An electric “force field” for armoured vehicles that vaporises anti-tank grenades and shells on impact has been developed by scientists at the UK Ministry of Defence.

The “electric armour” has been developed in an attempt to make tanks and other armoured vehicles lighter and less vulnerable to anti-tank grenade launchers such as those used by the Taliban and al-Qa’eda fighters in Afghanistan.

It could be fitted to the light tanks and armoured personnel carriers that will replace the heavy Challenger II tanks and Warrior APCs in one of the two British armoured divisions.

The ubiquitous RPG-7 anti-tank grenade launcher can be picked up for a mere $10 in most of the world’s trouble spots but is capable of destroying a tank and killing its crew. When the grenade hits the tank, its “shaped-charge” warhead fires a jet of hot copper into the target at around 1,000mph. This is capable of penetrating more than a foot of conventional solid steel armour.

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