Homemade Armored Vehicles

Written by paul bragulla
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Homemade Armored Vehicles
All armoured vehicles are designed using the same principles. (military tank at the fortaleza image by robert lerich from Fotolia.com)

Armoured vehicle design has come a long way since the muddy fields of WWI. All such designs, however, follow the same basic principles and labour under the same constraints, regardless of whether the vehicle is designed by a hobbyist or a defence contractor.

Basic Design Issues

Homemade armoured vehicles typically use a stock civilian vehicle as a base. Some important considerations at this stage are what degree of protection the design is meant to afford the occupants, what materials are available for armour, and how it will be affixed to the frame (rivets, bolts, welds).

Weight Constraint

One of the most difficult constraints for homemade designs to cope with is weigh. Real armoured vehicles weigh as much as 80 times that of an average sedan. Even if you are starting from a heavy-duty truck, the amount of armour you can add has a hard upper limit at the carrying capacity of the suspension and wheels.

Armour Geometry

The above constraints make armouring a whole vehicle virtually impractical. Instead, armour only the most important parts, and only in the angles from which the vehicle is most likely to take fire. A good tip is to slope the armour instead of having it vertical to the ground. This deflects bullets and increases the effective thickness of the armour.

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