MOSCOW, January 13. /TASS/. A unique armor material made from ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE or UHMW) has been developed in Russia, the Defense Ministry’s official newspaper Krasnaya Zvezda reported Wednesday.
According to the report, first ultra-light composite materials from domestic UHMW fiber have already been produced, and their performance already exceeds those of foreign armor materials. The UHMW is capable of stopping shrapnel travelling at up to 670 meters per second, while Israeli-made UD and US-made aramid Kevlar-based organoplastic can only stop shrapnel travelling at 630 m/s and 480 m/s, correspondingly. The UHMW has stretch strength of 950, while the two abovementioned materials have this parameter at 900 MPa and 800 MPa, correspondingly.
Despite its better protective capabilities, the UHMW features smaller unit mass: the UHMW has the same unit mass as the UD - 0.98 gram per cubic meter, while the US-made material has unit weight of 1.25 gram per cubic meter, the newspaper says.
The key feature of the Russian polyethylene composite armor is its capability to stop assault rifle caliber bullets. Foreign bulletproof vests combine polyethylene armor and ultrahard ceramic plates, the newspaper adds.
First UHMW-based bulletproof vests have already been produced.
The new material, dubbed "Superthread," will be used in armor sets that will replace the Ratnik gear. The new material will make armor sturdier, reduce its cost and replace a significant portion or maybe the entirety of the imported UD material, the report says.