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Tata Steel’s lightweight armour steel can take a punch

September 03, 2013

Tata Steel has received orders for more than 200 samples of its perforated armour steel, which has been exported to a number of countries worldwide including Germany, France, the USA and India. This revolutionary armour steel, formerly known as Super Bainite, has also undergone a number of design improvements and has taken on a new brand name, PAVISE™ SBS 600P.

The company will be exhibiting its PAVISE™ product at next week’s DSEI show, the world-leading defence and security event, which runs from 10-13 September at the ExCel London exhibition centre.

PAVISE™, which provides an efficient and cost-effective armouring solution for military vehicles, as well as for defended infrastructure such as watch towers or sangars, has now been tested up to STANAG Level 4 to create armour capable of resisting both small arms and heavy machine gun fire with armour-piercing projectiles.

The ballistic performance of PAVISE™ – the way it deals with the effect of projectiles – is at least twice that of conventional rolled homogenous steel armour. The perforated design of the steel creates a large number of edges which disrupt the path of incoming projectiles, significantly reducing their potency.

Henrik Adam, Tata Steel’s Chief Commercial Officer in Europe, said: “Tata Steel has spent significant effort developing this unique product and we are delighted with its performance. As a company we are well positioned to support the market, both in the UK and the wider European markets, and we look forward to receiving the feedback of all the companies currently testing PAVISE™.”

A challenge Tata Steel has addressed and overcome since the product’s launch in 2011 is how to create the perforations in a cost-efficient way. The former production route involved drilling round holes into hard armour steel, which was difficult and expensive. By developing a process to mechanically punch the metal before the steel is hardened, and by making the holes smaller and narrower, Tata Steel has managed to reduce the cost of the perforation process ten-fold. It is also now possible to bend the steel into tight angles in the perforated condition, before hardening to ultra-high levels of hardness.

One effect of the perforations is that the armour becomes almost transparent at a distance of more than a few metres, due to the size and spacing of the holes – a principle known as the Raleigh Criterion. This means the existing camouflage of the vehicle is not compromised when the sections of PAVISE™ are added.

Paul Davies, product marketing manager for PAVISE™ at Tata Steel said: “PAVISE™ offers increased design flexibility to achieve protection against a wide range of threats, without compromising weight or modular performance.

“The number of samples that are already in the field being tested, and the customers that have taken an interest in using them, demonstrate the massive potential this product has for armoured-vehicle programmes.”

Gus King, managing director of Permali Gloucester Ltd, a world leader in the manufacture of composite materials for the defence industry, said: "As part of a complete appliqué armour system we have found PAVISE offers unique benefits in particular areas. Tata Steel can achieve impressive lead times which match our composite materials and therefore allow fast track design of new solutions."

Paul Davies will be available at DSEI on the Tata Steel stand, N9-498 in the Land Zone, for any enquiries about the company’s defence products, including PAVISE™ SBS 600P.


A brief history of PAVISE
The name PAVISE™ has origins in the Middle Ages from the city of Pavia, in Italy, where it referred to a large convex shield, often with a central ridge, used by archers and cross bowmen in the medieval period. It was used as a defensive aid to protect the archer’s body while reloading, especially during the siege and final assault on castles. The three factors important to Middle Age archers – firepower, mobility and protection – are just as relevant in today’s armoured vehicles, and lightweighting and the ability to deflect projectiles successful are key benefits of the current PAVISE™ product. 

About Tata Steel in Europe
The European operations of Tata Steel comprise Europe's second largest steel producer. With the main steelmaking operations in the UK and Netherlands, they supply steel and related services to the construction, automotive, packaging, lifting & excavating, energy & power, aerospace and other demanding markets worldwide. The combined Tata Steel group is one of the world’s largest steel producers, with an aggregate crude steel capacity of more than 28 million tonnes and approximately 80,000 employees across four continents.