The composite is based on an ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene fiber (UHMWPE) produced by DSM Dyneema and branded as Dyneema. It replaces the aluminium 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 aluminium panels of the same thickness.
The dual-purpose system is 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 aluminium for the general-purpose stand-alone solar panels also meets calls from the market for lightweight units with high environmental resistance.
“As defence forces 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.”
“Dyneema offers the lightest armour protection materials in the market,” claims David Cordova, Vice President Business Development for DSM Dyneema - Life Protection. “The combination of Dyneema with the innovative low-glare IDG solar panels provides an 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 12-14 November 2014. IEASMA 2014 is organised 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.