Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin spoke about the new ‘synthetic biology’ armour project when she visited a defence research lab at Porton Down.
Last year, the Centre for Defence Enterprise looked to invest up to £750,000 into new ways of using synthetic biology to create transparent materials that are thinner and lighter than used for existing armour and that could offer better protection.
“There is a need in the military for transparent armour that is highly robust, maintains its optical properties despite impact, and is compatible with night vision.”
Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin said:
“We’ve spent millions on innovation this year, developing technologies like a new way to uncover insurgents’ fingerprints to mini-drones that investigate chemical hazards. The goal is always to help our Armed Forces defend the UK, and this next generation of armour will make our troops even more alert and effective on the battlefield.”
The MoD say that research has indicated soldiers wearing ceramic armour could see a 35 per cent weight reduction, which could make them faster and more comfortable in a warzone, whilst maintaining a high level of protection.
The synthetic biology for the armour project has been running for four years and Dstl are now ready to put samples through hardness testing. They also confirmed that a scale-up process is underway to produce samples that can be used for live-fire testing.