Defense Systems

INL applies our capabilities in vulnerability analysis and our full-scale explosives testing facilities combined with our award-winning technology and fabrication departments to create a unique location for developing and testing new protective systems for military forces, law-enforcement agencies, homeland security personnel and industry partners.



INL has a National Security Test Range, where full–scale infrastructure systems can be analyzed and tested under real–world conditions. The flexibility of the test range accommodates custom test setups for diverse development and testing campaigns.

INL’s test range capabilities are regularly utilized by DOE to gather data for vulnerability assessments and security plans. Modeling and simulation experts utilize a variety of numerical codes to simulate ballistic and explosive events.

Armor and Materials Research

INL engineers and materials scientists are designing, validating, and manufacturing unique armor prototypes that increase protection while simultaneously reducing weight and production costs. Over the last 25 years, many of the lab’s armor designs have been used around the world to safeguard people, vehicles, and facilities.


Abrams Battle Tank Armor

Since 1984, INL’s Specific Manufacturing Capability (SMC) has been the lead manufacturer of armor packages for the U.S. Army’s Abrams main battle tank. SMC has the ability to provide independent technical evaluations and solutions to manufacturing, engineering, and material science for a variety of programs and customers. Key features include:

• Isolated, secure location
• Limited run to full-scale production
• Specialize in bonding similar and dissimilar materials
• Seasoned technical experts with years of experience


Under the strictest security, safety, and environmental requirements, SMC has excelled in on-time deliveries of armor packages for the nation’s elite main battle tank. Our proven expertise and infrastructure investments make SMC an essential survivability resource for the nation.

Video: Flash X-ray 

The flash X-ray system can see through smoke and fire to reveal how a projectile or weapon interacts with armor at the exact moment of impact. See a narrated slideshow from a flash X-ray demonstration.