The US Army is experimenting with new, advanced composites, to improve
vehicle and body armor, providing lighter, and more effective protection from
different threats, including bullets, fragments, IEDs and mines.
One of the
most promising materials is the new high strength M5 fiber, developed by Akzo Nobel central
research labs and currently produced by Magellan Systems International. It has
extraordinary potential for use in armor systems for personnel and vehicles,
flame and thermal protection, as well as in high performance structural
composites. Based on initial tests, it is estimated that fragmentation
protective armor systems based on M5 will reduce the areal density of the
ballistic component of these systems by approximately 40-60% over Kevlar KM2
fabric at the same level of protection. Potential Army applications of the fiber
include fragmentation vests and helmets, composites for use in conjunction with
ceramic materials for small arms protection and structural composites for
vehicles and aircraft.
enables the fabrication of advanced lightweight composites into hard and soft
ballistic armor. M5 offers significant advantages over both steel and carbon,
which is currently used for fabrication of aerospace and automotive structural
parts. When development reaches maturity, the M5 fiber is expected to offer
much higher protection levels, and improved environmental (UV), and fire
resistance. In April 2005 DuPont acquired majority holding in Magellan Systems
International, developer of the M-5 fiber.