They are light, easily obtainable and deadly: shoulder-launched rocket propelled grenades (RPG) designed to disable tanks. TNO experts develop effective methods and materials to offer our military personnel and embassies protection against this weapon. In our unique facilities TNO carries out these tests for defence and companies with a focus on protective products.

In concrete terms, this has led to a special net for which TNO developed the concept and material. This net, manufactured by a Dutch company, captures the RPG projectile and uses a special construction to immediately disable its ‘shaped charge’ action. The net deforms the projectile in a way that causes a short-circuit, preventing the destructive shaped charge (copper jet) from penetrating a target at seven thousand metres per second. The innovative net protects military personnel on foreign missions and embassies in high-risk areas.

International interest

“This is a nice example of cooperation in the triple helix of Defence, TNO knowledge and the innovative power of our industry. Branches of foreign armed forces and companies also make regular use of our knowledge and facilities, which are internationally unique,” says Boy Kodde, who is responsible for business development of ballistics research at TNO.

Protect and disable

The TNO ballistics lab has a bunker where the effect of all kinds of firearms, munitions and explosives can be tested along with anti-ballistic materials and products. TNO also acts as an independent certification institute. Testing munitions systems like RPGs takes place in the bunker over a distance of around fifty metres in either live situations or in static set-ups. The goal of firing RPGs is twofold: to establish the effect on a variety of protective materials and to develop methods to disable the RPGs themselves.

Up to the millionth of a second

During testing high-speed cameras and X-ray equipment record precisely up to the millionth of a second and millimetre what happens when the projectile hits the target: the deformation that occurs, the reaction of the material or combinations of materials, the angle and speed of the projectile.

If you are a supplier of protective products like armour or clothing and want to have these products tested or if you want to procure such materials and want to find out whether they comply with your requirements, contact Louk Absil.



Ing. Bastiaan Geluk

  • Protection
  • Munitions and Weapons