Fuel Tank Protection Systems
The FIRE panel was created to
inhibit explosions and prevent catastrophic fires in the fuel tanks of
aircraft and ground vehicles during an attack.
As vehicle crew compartments become more protected, attacks are directed
to other vulnerable parts of the vehicle, including the fuel tank. The
fuel tank has increasingly become the target of hostilities due to the
flammability of the contents as well as the possibility of an explosion.
The explosion and ensuing fire typically incapacitates the vehicle,
forcing the crew from out of the protection of the hardened compartment.
FIRE Panel was designed by Firetrace Aerospace to protect fuel tanks
form explosion and catastrophic fire following the impact of a variety
of threats, including small arms fire, explosive ordnance and IEDs. It
can be applied in the field, and requires no special tools or training.
The panel can be molded to protect virtually any size or shape of a fuel
cell. It can be designed from a single panel, to protect a small or
mid-sized application or a series of panels, to protect a larger
surface. The panel weighs only 25% of the weight of a comparable armor
shield. It also costs considerably less than standard armor.
Unlike an armor shield, the FIRE panel is not designed to stop the
threat from penetrating the fuel tank but rather to inhibit the
explosion and prevent a fire from such an event. The panel is fabricated
from a blend of polymers featuring chambers filled with fire suppressing
powder. When the panel suffers a high-energy impact (by shrapnel or
round) the suppressant is released around and into the impact area thus
proceeding rather than reacting to a potential fire. The vehicle,
through damaged, is able to leave the engagement under its own power and
can be easily repaired and returned to service.
On September 13th,
The US Army Tank automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM) awarded
Firetrace Aerospace a US$3.8 million contract to install 164
FIRE Panels kits on its Heavy Equipment Transporter (HET) vehicles.
Similar devices are being evaluated by the USMC
for its MTVRs. The same
technology is also available to protect jerry cans in the field.