Tata Steel has received orders for more than 200 samples of its perforated armour steel, which has been exported to a number of countries worldwide including Germany, France, the USA and India.

This revolutionary armour steel, formerly known as Super Bainite, has also undergone a number of design improvements and has taken on a new name, PAVISE™ SBS 600P. The name PAVISE has origins in the Middle Ages from the city of Pavia, in Italy, where it referred to a large convex shield, often with a central ridge, used by archers and cross bowmen in the medieval period.

The ballistic performance of PAVISE™ – the way it deals with the effect of projectiles – is at least twice that of conventional rolled homogenous steel armour. The perforated design of the steel creates a large number of edges which disrupt the path of incoming projectiles, significantly reducing their potency.

A challenge Tata Steel has addressed and overcome since the product’s launch in 2011 is how to create the perforations in a cost-efficient way. The former production route involved drilling round holes into hard armour steel, which was difficult and expensive. By developing a process to mechanically punch the metal before the steel is hardened, and by making the holes smaller and narrower, Tata Steel has managed to reduce the cost of the perforation process ten-fold. It is also now possible to bend the steel into tight angles in the perforated condition, before hardening to ultra-high levels of hardness.

One effect of the perforations is that the armour becomes almost transparent at a distance of more than a few metres, due to the size and spacing of the holes – a principle known as the Raleigh Criterion. This means the existing camouflage of the vehicle is not compromised when the sections of PAVISE™ are added.