Innovation for optimal and safe operation at the front line

Protection, munitions and weapons

The military and civil forces that protect us from the wide variety of threats in urban and rural environments require state-of-the-art protection, munitions and weapons in order to fulfil their missions effectively and keep our societies safe. From the gear they wear to the vehicles they operate to the strategies they employ, only the highest levels of protection will suffice. For more than 75 years, TNO has been a leader in Research & Development that drives innovation in these domains.

Ensuring survivability

The modern battlefield and the modern adversary take many forms. The lines between military operations and civil protection are becoming increasingly blurred, and the threats increasingly complicated. From terrorism to piracy, and from geopolitical instability to competition for resources, the threat landscape demands more and more from our military, police and first responders. In turn, we must prepare them for these demands with the highest levels of protection available. On land, at sea, in the air and even in space.

Acknowledging the complexity

TNO applies its expertise to create a comprehensive protection model that takes both tangible and intangible aspects of missions into account. Our knowledge, innovations, assessments and resources enable us to innovate at the crossroads of protection, mission goals, and cost-efficiency. And our aim is to provide optimal personal and platform protection and weapons systems to enable mission completion, minimal collateral damage and a safe return home.

Putting expertise to work

For more than 75 years, TNO has been a leading, independent institute for Research & Development in the field of protection, munitions and weapons (PMW). We develop operational methodologies, strategies and solutions for deployment of state-of-the-art technologies that protect and defend in missions and operations.

We also prepare military and first responders for situations in which the actual risk of an incident or attack is low, but the social or economic impact or consequences are high. In these cases, vigilance and preparedness are of utmost importance.

Focusing on humans

First and foremost, our work focuses on protecting the people who put themselves in harm’s way to defend our liberty. And that begins with developing physical, personal protection solutions that minimise injury and loss of life. We also focus on solutions that improve the quality of life for injured soldiers and responders involved in armed conflicts, such as IED attacks.

Both public sector officials and private sector developers must invest in ensuring that our forces are stronger, better prepared, suitably equipped and sufficiently agile to face up to constantly evolving challenges.

Louk Absil

Director Protection, munitions and weapons

Safeguarding essential assets

Beyond personal protective equipment, we develop and enhance innovations in the domains of infrastructure and (weapon) platforms, such as vehicles. Successful mission completion, after all, includes safe transportation of troops, minimal collateral damage and effective operation under challenging circumstances. Protective measures on these platforms must be lightweight and take up as little space as possible, whilst also remaining affordable and – of course – effective. The ability of vehicles and other platforms to remain operational after attack is of utmost importance to mission success.

In addition, society’s dependence on critical infrastructure – such as buildings, industrial complexes, tunnels and bridges, harbours, public works and public transport – must be protected from both accidental and intentional destruction due to explosions or attack.

TNO divides its work in the platform domain into three critical areas:

Anticipating new threats

In our constantly evolving society, new technologies and conflicts breed new possibilities for attack. We are therefore developing innovative systems that can adapt to new threats, anticipate accidents and incidents, and ensure swift and decisive response.

Our work contributes to countering explosive threats and CBRN protection, but also to advanced protective materials and process safety solutions. We also have extensive knowledge of the propellants, explosives and pyrotechnics domain.

Optimising weapons and munitions

In addition to protecting our valuable human and physical assets, the best defence is often an effective offence. That’s why TNO also works to ensure that weapon systems are precise, effective and cause proportional damage to the opponent. All while minimising collateral damage.

Starting with weapon system control and analysis and expanding to world-class ballistics research, TNO aims to equip our forces with the most effective tools for mission completion. Including the firepower for optimal combat performance, and the highest levels of ammunition safety.

In addition, new weapon systems, like hypersonics and high-energy lasers, are expected to be in use within the next decade. Countermeasures for these new weapons are currently in development.

State-of-the-art facilities

TNO has some of the most highly advanced weapons and materials testing facilities in Europe. In our comprehensive and state-of-the-art facilities, our research comes to life in tangible and practical solutions for our clients.

Facilities include the Weapon Effects and Protection Center, with a Vehicle Test Hall, Ballistics Testing Centre, and High-Energy Laser Laboratory for testing related to laser weapon technology. In addition, our BSL3 High Tox Laboratory and facilities for testing energetic materials, these cutting-edge facilities ensure thorough and comprehensive testing, evaluation and improvement of weapon systems, protective components and vehicles.

Partnering for a safer tomorrow

Safety and security do not stop at our borders. So TNO not only works closely with the Dutch Ministry of Defence and civil authorities, but also with the European Defence Agency (EDA), NATO and OPCW to explore globally relevant solutions to modern defence challenges.

As an independent R&D partner, we also work with foreign Ministries of Defence and the international defence industry (both large players and SMEs) to develop effective solutions.

We assist our partners with cost-effective and safe acquisition, maintenance and use of protection equipment, weapon systems and ammunition. We are also active partners in the development of new and innovative protection and weapon systems.

All our partners benefit from our unique history, multidisciplinary expertise, novel points of view and insightful outlook on the future of weapon systems and threats. They trust us to test and improve their innovations in a secure, private and fully equipped environment.

Disclaimer: all of our projects and R&D are subject to governmental Export Control.

Get inspired

14 resultaten, getoond 1 t/m 5

Protection materials


In mission and weapon-platform development, lighter is always better. TNO has been working on the trade-off between weight and protection level for many years.

Personal protection


What injuries can be expected due to a bullet impact on a helmet? How does a bullet, explosion or grenade (IED) affect the human body? What protection level is provided by bullet proof vests and how can this be improved? Can feasible requirements for personal protection be specified given a specific threat range?

Infrastructure protection and survivability


Infrastructures, such as buildings, protective structures, industrial complexes, tunnels, harbours and pipelines, are a vital part of modern society, all of which are extremely vulnerable to the effects of an explosion.

Statement regarding circulating TNO test reports with alleged NIJ certification of armour plates

28 July 2022

It has come to our attention that there are armour plates circulating online with test reports claiming they’re NIJ 0101.06 IV SA certified and tested by TNO. Please note that this is false and misleading information. TNO does not issue NIJ (National Institute of Justice) certificates. The test protocol for NIJ certification requires multiple samples and can only take place in a US laboratory.

Weapon systems


We determine the performance of weapon systems. Government and industry use our assessments to make choices and implement innovations.