|Manufacturer:||British Aerospace Defence, Royal Ordnance Guns & Vehicles|
|Product type:||Ballistic Protection|
Development of the Royal Ordnance ROMOR-A started some 10 years ago and it is an applique Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) package that can be installed on wheeled and tracked vehicles to give a high level of protection against High Explosive Anti-Tank (HEAT) attack.
Most of Royal Ordnance's armour work is carried out at their Nottingham facility.
ROMOR-A consists of two parts, the actual tiles and the mounting system. The latter is normally bolted or welded onto the vehicle and the ERA tiles are then bolted in place.
The actual ERA tiles consist of a layer of explosive which is sandwiched between two plates. When hit, the explosive drives the two plates apart and breaks up the jet of metal which the shaped charge directs at the target.
Royal Ordnance uses Demex 200 as the explosive filling which is claimed to be naturally insensitive and intrinsically safe.
So far Royal Ordnance has developed 23 types of ROMOR-A to meet a wide range of operational requirements.
The first production order for ROMOR-A was from the British Army which, at short notice, purchased approximately 250 sets in 1990/91 for vehicles taking part in Operation Desert Storm.
Vickers Defence Challenger 1 MBTs were provided with ROMOR-A protection for the glacis and nose (Type 20 and 21) while the Centurion Armoured Vehicle Royal Engineers (AVREs) were provided with ROMOR-A for their turrets. The armour packages were designed and built in the UK and fitted in Saudi Arabia before the land offensive.
While the Centurion AVRE has now been phased out of service, the Challenger 1 remains in service, although these armour packages are not fitted in peacetime. These armour packages were fitted with the Challenger 1 MBTs for operations in Kosovo in mid-1999. The Challenger will soon be phased out of British Army service and replaced by Challenger 2.
A number of other countries have also purchased batches of ROMOR-A including Japan.
Following a competition, in mid-1993, Royal package for the IVECO/Otobreda Centauro (8 x 8) armoured car/tank destroyer operating in Somalia as part of the UN peacekeeping forces.
Royal Ordnance designed, manufactured and delivered this ROMOR-A package in less than three months. The first customer request for information was made on 3 June with the armour packages being delivered late in August.
One of the key requirements of the Centauro ROMOR-A design was that there would be no structural changes to the actual hulhof the vehicle and this was achieved.
A total of 20 ROMOR-A vehicle sets were supplied by Royal Ordnance, 10 direct to Italy and 10 direct to Somalia where they were rapidly installed.
Subsequent trials in the UK showed that these ROMOR-A packages provided protection against Russian Federation and Associated States (CIS) RPG-7 type weapons.
The main advantages of ROMOR-A have been summarised by Royal Ordnance as:
(1) It reduces the performance of a 127 mm shaped charge' by up to 95 per cent and is effective against a wide range of weapons
(2) The armour is not activated by small arms fire
(3) It can be cut or drilled without risk of/detonation
(4) Panels are easy to store and handle
(5) It can be installed under field conditions without any special tools
(6) It has minimal effect on vehicle handling and suspension.
Although Royal Ordnance Nottingham is the overall design authority within Royal Ordnance, other Royal Ordnance facilities have also been involved including the Future Systems Group at Shrivenham and Bridgwater which produces the explosive used in the tiles.
So far both production applications of ROMOR-A have been the result of urgent operational requirements.
The ideal solution would be to design the armour system and build the armour tiles which would then be stored until required. The actual vehicle would already befitted with the mounting points for the tiles so these could be rapidly fitted in times of emergency.