US Army develops lightweight ballistic helicopter protection system


The US Army Aviation and Missile Research, Development and Engineering Center's prototype integration facility (PIF) is developing a new lighter-weight ballistic protection system (BPS) for the CH-47 Chinook and UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft.

The new Chinook BPS system weighs 2,000lbs less than the existing system and offers additional protection to both the pilot and cargo areas, besides offering protection against small arms fire.

The PIF has integrated a floor kit, passenger vertical kit and multi-impact transparent armour system for windows in CH-47D/F to allow normal operations and reduce ballistic intrusion.

The PIF-enhanced BPS developed for the Black Hawk is expected to reduce the weight of the current BPS system by about 500lbs.

PIF program management supervisor Jeff Carr said the facility continues to design, develop, and install new and improved ballistic protection on aviation and ground systems.

"Their design capabilities, machine shop and advanced composites lab provide an extraordinary capability to create custom-formed material," Carr added.

The PIF has also developed a lighter-weight BPS for Bell 407 aircraft, commissioned by the Department of State for the Iraqi government.

The installed system in the aircraft will provide protection to the cockpit floor and crew seats.

The PIF has also installed traditional armour such as high mobility artillery rocket systems on ground vehicles, a BPS that weighs around 2,500lbs.

Image: PIF installed a prototype of an enhanced Ballistic Protection System in the cabin of the UH-60 Black Hawk aircraft. Photo: courtesy of US Army.