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S+T Research Program 4 - Impact, Protection and Safety

Defence-relevant agency and security topics are researched within the «Impact, Protection and Safety» research program. The technological and scientific expertise in these areas is to be maintained for the benefit of the Swiss Armed Forces.

armasuisse W+T Forschungsprogramm Wirkung, Schutz und Sicherheit

The development of defences in the fields of chemical, kinetic, thermal and electromagnetic weapons are monitored and technology demonstrators are investigated. To minimise the consequences of attacks on our forces and networks, defence concepts are drawn up and reviewed. Expertise is developed in a targeted manner with the help of research projects and partnerships.

The following research topics should be mentioned here:

Materials science and the ageing of plastics

Nowadays, plastics are used in countless protection systems (protective vests, helmets, etc.). These materials are sensitive to light, moisture and heat. Research is being carried out into the influence that the environment has on various plastics as well as the consequences for material characteristics that are relevant to ballistics.

NEMP protection (Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse)

Nuclear electromagnetic pulse is indispensable for critical facilities and systems. Research is being carried out to determine whether NEMP protection requirements could be reduced. This would result in significant cost savings in value preservation measures.

Active protective agents

Active protective agents significantly increase the survival probability of mobile platforms by destroying an attacking system before it hits the target. The improvements in sensor systems and processing power have resulted in significant advances being made in this area in recent years. When combined with a traditional base armour, active protection systems generate a very high level of protection with a moderate amount of additional weight.

Protection against IEDs

If parties face each other in combat and one is much stronger than the other, cost-effective and self-made weapons are often used. Protective measures against explosive charges and the protection of light armoured vehicles and containers against ballistic weapons and mines must be adapted accordingly to the threats.

The list above is only an excerpt from the current research topics. The basic principles of traditional ballistic and explosive weapons are being further developed, and the advances made in the development of commonly used weapons and defensive measures are constantly being monitored.

The research program thus develops the technological and scientific expertise that is required in procurement projects related to weapons and defence systems. This also results in knowledge being developed in the area of ammunition monitoring and therefore for the safe handling of ammunition and explosives.

Competence areas



A comprehensive overview and knowledge of the potential agency of current and future threat and weapon systems; basic and specialist expertise in the internal, external and terminal ballistics of kinetic-thermal weapons and electromagnetic effectors; specialist safety expertise in the handling and storage of explosives, including vulnerability, ageing and environmental impact. Development of the basic competence in the area of changes to the properties of plastics used in military technology due to environmental impacts.

WTF_FoPrgm4_KF2_mobile Objekte

Basic and specialist knowledge for the evaluation of modern defence concepts for mobile platforms; ballistic protection; protection against mines and electromagnetic effectors; reduction of the size and volume of armour while maintaining a similar level of protection; the ballistic and thermal properties of modern composite materials; the electromagnetic shielding potential of micro and nanomaterials. Electromagnetic compatibility of the sensors installed in vehicles and containers.


Knowledge of the protection of infrastructures and buildings against kinetic-thermal and electromagnetic effectors; evaluation of the dynamic properties of building materials such as fibre-reinforced concrete; concepts for the structural hardening of buildings; shielding of important infrastructures against high-energy electromagnetic fields.


The modelling and simulation of external and terminal ballistics of kinetic-thermal effectors; the calculation of electromagnetic effects, including non-ionising radiation; basic principles for material models; numerical simulation of highly dynamic phenomena. The development of systems analysis models to estimate the impact of warheads or to evaluate the vulnerability of ground-based and airborne platforms.

Technology demonstrators


In cooperation with RUAG Defence, the possibility of protecting oneself actively from fin-stabilised ammunition was examined. For this purpose, trials with 30mm to 120mm ammunition were performed. The results illustrate the feasibility of such active protection systems and show how spatial and temporal precision must be achieved in order to obtain the necessary protective effect.


The experimental sensor enables spatial all-round coverage, which is particularly interesting for surveillance tasks. Observation areas in different directions can be covered simultaneously.

WTF_FoPrgm4_TD3 Thermobarics_2

Model projectiles with easily reproducible terminal ballistic characteristics have been developed in cooperation with GDELS/Mowag. The projectiles should display similar characteristics to those IED projectiles found in Iraq and Afghanistan. The protective capacity of passive protective systems is thus examined and possibly improved.


An active and wide-ranging network of partners from the professional world, academia, universities and other research institutes in Switzerland and abroad is utilised and maintained in order to develop expertise. In order to keep track of skills and capabilities, close contact and an exchange of information is maintained with users and the planning, procurement and test centres of the DDPS.

Research Program Manager

Research Manager
Dr. André Koch

Our «Impact, Protection and Safety» research program manager is delighted at your interest.

Science and Technology Research Management
and Operations Research
Feuerwerkerstrasse 39
CH-3602 Thun
+41 58 468 29 11

Research Programm Manager

Dr. André Koch


Science and Technology

Research Management
and Operations Research
Feuerwerkerstrasse 39
CH-3602 Thun