistan, namely the Pandur x8 personnel carrier.”
Cage armour is not a new concept but the first Czech version has reportedly proven to be lighter and considerably cheaper than the US, German and other competition, costing the Czech Army a sum of just four million crowns. According to Stanislav Rolc, without the cage protection, personnel carriers and their crew are under much greater threat. Here’s how the armour works:
“The principle is very simple. In a warhead you have an initiation system and the electric circuit goes from the nose to the ignition through a double wall. Due to the interaction with the cage amour – in successful cases – there is no explosion or a very limited one. By comparison, a vehicle without the extra armour would usually be completely destroyed.”
In terms of percentages, VOP-026 Šternberk slat armour is effective in up to 70 percent of cases where a missile is fired perpendicular to the target. Along with the Pandur x8s already equipped in Afghanistan, Czech crews will welcome smaller vehicles being included as well.