The test center has been a member of VPAM (Vereinigung der Prüfstellen für Angriffshemmende Materialien und Konstruktionen / association of test centers for bullet-proof materials and construction) since its foundation. This association unites mostly governmental test centers and institutions independent from companies (neutral) which act in the field of drawing up guidelines for testing bullet-proof materials and construction, as well as their actual testing. The VPAM was founded in autumn 1999 on the initiative of Dr. Dr. Beat Kneubühl, one of Europe’s leading ballisticians. It was a fusion of official (civil and military) test centers of 5 European states which tested bullet-resistant, stab and impact resistant protective equipment according to existing national and international standards. Further governmental test and procurement agencies have meanwhile joined the VPAM and hence the following members belong to the VPAM:

• armasuisse W+T, Thun (CH)
• ARWT Amt für Rüstung und Wehrtechnik (A)
• Beschussamt Mellrichstadt (D)
• Beschussamt München(D)
• Beschussamt Ulm (D)
• DHPol Deutsche Hochschule der Polizei, Münster (D)
• RMA Ecole royale militaire, Chaire Système d'arme et balistique, Brüssel, (B)
• Höhere Technische Bundeslehr- und Versuchsanstalt (HTBLVA) Ferlach (A)
• TNO Defence, Security and Safety, Rijswijk, (NL)
• FOR Stadtpolizei Zürich (CH)
• WIWeB Wehrwissenschaftliches Institut für Werk- und Betriebsstoffe (D)

The VPAM pursues the purpose of fostering the exchange of experience, the mutual support in technical issues and the process of informing one another. Among other things, a common formation of opinion concerning central questions of testing bullet- and stab-resistant materials (e.g. the development and implementation of new norms and guidelines) should be facilitated.

European norms which describe and determine bullet resistant tests exist only for a limited number of materials constructions yet. Thus, the EN 1063 exists for glasses and the EN 1522/23 for windows, doorframes and shutters.

Since considerably more materials and constructions need to be tested for their bullet resistance (think of e.g. bullet-proof vehicles or protective vests), the VPAM has set itself the further goal of working out and publishing own respective guidelines, which determine the implementation of such tests. The German language was declared mandatory for the VPAM guidelines. Reproducible results on the one hand and market transparency for clients and users on the other hand are ensured by these test guidelines, since they get the opportunity to comparably and reproducibly evaluate products of different suppliers in an objective way.

The members of the VPAM are independent and committed to neutrality. The test centers, which are members of the VPAM, work according to the relevant quality standards EN ISO/IEC 17025 (general requirements for the competencies of test laboratories) and EN 45011 (general requirements for authorities conducting product certification systems).

Test devices such as projectiles or plasticine, which is used as background material when firing at protective vests, can be procured jointly, so that all test centers work under equal conditions.

Interlaboratory tests, where all test centers conducts tests with the same protective material and under equal conditions, are carried out annually, and the results are then compared with each other. In case of diverging results, the causes are identified and respective measures are initiated. Thus, coherent professional expertise and test quality can be guaranteed.

The existing VPAM guidelines are constantly kept up to date and adapted, and are hence adjusted to the actual test and customer requirements.

In the meetings, all current product-specific test guidelines

  • bullet-resistant sheet-like materials
  • specially protected vehicles – bullet resistance
  • specially protected vehicles – explosive effect resistance
  • bullet-resistant helmet
  • ballistic protective vests
  • testing of materials and constructions for the prevention of repercussing and bouncing elements
  • test guideline stab and impact protection

which are based on the

  • general test principles for ballistic material, construction and product tests

are discussed.
Solution approaches are developed in work group meetings and are then discussed and adopted at the meetings in spring and autumn, which take place at the members by turns.

For further information on the VPAM please visit www.vpam.eu.

Furthermore, the VA is also a member of VSVA (Verband Staatlicher VersuchsAnstalten an Höheren Technischen Lehranstalten / association of governmental test centers at higher technical schools). This serves as an exchange of ideas and experiences between the VA at higher vocational schools (HTL) and represents their interests especially towards the BMUKK.

For further information on the VSVA please visit www.vsva.at.

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