Saint-Gobain Crystals has delivered the 100th set of sapphire-engineered armour for the US Army and Marine Corps' M142 high mobility artillery rocket launcher (HIMARS) system.
Delivered as part of a $20m contract awarded by the army in October 2012, the next-generation, transparent armour is designed to enhance safety and durability of HIMARS's bulletproof windshields and door windows.
Made of large sheets of sapphire laminated with several layers of glass and polycarbonate, the system will help combat vehicles resist multiple hits by armour-piercing threats in the battlefield.
Designed to replace the military vehicle's legacy glass-glass armours, the armour offers more than a 50% reduction in weight, improved night vision, as well as increased lifetime durability in difficult environments, including the desert.
US Army field artillery launchers product manager Lieutenant Colonel Bryan Salyers said the sapphire-glass armour solution had addressed the army's demanding performance requirements and delivered a higher level of safety, durability and visibility for military personnel.
''Ensuring our combat vehicles are equipped with the most advanced technology available is critical to the US Army and Marine Corps mission and the safety of all military personnel,'' Salyers said.
Saint-Gobain Crystals global sales and marketing director Natesh Krishnan said: ''Years of research and development have led to this very rewarding moment in which we finally see the technology applied and know that our military men and women will benefit."
Mounted on a standard army medium tactical vehicle (MTV) truck, the M142 HIMARS is a light multiple rocket launcher designed to help troops in engagement and destruction of enemy artillery, air defence concentrations, trucks, as well as light armour and personnel carriers.
Saint-Gobain will manufacture and supply armour for a total of 540 vehicles from its facility in Milford, New Hampshire, US, over the course of the three-year contract.
Image: A high mobility artillery rocket system fires the US Army's new GMLRS rocket during testing at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, US. Photo: courtesy of US Army.