Hephaestus Consulting


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Armour and Ballistic Design for the Military Industry

Hephaestus Consulting provides armour design services and ballistic testing equipment to the UK and EU defence and security sector.

Davidson House,
The Forbury,
Reading RG1 3EU,
United Kingdom
Fax Number

Hephaestus Consulting provides armour design services and ballistic testing equipment to the UK and EU defence and security sector.

The companies security cleared experts specialise in the integration and design testing of composite armour solutions, improvised explosive device (IED), rocket-propelled grenade (RPG), ballistic, blast, and vehicle design, as well as blast survivability of civilian infrastructure and public protection.

Our experience in ballistic and blast testing has led to the production of an entire range of ballistic test equipment from breeches, proof barrels and projectiles to environmental chambers and conditioning equipment.

Ballistic testing and evaluation for defence applications

Hephaestus provides efficient and cost-effective ballistic testing and evaluation services and trials management worldwide, including ballistic certification services such as:

The Hephaestus triple-barrelled burst fire gun is designed for armour testing to the highest UK MoD requirements, as well as ITOP / IM tests which require multiple impacts. The BFG is based around 3 Hep-B universal receivers and recoil plates allowing for individual azimuth and elevation adjustment of each gun barrel. The system is typically supplied with 5.56mm, 7.62mm and 14.5mm barrels but can be equipped with any calibre up to 20mm (including 0.50in).
Hephaestus provides advice in many areas of the military industry, including armour, ballistics, security and survivability.
The company delivers bespoke trial programmes and produces instrumentation solutions for all types of ballistic and blast testing.
Hephaestus provides cost-effective test and evaluation services for military and civilian protection sectors.
30mm x 165mm AP-T Surrogate test projectile, reverse engineered from original ammunition, inert and with full material certification and traceability for use in R&D testing of heavy vehicle armour.
Hephaestus supply environmental chambers from 500l-1,500l in volume for all types of ballistic laboratory work, the large 1,000l chamber is fitted with control systems to accept a soft armour tumbler for conducting NIJ 0106.01 7 day conditioning / accelerated aging tests.
The Hephaestus Static firing rig uses multi-rate springs and compliant grips to replicate the recoil compliance of a human shooter for performance, reliability and robustness testing. The rig can mount any break, bolt or automatic action firearm up to .50in / .50cal.
Instrumentation fragmentation shields for the protection of expensive and sensitive firing range equipment from sabot and debris damage, heavier versions protect against direct impact without being unrealistically heavy.
Lasercut logo in a Hephaestus produced range table.
Stainless-steel and aluminium soft armour tumbler (to suit Hephaestus environmental chamber), suitable for NIJ 0106.01 7 day high-humidity conditioning and accelerated aging test.
  • National Institute of Justice (NIJ) (personal protective equipment [PPE] and hard armour)
  • STANAG 4569 greater than level 6 (30mm armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot [APFSDS])
  • Civilian armoured vehicle standards such as VPAM and VSAG
  • Vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) greater than 1,000kg net explosive quantity (NEQ)
  • Rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) (including free-flight) explosively formed penetrator (EFP) / IED
  • Buried IED / blast / grenade

The company designs and constructs bespoke trials programmes in collaboration with engineers and technical authorities as and when required for non-standard, novel or customer-specific tests.

Ballistic test and evaluation equipment

In addition to conducting T&E activities, Hephaestus designs and produces its own range of test equipment for ballistic and blast trials. These are supplied via industry leading instrumentation partners and include:

  • Universal receivers, recoil pates and firing equipment, including test guns up to 30mm
  • Poof barrels for all major rifle and pistol calibres, including NATO EPVAT
  • Environmental chambers, for armour and ammunition conditioning
  • NIJ 0101.06 impact, immersion testers and soft armour tumblers (to suit environmental chambers)
  • Pressure measurement equipment (Nato codified)
  • Firing tables, XY frames (gun and target) and ballistic backstops
  • Biometrically representative weapon test mounts
  • High-speed video lighting and instrumentation accessories
  • Extraction, ventilation and range lighting
  • FSP’s (AEP-2920)
  • Test ammunition and reloading equipment
  • Ammunition surrogates, including 25mm x 137mm APDS and 30mm x 165mm AP-T
  • Test grenades, including DM31, DM51 and DTG5

Armour and ballistic material design and evaluation services

Hephaestus is an established SME for all areas of armour, ballistics, and survivability, providing clients with in-depth advice and technical support.

The company’s experience comprises threat analysis, solution specifications and production of finished products, with additional expertise in the design and qualification of armour systems and protective materials. Also available is full sub-contract manufacture project management, including full vehicles, through our network products when required to suit all applications.

Hephaestus’ services include armour design consultancy, development of commercialisation plans, qualification / batch test data review, qualification planning / project management, reverse engineering / exploitation, and attack cause / effects analysis. Hephaestus offers forensic reverse engineering of armour and projectile surrogate design services for protective systems at all levels.

About Hephaestus Consulting

Hephaestus headquarters are based in Reading, UK, lead by Dr Paul Bourke who has extensive experience as a result of a career within the UK MoD’s science and development branch (DSTL) and commercial industry. The company’s clients are based throughout the UK and Europe and include armour systems manufacturers and integrators, armoured vehicle manufacturers and critical civil infrastructure projects.

Hephaestus has more than a decade of experience in government and industry applications, including stab and slash-resistant PPE garments, protecting against IED blast and anti-tank munitions. It also delivers services such as design, test and evaluation, as well as total design project management.

White Papers

  • Ballistic Test Equipment

    Through top-tier manufacturing partners Hephaestus is able to supply to order ballistic test barrels in any calibre up to 14.5mm. Manufactured from the highest-grade materials with cut rifling, Hephaestus barrels provide market-leading performance, durability and longevity.

  • Abnormal Threat Services

    Hephaestus Consulting specialises in providing test and evaluation services for not only established standards but also novel, improvised or otherwise unusual threats / environments.


Hephaestus Consulting
Davidson House
The Forbury
Reading RG1 3EU
United Kingdom

Fax Number