Developed by UK firm Amsafe, Tarian cloth is capable of repelling armor-piercing anti-tank warheads by creating a ‘cushion’ between the vehicle’s exterior and typical armor plating, thereby triggering the explosive early and dispersing the force of the blast across the existing armor.
Traditional slat or metal-bar protection has a similar effect and through it is relatively light in comparison to the primary armor-plating of a vehicle, still has a detrimental effect on mobility and load-capacity. Being 50% lighter than aluminum cage armor and 85% lighter than steel cage options, Tarian (Welsh for "shield") reduces the chance of overloading the vehicle and means that more equipment can be carried and further precautions taken to ensure the safety of the passengers.
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Currently being favored over traditional protection on British combat vehicles, Amsafe approached the UK MOD with its design in 2005 and subsequent trials in Afghanistan have encouraged DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) to order thirty ‘test articles’ at a cost of $100,000.
DARPA is confident that the Dorset company’s research has the potential to solve a very real problem and with additional vehicle-based and static application on the table, Tarian’s modular, replaceable design could well become an essential ingredient in modern warfare.