Partnering opportunity

UK-developed ultra-high hardness lightweight steel for armour is available for licence


A technology transfer organisation in the UK that specialises in the commercialisation of defence research has developed a lightweight steel ideally suited for appliqué (retrofitted) armour. This steel provides a low-cost and more easily machinable alternative to current armour plate while providing the same level of ballistics performance. The company is offering a license agreement to steel manufacturers and security/defence products manufacturers.

Partner sought

The company is looking to licence its patented armour steel to steel manufacturers and/or armour suppliers in the defence and security industries.


Retrofitted, or appliqué armour for fighting vehicles is both expensive and adds weight to the platform. A UK technology transfer organisation, specialised in commercialisation of intellectual property generated from defence research into civilian application, has developed a low cost ultra-high hardness steel that provides an alternative to current protective armour plate. During live fire trials it has demonstrated performance matching that of current high hardness armour steels and some ceramic armours. The new armour steel, known as Super Bainite Steel (SBS), is a high performance steel with a ballistic performance at least twice that of conventional Rolled Homogenous Armour (RHA). It is both ultra-hard (600 Brinell) and highly effective against small arms fire. SBS has advantages over existing high hardness steels as it has lower manufacturing costs and can be more readily formed into shapes other than flat plate. Shaping can enhance the protection of appliqué armoured vehicles as the armour can better fit the vehicle’s contours, improve the continuity of the armoured surface, and allow greater coverage. The reduced weight can deliver the same level of protection with a 50% weight saving, or alternatively, greater protection for the same weight. When used for armour plate SBS is perforated to introduce a large number of edges which disrupt the path of incoming projectiles and in turn significantly reduce their lethality. These perforations not only improve the ballistic performance, but also reduce weight and minimises crack propagation which gives protection agains multiple shots. In addition to armoured vehicle protection, the new ultra-high hardness lightweight steel has multiple applications, e.g. in compound (fortification) protection, security barriers, and other wear resistant steel components such as digger buckets. The company is looking to offer licence agreement to steel manufacturers and security and defence products suppliers.

Advantages and innovations

• Half the weight for the same level of protection compared with Rolled Homogenous Armour (RHA). • Ballistics performance meets the European and NATO industry standards. • Low cost alternative due to its low chrome and nickel composition. • Readily machinable in pearlite state or final form using conventional tooling. • Simple manufacturing process.

Development stage

Already on the market

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

Patents granted

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