Thursday, June 24, 2010

Body Armor Award Spotlights Composites

Jun 23, 2010

By Neelam Mathews

A contract awarded by India’s Home Affairs Ministry to MKU, an India-based supplier of body armor, will include Honeywell’s Gold Shield and Spectra Shield composite materials for ballistics protection.

Modernizing India’s police forces has been a top priority following the Mumbai terrorist attacks. The Indian homeland security budget is set to grow by 25% this year, making India one of the fastest-growing markets for homeland security equipment in the world.

The body armor order covers 59,000 jackets that each contain two breast plates. The soft armor containing Gold Shield supposedly can substantially reduce injuries caused by a bullet’s impact, but with improved weight, flexibility and comfort. The breast plates containing Spectra Shield are supposed to offer protection from multiple bullet hits, angle shots and high-velocity rifle rounds. The first shipment of armor is likely to be sent to the Central Reserve Police Force by the end of June.

“Our materials protect law enforcement officials, soldiers and their vehicles in combat zones around the world, and we are proud to bring this technology to India,” said Phil Wojcik, global leader of Honeywell’s Advanced Fibers and Composites business.

The patented Spectra Shield products are manufactured by bonding parallel strands of fiber in place with an advanced resin system. In addition to Spectra fiber, Honeywell adapts this technology to other fibers, including aramid.

Spectra fiber also can be used for high-performance marine applications such as lifting and mooring lines, industrial slings and security netting, as well as for curtains used to protect windows and doors during hurricanes.

Honeywell has a growing presence in India, encompassing five manufacturing locations with more than 10,000 employees. In 2009, Honeywell announced that it would establish a $34 million technology center in Gurgaon, India, for its Specialty Materials business.

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