Superyacht owners spend millions on the purchase of their vessel, and further on refit.

Considerations going into every last inch of the décor, utilisation of space, comfort and functionality. But, how much thought goes into the physical protection of onboard personnel?

Recent years have seen growing security difficulties across the globe. With the increase in terrorist activity, and pirate attacks still occurring in regions of the world, owners and captains of superyachts must consider these threats and take extra measures to ensure the safety of onboard personnel and assets. The risks to safety from such terrorist attacks is more likely to occur whilst moored in a marina or port, where high profile, publicised events and larger gatherings become a potential target.

With state-of-the-art security systems, trackers, detectors, even onboard security or armed guards, there are an array of options for protecting your yacht. But what of armouring your vessel? Do you envisage bulky, military looking craft? Typically used by frontline forces, add-on (or applique armour), maybe functional, and would protect against a bullet, but is not ideal for the sanctuary of your luxury yacht.

So what further options are available for increasing protection and peace of mind? Having worked with prolific boat builders and designers, ASL GRP a UK based armour manufacturer who is a subject matter expert in the design, supply and integration of armour systems to the commercial marine and superyacht industry.

ASL GRP offer a three stage package for armouring superyachts (or tenders).

1) Design – in direct collaboration with shipyards and customer representatives with particular attention paid to understanding customer requirements.

2) Manufacture  – All manufacture is completed in the UK using highest grade materials of the same type supplied to Military and Police forces.

3) Installation – ASL GRP’s experienced technicians can provide an on-site, on-call installation service or provide the protection product in a way suited to self-installation.

The company’s ballistic consultants possess a unique range of real-life, practical experience from military and civilian sectors. Full threat assessments are carried out and discussed to determine the level of armouring required, and potential areas of a vessel to protect. Where it is just not feasible to ‘armour’ an entire superyacht, key areas such as bridge deck, master suite, critical systems, engine rooms or crew quarters, can all be protected with armour panelling behind the interior fit-out. The armour is not on display,  and will not interfere with the vessels interior decor.

“The material we recommended for use in superyacht protection is Legion Polyethylene. This has numerous advantages over traditional steel armour; It is designed to delaminate, and naturally slow a projectile, capturing the bullet or fragment therefore ensuring no ricochet. Ultra-High Moleculear Weight Polyethylene is one of the strongest man-made fibres yet it weighs 1/8th of the same volume of steel. Furthermore Legion Polyethylene armour is incredibly effective at stopping ballistic threats. ASL GRP’s Legion Polyethylene armour is typically half the weight of the finest Swedish armour steel for the same threat and approaches a quarter of the weight of ship construction steel for the same level of protection. In addition to its ballistic properties Legion Polyethylene also provides useful amounts of thermal and acoustic insulation.” Quotes Dr. Paul Bourke, Director at ASL GRP.

The process:

  • Initial discussions with ASL GRP’s ballistic consulting team to determine potential threat levels.
  • ASL GRP team survey the vessel to ascertain material choice.
  • The ASL GRP team take templates of required protected areas, any ballistic weakpoints in the design highlighted, and any potential installation difficulties.
  • CAD drawings are created and if required, sent to customer for confirmation. A render of the finished project may also be supplied – this is only necessary if a vessel requires external protection.
  • Protection panels and parts are manufactured at ASL GRP’s production site.
  • ASL GRP’s team of engineers install the finished armour products.
  • The internal fit out team are then able to finish the interior in accordance with the yachts style.

 

Can bullet-resistant (ballistic) protection be installed as part of a refit?

Absolutely. ASL GRP can work with shipbuilders to ensure our armour is incorporated at the correct stage. It is beneficial for the ASL GRP team to be involved in the refit at the earliest stage possible so that allowances for ballistic walls or flooring do not hinder the interior team. If you are a designer looking to incorporate armour into your next yacht or tender project, ASL GRP can also manufacture 3D moulded protection to replace what would be original parts.

What does your armour protect against?

We use a range of materials for our armour. These materials are independently tested at certified venues in the UK, to specific threat levels including: BS. EN. 1063, N.I.J 0108.01 and STANAG 4569*. This means we can protect against rounds from small hand guns and assault rifles such as the ubiquitous AK47.Our highest levels of armour can protect against armour piercing sniper rounds (7.62x51mm NATO and 7.62x54R). Our materials also protect against blast and fragmentation that can be caused by a blast from an RPG casing or improvised explosive device.

What areas of a superyacht do you armour?

It is preferable to have the master suite and crew area protected. It is always a good idea to armour an area that can be locked-down and has access to emergency communications. We can work with the owner, captain, shipbuilder/designer to determine which areas of the vessel would be most benefit from being armoured.

Can my design/build team fit the armour themselves?

We recommend that our team install the armour. This is part of our package offered. This way we ensure, there are no ballistic weak points left, and all angles are covered.

Which areas of a tender can you protect?

As weight is such an important factor in armouring a tender, we would look at protecting the vital areas required to keep the vessel moving, so that personnel are able to escape in the event of an attack. Our 3D Moulded Armour or Legion Polyethylene is our best option for tenders, as we can replace original parts of the vessel. So, we would look to protect the engine compartment, console and the wheelhouse.

For an initial conversation or more information on the bespoke solutions provided by ASL GRP, call +44 (0)1983 400730, or email sales@aslgrp.com