Saint-Gobain Crystals has been awarded a contract for the production and delivery of its Sapphire Transparent Armor System for integration into the US Army and Marine Corps' M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket Launcher (HIMARS) system.
Under the terms of the $20m contract, the company will supply large sapphire armour sheets that will be used for the production of HIMARS bulletproof windshields and door windows for a three year period.
Saint-Gobain Crystals global sales and marketing director Natesh Krishnan said the contract followed after the sapphire-glass armour solution successfully met the army's rigorous performance requirements.
"Our sapphire armour provides superior ballistic performance combined with weight reduction, enhanced transmission capabilities for night vision and sand abrasion resistance," Krishnan added.
"As sapphire is second in hardness only to diamond and is chemically inert, it is excellent for use in sandy desert conditions, and resists etching from gases emitted after a rocket launch."
Made of large sheets of sapphire laminated with several layers of glass and polycarbonate, the system can resist multiple hits by armour-piercing threats in the battlefield.
Designed to replace the military vehicle's legacy glass-glass armours, it offers more than 50% weight savings, improved night vision effectiveness, as well as increased lifetime durability in difficult environments, including the desert.
Mounted on a standard army medium tactical vehicle (MTV) truck, 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.
Manufacturing work under the contract will be conducted at Saint-Gobain's facility in Milford, New Hampshire, US, while the delivery schedule has not been disclosed.
Image: A US Army High Mobility Artillery Rocket System being readied for launch. Photo: courtesy of Spc Russell J Good.