The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory in the UK is developing a new type of armor for vehicles that is cheaper and lighter to produce. It is made from ultra hard steel and covered in holes.
The holes, or the edges of the holes, deflect bullets making them tumble so the “blunt” side hits the armor instead of the front. This spreads out the kinetic energy over the length of the bullet instead of it being concentrated at the front.
I don’t think this would have any effect on shaped charges, which are a mass of hot metal (usually copper), so this type of armor would probably be used in vehicles that would not be armored against shaped charges, such as RPG rounds, in the first place, for example VIP transport vehicles.
From the press release:
It may seem like a strange solution but introducing holes to vehicle armour can actually provide a ective advantage. The trick is to think of them as circular ‘edges’ rather than holes. When a bullet hits an edge, it gets deflected and turns from a sharp projectile into a blunt fragment which makes it much easier to stop. The introduction of holes also reduces weight. As a result perforated Super Bainite steel armour is ballistically very efficient.
Invented, designed and manufactured in the UK, Super Bainite is experimental high performance armour steel developed to save the lives of UK Armed Forces. Traditionally the MOD has utilised offshore suppliers to fulfil its specialist armour requirements. However, following successful industrial production trials, directed by Dstl in partnership with Corus and Bodycote, the UK is now well placed to develop a secure onshore supply of specialist, high hardness steel armour.
Hat Tip: Defense Talk and “null”.