The Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA) has launched ‘Take Cover!’, a programme to find innovative technologies that protect small groups of dismounted troops in the field.
The aim is to protect multiple soldiers (thus ruling out personal body armour) from fragmentation and ballistics. DASA also say they’d be interested in proposals to protect against ‘directed energy threats’. The launch has come about due to ‘recent developments in both materials science and novel design technologies’.
The MoD will provide £600k for phase 1 of the competition, with additional funding available for further phases.
Even in 2018, dismounted soldiers are protected in the field by corrugated iron and sandbags. The competition offers the opportunity to advance protection from projectiles, ensuring soldiers are best protected from threats they face on future operations.
The aim is also to ensure the new technology is lighter and rapidly deployable. Currently, sandbags and corrugated iron have to be transported by vehicle, and it takes hours to construct a basic trench.
‘The current technologies for in-field temporary fortifications for dismounted soldiers are reaching the end of their natural life’
Interestingly, DASA state they want the new technologies to protect against ‘high-energy lasers or other novel weapons’. It would appear they’re attempting to future proof any programme from developments in weaponry.
They also welcome ‘innovative camouflage, concealment and deception’ tactics.
Any proposal would need to be able to defend against ‘ballistic penetration by up to 14.5 mm Armour Piercing Incendiary (API) round fired at point blank range’.
Proposals will also need to be operable in multiple environments and climates.
For more information, visit the programme’s website.