Armor: It's All About Layers And Accessorizing

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December 13,2008: Canada is buying $66 million worth of add-on armor for its fleet of 700 LAV III 8x8 wheeled armored vehicles. Over the last eight years, Canada has been replacing its 1980s era MOWAG vehicles with the locally built LAV III. This is a 17 ton vehicle mounting a 25mm autocannon, plus two machine-guns. It has a crew of three and can carry seven passengers. The LAV III design was the model for the American Stryker. Canada has exported LAV IIIs to New Zealand and Rumania. Although Canada is seeking more heavily protected trucks, for troops in Afghanistan threatened by roadside bombs, the LAV IIIs are still seen as suitable for most combat missions. Canada is not equipping all its LAV IIIs with add on armor, most of the kits will go to the vehicles serving in Afghanistan.  There, the LAVs are also getting additional electronics and several other minor tweaks.

Two years ago, The U.S. Army equipped 150 of its Stryker wheeled armored vehicles with ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor.) Invented by the Israelis in the 1970s, ERA consists of explosives packaged between layers of sheet metal. When the hot gas jet produced by a shaped charge (of an RPG or missile warhead) hits the ERA explosives, the gas jet is disrupted and rendered harmless by the ERA explosion. Many American M-2 and AAV-7 armored vehicles in Iraq are already protected by ERA kits (which cost over $100,000 each). The Stryker ERA cost nearly $300,000 per vehicle, and added 3.5 tons of weight (compared to 2.5 tons for the current slat armor it will replace.)

 


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