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airbag active armor

use an airbag with a steel plate as standoff armor
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I have the idea to try using a very fast inflating airbag, coupled with a hard armor plate and a milimeter wave radar to attempt to stop shaped-charge equipped rockets before they can hit a tank.

The idea is like the slat armor that the military has added onto the (already overweight) stryker vehicle, to give it superior RPG protection. It works by detonating the shaped charge warhead before it can hit the vehicle's armor, causing it to shoot the molten metal jet into the space between the vehicle and the standoff armor, dissapating its energy (mostly) harmlessly

To make this work, the armor must be about half a meter away from the vehicle body. This will, logically, add about a meter to the width of a vehicle. that would not be good on something like a humvee, so mabye this could help.

The system would have a milimeter wave radar pointing out from the vehicle, like most active-defence proposals. when it senses something coming at it at the speed of a rocket, it deploys the airbags on the corresponding side. hopefully, they would pop out faster than the missle would take to hit the vehicle, and would destroy the missile, along with the airbag.

To get the appropriate fast reaction time, you would probably need the airbags to be chemically fired, so they would need to be changed, even if the airbag itself wasn't destroyed.

Lynx2174, Jun 03 2005

(?) Already done. Its at the bottom http://www.national...Israels_%20Main.htm
[10clock, Jun 04 2005]


       // senses something coming at it at the speed of a rocket, it deploys the airbags //   

       This would probably trigger when parking wardens see your meter expire.
Adze, Jun 03 2005

       what, doors not good enough?
Lynx2174, Jun 03 2005

       //airbags to be chemically fired// They already are. The propellant/filler is an explosive.   

       The concept of movable armour is good, but I'd use mechanical linkages. Then you could deploy pre-emptively, re-use if the rocket misses, and replace more easily if damaged.
baconbrain, Jun 03 2005

       Agree with [baconbrain].
justaguy, Jun 03 2005

       I know that the car ones are chemically fired, it uses some toxic explosive stuff, sodium azide i think. if you used compressed gas, you could probably retract and reuse them, but it might have a slower reaction, and that wouldn't be good.
Lynx2174, Jun 04 2005

       I saw on CNN Next that Israel is implementing a system that uses small rockets to shoot down incoming targets. This mixed with the chalom armor devoloped by the brits (worth something finaly) makes tanks pretty much impervious to any conventional attack. Outside of a large mine or a huge bomb. But since the US dominates the air, mines are the only problem. The link I posted only has a small ammount of info on the system itself. I disagree with bacon and the whole concept of this idea. Fixed armor has a given depth to it. Missles and rockets can be told when to detonate. Even if the shield moves out to greet the incoming ordinance the missle does not have to detonate when it hits the airbags. //Then you could deploy pre-emptively, re-use if the rocket misses, and replace more easily if damaged.// baconbrain. A tank with metal feathers that ruffle when it feels an incoming missle haha. Its real easy to get out of a tank and replace chared, bent and siezed joints. Weight? Having a hundred steel plated airbags would require a bunch of little self contained systems. Would this be tacked onto existing armor? or be an entirely new design?
10clock, Jun 04 2005

       I'm pretty sure this already exists, as metal plates fired from the vehicle's skin by explosives. Are you suggesting an improvement on this?
omegatron, Jun 04 2005

       Yes but reactive armor is only effective against HEAT rounds.
10clock, Jun 05 2005

       reactive armor is different than this. reactive armor is useful for the same thing, but it works in an entirely different way. it defeats HEAT rounds by disrupting the metal plasma jet, like Pa've said. this would work like standoff armor, by colliding with the warhead before it hits the vehicle. now, however, there are rockets with two warheads, so that one destroyes the reactive armor, and the other destroyes the vehicle   

       I did not know that such a system existed as omegatron suggests, I had only seen ones that fire explosive rockets at the missile, or actually try to shoot at them.   

       this would be an add-on system. I do not know even if the airbags would need to be steel plated, a strong airbag might be able to destroy a missile.   

       this would also only be good against HEAT rounds. KE would punch straight through it, if it even deployed in time
Lynx2174, Jun 05 2005

       // this would work like standoff armor, by colliding with the warhead before it hits the vehicle   

       That does sound like a good idea. Use something thin that can expand in a wide path, but strong enough to trigger the rocket (assuming they have some kind of nose trigger).   

       Of course this will be defeated quickly by rockets that only trigger on more solid surfaces, etc.
omegatron, Jun 07 2005


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