Over the centuries, the Ancient Roman legionaries wore three types of armour to protect their body trunk against different kinds of weapons.
1. Lorica hamata. It was a chain mail armour, which consisted of small steel rings that were linked together by rivets into a protective metal cloth. Although it was light and flexible, compared to other armour types, the lorica hamata only protected against cutting or slashing blows, but it did not offer protection against stabbing and piercing arrow strikes. It was used from the 5th century BC onwards, until the fall of the Roman Empire in the 5th centruy AD.
2. Lorica squamata. The scale armour was made up of small, leaf-like pieces of steel or bronze sheet that overlapped one another tighly, leaving no open spaces in between. Introduced in the late 4th century BC, it was usually worn by the cavalry and high ranking officers.
3. Lorica segmentata. It was composed of overlapping iron or steel bands held together by leather strips. Introduced in 10 BC, during the reign of Augustus (Octavius), it was used by the Roman heavy infantry. Images of legionaries wearing the lorica segmentata can be seen in bas relief on the Trajan’s Column, depicting the Roman victory in the Dacian Wars. It protected not only against cutting blows but also against knife or sword stabbing.
The Swedish Army introduced in 2014 a new advanced tank camouflage for its Strv 122 (Leopard 2A5) main battle tank. It’s a multispectral camouflage developed by the Swedish firm Saab-Barracuda. Not only is it an effective visual camouflage, but it also protects the tank against radar, infrared, and thermal detection, giving the Strv 122 the capability to spring ambushes on enemy armoured units. This multispectral camouflage also conceal the tank from smart weapons.
The Advanced Modular Armour Protection (AMAP) is a fourth generation composite armor developed by the German firm IBD Deisenroth Engineering. It is used on modern main battle tanks, infantry fighting vehicles, and reconnaissance vehicles. It offers passive protection in different levels. Depending on the need and missions, AMAP modules can be composed of nanoceramics, ceramics, nanometric steel, and aluminum-titanium alloy. Nowadays, it is used in combination with the Active Defense System (ADS), which was conceived to prevent a military vehicle being struck by a fast incoming missile.
The Rolled Homogeneous Armor (RHA) MIL-DTL-12560 is a type of armor consisting of extra-hardened steel, made out of cast steel billets hot-rolled into plates to give it a uniform grain structure. It had been used as the main tank armor until the 1970s and 1980s, when it was replaced by Chobham armor in the M1 Abrams and Challenger 1 main battle tanks, which can resist shaped charge anti-tank weapons. Today, it is used in combination with reactive or pasive composite armor.
Stillbrew armor consists of plates of steel-titanium alloy mounted over the tank cast steel hull or turret structure, with a thick layer of a special type of rubber in between as a sandwich. It was manufactured in England and used for the first time in the 1980s to upgrade the Chieftain Mk 9 into the Mk 10 tank as part of a crew protection package. Although the use of this British tank in the Iraq-Iran War by the Iranian Army was more than satisfactory, destroying many soviet-built Iraqi tanks, some Chieftains were knocked out by Iraqi artillery anti-tank ammunition, which led the British Army to develop the Stillbrew armor.
MEXAS stands for Modular Expandable Armor System, which is a ceramic composite armor designed and developed by IBD Deisenroth, a German firm. Introduced in 1994, MEXAS armor has been used worldwide for the protection of military vehicles. Normally overlaid on rolled homogeneous steel armor, MEXAS is composed of a splinter foil-like specialized Nylon, ceramics (Aluminum oxide), and a backing like kevlar. MEXAS also includes spall-liner.
There are three version of MEXAS armor: MEXAS-L (light), which offers protection against small-calibre rounds and can also be fitted on soft-skinned vehicles like MAN military trucks; MEXAS-M (medium) protects the vehicle against autocannon and RPGs with HEAT warheads. MEXAS-H is for use on heavy combat vehicles, such as main battle tanks. Norwegian M113s and German MAN trucks have been fitted with MEXAS prior their deployment in Kosovo Force. Some Canadian Leopard 1s have been upgraded with MEXAS. Other MEXAS users include Renault 6×6 VAB and German Fuchs APCs, the new German-Dutch GTK/MARV (also known as Boxer) and the Dingo all protected vehicle. Mexas is also utilized as add-on armor for Leopard 2 tanks.
MEXAS is a specially flexible and cost-efficient armor protection concept. The synergistically modular structured system makes it possible to adapt to the vehicle and the various hazard potentials in question. A major benefit is the low areal density brought about by the use of up-to-date materials. The protection can be separately transported and extended by special-purpose modules in the field, within an hour. Hence, the protection concept can be tuned to the specific operative goals for a variety of missions. Repairs can be done in the field to MEXAS in the event of damage.