$37.8M Adds More Israeli Reactive Armor for M2/M3 Bradleys
General Dynamics Armament and Technical Products Inc. in Burlington, VT received a $37.8 million modification to a firm-fixed-price contract for Reactive Applique Armor Tiles for the M2/M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle System. The Bradleys and AAV7 APCs, which played a central role in the armed operations in Iraq, have been fitted with armor by Rafael of Haifa, Israel in partial cooperation with the American General Dynamics company.
The armor is some of the most advanced in the world, and includes both passive protection of strong material that diverts the rocket, and reactive protection comprised of plates that contain explosives. The add-on armor consists of 105 tiles that attach to the sides, the turret and the front of each Bradley. The tiles, which look like small boxes, contain a very special, insensitive explosive that is detonated only when hit by a missile or rocket and does not react to other heat sources such as small arms or other fragments. The resulting explosion disrupts the incoming, armor-penetrating gas jet produced by a RPG’s shaped-charge warhead, for example, so the Bradley remains unharmed.
The US Army is very pleased with the results, according a release from the US Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems (PEO-GCS), and Rafael’s performance and delivery won it a letter of recognition from the U.S. Army. The rush deliveries were part of the US military’s effort to slow the damage done by roadside mines, explosive charges and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) in Iraq.
Rafael first began applying reactive armor technology immediately after the 1973 Yom Kippur War, when the Israeli military realized its older-model tanks were vulnerable to missiles and rockets. Israel became the world’s first army to use reactive armor, but kept it secret until Syrian forces captured an Israeli tank in Lebanon.
Since then, Rafael has continuously improved its technology and applied it to numerous programs in Israel and abroad. Rafael has been working with General Dynamics since 1994 to provide reactive armor sets for the U.S. Army Bradleys. The team received an earlier $19.4 million order from the U.S. Army’s TACOM / ARDEC Picatinny Arsenal, covering procurement of 56 reactive armor vehicle sets and 170 partial sets for the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. That contract also included funding for the qualification and first-article testing of a product upgrade to further improve crew and vehicle survivability over the current design.
This contract is about that upgrade.
It covers a new-generation insensitive reactive armor, which will be installed on the Bradley IFV as a follow-on to the earlier generation reactive armour that has already been deployed to Iraq. When compared with the current in-service reactive armour, the new-generation system not only provides a higher level of protection for the same weight, but the explosive used was switched to the insensitive munitions type that does not burn when hit.
This armor is also available for other Armored Personnel Carriers and Infantry Fighting Vehciles, including the USA’s M113.
Work on this contract modification will be performed in Haifa, Israel (38%), Burlington, VT (36%), Lyndonville, VT (13%), Graham, KY (6%), and Albany, OR (7%) and is expected to be complete by Oct. 31, 2006. Contract funds will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This was a sole source contract initiated on April 21, 2005. The U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command in Picatinny Arsenal, NJ issued the contract (W15QKN-05-C-1166).
Additional Readings & Sources
- Israel21c – Israeli armor saves American lives in Iraq