One of the biggest threats when fighting asymmetric wars against insurgents -- especially in urban environments -- is posed by the ubiquitous RPG-7 family of rocket-propelled anti-armor weapons. The Netherlands-based TNO Defense, Security and Safety research lab is developing a deceptively simple protection system against RPG-7 attacks: a net.
Specially-designed, specifically-dimensioned, X-knotted and manufactured from advanced superstrong fibers, sure. But still "just" a net.
Nevertheless, TNO claims it has the potential to provide armored vehicles with 90% protection against these deadly missiles, at little cost and almost no extra weight on the vehicle.
Click below to read the rest of the post and watch two videos.
The net interacts with an incoming RPG-7 projectile in such a way that it "strangles" and damages the electrical circuit in the nose section. That prevents the electrical pulse sent by the piezo-electric impact fuze in the nose of the RPG-7 round from reaching the detonator, placed further aft.
And that, in turn, means that the shaped charge warhead, which has the capability to penetrate up to 40 cm of steel armor, does not fire.
By passing through the net, the projectile effectively becomes a dud that slams and disintegrates against the vehicle's armor. Any vehicle with an armor level sufficient to protect against small arms fire will be able to survive this impact.
According to TNO, a production-ready version of the net, or RPG-7 strangling device, appropriately called Constrictor, can be available by this time next year. The lab is now looking for a partner to industrialize the concept (which has already been fielded in a version to protect static objects such as observation posts).
The June issue of Defense Technology International (DTI) will feature a detailed description of the Constrictor concept and what has been achieved with it so far. Today, the Ares can show you two video clips (courtesy of TNO) of field trials with Constrictor.
The first clip shows a live firing test held in the Czech Republic in October. A live RPG-7 projectile is fired and flies through a Constrictor net (seen on the right), then disintegrates harmlessly against a Hesco compound fortification wall after its nose section has been "strangled" by the net.
The second clip shows an early trial to demonstrate how a Constrictor net could be installed on the back end of an M113-family armored infantry fighting vehicle (in this case: an YPR-765 of the Royal Netherlands Army). Operational vehicle installations would be more sophisticated, options including foam blocks to hold the net in place and material to camouflage the net.
--Joris Janssen Lok