Military wants bulletproof, dimmable windows to protect VIPs

British company to develop bullet-resistant, instantly dimmable windows to provide privacy and protection for Defense Department's VIPs.


The U.S. Department of Defense has contracted for the development of bullet resistant windows that dim instantly with a touch of a button, providing "on-demand" light control, privacy, and protection from heat, glare, and ultraviolet rays.

GKN Aerospace was awarded the $425,000 contract by the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office's VIP Protection Subgroup to incorporate dimmable films with armored glass to provide a "SmartShade" that conceals the location and identity of VIPs traveling in armored vehicles.

The Redditch, U.K.-based company will wed its bullet resistant glazing expertise with a "suspended particle device" technology called SPD-SmartGlass, licensed to it by Research Frontiers. GKN is the same company that designed and produced the windows for the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.

SmartGlass is already available for architectural and automotive applications, and the developers hope the armored variety will soon be an option on your car, too (view demo).

"This new development will have its initial application in the global counterterrorism market for government VIP armored personnel vehicles but also has real value in the civilian VIP market," said William Fischer, GKN's vice president of technology. "These SmartShade windows will give a level of control, protection, and privacy for vehicle occupants not available until now," he said.

The VIP Protection Subgroup's job is to provide "security enhancing technology" for your betters: recent projects include bulletproof cubicles, portable, air-conditioned rooms for VIPs to hold "sensitive discussions," and canine body armor (PDF).

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