The LightArmour project is a public sector, industry and academia collaboration that aims to create lightweight and flexible body protection to respond to a variety of threats.

Key Facts

    • The project is part of the Dual Use Technology Exploitation (DUTE) innovation cluster, a £10 million project co-funded by government and industry.

    • The dual-use armour will be used in both defence and civil sector businesses.

    • We are one of seven expert partners from across the supply chain.

Impact of our research

The research, which is in its early stages, aims to develop new lightweight materials for use in ballistic protection that are lower in cost and formable to various shapes for different applications. The project will examine how the materials can be used in a range of applications, from lightweight body armour to vehicle and aerospace protection. 

The LightArmour partners at our ballistic ranges.

Why the research was commissioned

Current armour solutions are heavy and inflexible, potentially inhibiting the movement and efficiency of those who wear it, from military personnel to first responders. This project aims to develop alternative solutions. Using a combination of self-reinforced polymer (SRP) composites and lightweight ceramics, the armour will be designed to protect against a variety of threats, from light firearms to IEDs (improvised explosive devices). A novel moulding system will be developed to produce unique flexible or articulated mouldings for a variety of uses.

Why Cranfield?

We are a world leader in testing and evaluation of ballistic protection. As a centre of research, the university also has extensive knowledge in the end-user spectrum, both within the military and civilian markets.

Facilities used

The research uses the Internal Ballistic Range (IBR) and Small Arms Evaluation Range (SAER) located in the Bashford Ranges at Cranfield University. These ranges are capable of firing a range of ammunition in a controlled environment, which ensures consistency in testing; in addition, a full range of fragmentation can also be conducted. High-speed video can be used in order to witness the effects of the bullet or fragment impacting the target. 

The IBR is accredited by the UK’s Home Office for testing against the Home Office body armour standards for British police, and is also able to test against a range of other national civilian and military standards and specifications.