The Netherlands, 17 November 2014 - A new solar panel system for Defense Forces provides ballistic protection and is lighter and more portable than systems currently available. The PowerArmor™ unit from IDG Europe has low-reflectance solar panels protected by an anti-ballistic surface made in an exceptionally strong unidirectional fiber-reinforced composite.
The composite is based on an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber (UHMWPE) produced by DSM Dyneema and branded as Dyneema®, the world’s strongest fiber™. It replaces the aluminum normally used for portable solar panels, which provides no ballistic protection. IDG says this is the first time that solar panels have been given such a high level of ballistic protection. Panels made in Dyneema® also weigh around 20% less than aluminum panels of the same thickness.
DSM Dyneema and IDG Europe cooperated closely in IDG’s development of the dual-purpose system, intended to power electrical and electronic equipment used by armed forces in the field. The combination of ultra-light, low profile (anti-glare) solar panels and anti-ballistic panels with Dyneema® results in a system capable of providing energy and protection ranging from fragmentation to high-power rifle ammunition.
IDG Europe says that the switch from aluminum for the general-purpose stand-alone solar panels also meets calls from the market for lightweight units with high environmental resistance.
“As Defense Forces continue to carry more and more electronic systems into dangerous, inhospitable and isolated places, the need to keep portable electronic devices operable at all times in hostile environments is essential,” says Göran Johnson, CEO at IDG Europe. “With PowerArmor™, we think that we have a winning combination of solar panels that supply power and provide protection. We believe its chances are very good, especially as the two individual products were already being independently considered—and in some cases used in practice—by various Special Forces around the world.”
“Dyneema® offers the lightest armor protection materials in the market,” says David Cordova, Vice President Business Development for DSM Dyneema – Life Protection. “The combination of Dyneema® with the innovative low-glare IDG solar panels provides a unique value proposition to military personnel.”
IDG Europe introduced the PowerArmor™ concept at IESMA 2014, the conference and exhibition on Innovative Energy Solutions for Military Applications that took place in Vilnius, Lithuania, on November 12-14. IEASMA 2014 is organized by the NATO Energy Security Centre of Excellence, and the DELTA State Military Scientific Technical Center of the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia.