White Paper Abstract

Armoured Vehicle Designs Adapting to Evolving Threat Scenarios

The development and war scenes in Ukraine have taken capabilities and the roles of military armoured vehicles into new considerations. Like they have proven, threat landscapes on the modern battlefields can be complex and evolving — They truly challenge survivability, combat effectiveness and protection of the armoured vehicles and their crew. The golden triangle of mobility, protection, and firepower has always been a traditional dilemma in armored combat vehicles. Especially now, the obvious defects in survivability and protection against modern land and airborne threats, agile tactics and logistical challenges have questioned the armament, and even the whole role and use of armoured vehicles.

On the vehicle industry side, the stakeholders have already engaged their efforts in armored vehicle designs. They need to consider a large spectrum of national and international mission profiles – both asymmetric scenarios and fighting, surviving, and winning conventional close combats on variable terrains. Simultaneously, the industry has been pushed to look for lower unit and life cycle costs, reduced complexity, development times and technical risks for the innovative designs. Overall, modernization of vehicles has emphasized the adaptation of vehicle platforms to various purposes and modular, fixed, or semifixed, solutions with effortless integration.  A modular approach has been taken to electronic architecture and equipment and armour, including an open system architecture to ease up implementation of new equipment. This has forced the stakeholders to take a deeper look at the related logistical burdens as well.

The capabilities in defence against chemical, biological and radio-nuclear threats (CBRN) belong to the protection and survivability game of the armoured vehicles. How could CBRN defence be included in armoured vehicles, and how could this scaled and modular approach be applied for CBRN monitoring?

The Principles of CBRN Defence

Over the years, active protection systems have been developed to protect armoured vehicles from a variety of anti-tank missiles, grenades, rockets, and rounds. In fact, active approach is the key also for encountering typically underestimated chemical, biological and radio-nuclear threats that can easily not only eliminate, but incapacitate armoured vehicle fleets and their crew, and lead to time consuming decontamination procedures. The principles for aiming to minimize losses, protect forces and retain effective and fast operations rely on

  • Avoidance of CBRN contamination
  • Protection (armored vehicles, equipment and the crew)
  • Decontamination (restoring the functionality).

The avoidance of CBRN contamination, in its turn, includes four specific steps:

  • implementation of defensive measures,
  • warning and reporting of CBRN incidents
  • locating, identifying, tracking and predicting CBRN threats and hazards
  • limiting the exposure to CBRN hazards.

If CBRN hazards cannot be avoided, there shall be active monitoring and protection in place for armored vehicles and their personnel against the tricky impacts of CBRN exposure. The role and operational context of different armored vehicles in peace and wartime missions affect naturally the type and the scale of protection and CBRN solutions implemented. In the armored vehicles with highly specialized CBRN related reconnaissance activities, the need for versatile CBRN solutions is more than obvious, but active CBRN defence has its place also in armoured vehicle categories dedicated for attacking/defending, performing troop transport or logistics support and command and control, and beyond.

The views and opinions expressed in Bertin Environics Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Environics Oy. Any content provided by the authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual, neither they serve as a scientific statement.


Katja Kiukas

(FORMER) CBRN Application Manager

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