Green Defense have been the talk of town for years and PlastPack Defense is doing something about it

Image: Morten Andersen

In 2012 when the Danish troops where heavily engaged in the Afghan province of Helmand the Danish Armed Forces shipped no less than 85.000 iron cases of small arms ammunition to their men and woman on the ground. If they have had the ammunition cases from PlastPack Defense (PPD), the logistics numbers would by far have been the same: 

-  Our plastic lightweight cases would have reduced the need for transportation with 140 tons or almost six full Hercules flights. That equals 461 tons of CO2 and that is why our product meets the European environmental targets until 2050, Jan Engmann, founder and CEO of PPD stresses.

No development for 76 years

However, the plastic cases where not on the market at that time. A market that have been more or less static since the US Army introduced the present iron ammunition case in 1942.  A global standard product that have stayed almost the same for 76 years is what triggered the CEO with a 30-year record of accomplishment in the logistics business: - In 2009-2010 Green Defense was introduced in armed forces around the world and weight was an issue from the beginning. I had a job in a Danish defense company at that time and was surprised to realize that ammunition cases where unchanged for generations. I decided to look for a new solution based on plastic, since it is a material I know very well, Mr. Engmann says.

Support from government and armed forces

After a couple of years of intensive dialogue with both Danish Armed Forces and ammunition industry Jan Engmann was convinced that plastic was the solution and founded PlastPack Defence on January 1st 2012. The small company had to go from idea to proof of concept and that called for assistance: - From an early stage we have received an outstanding assistance from the Danish Armed Forces. The dialogue, public support helped us a lot and so did the technical support we got from Danish Technological Institute. The latter is still involved in our development just like our first costumer Nammo, the CEO of PlastPack Defence says.

Great expectations

Nammo, the Swedish-Finnish-Norwegian ammunition manufacturer, was involved in the development of the plastic ammunition case as a part of an Industrial Cooperation Contract but the company is also PPD’s first customer. The US, UK and Singapore Army has joined Nammo as the first users of plastic ammunition cases. Production facilities are setup in a nearby, small Danish town and Nammo received the first cases in the first quarter of 2016. - I firmly believe that PlastPack Defence will get a fair share of the world market for ammunition cases. Together with Rheinmetall we have started development of a case for 40mm ammunition. Five years from now, we expect to have around 20 products that covers the entire range of ammunition cases on the market and yearly sales around 80 mill. USD. That creates 60 jobs here in Denmark but also jobs around the world at our partner companies, Jan Engmann says.

The PlastPack Defence business model is based on near-market production via international partners; hence, production can be established and stepped up very fast around the world. - Breaking a habit older than most people isn’t easy and iron ammunition cases are not going to go away but plastic is the future and right now we are the only company in the world than can supply, the CEO of PlastPack Defence underlines.


A 68 percent weight reduction is not the only advantage: The PPD plastic ammunition case (back) is also stacked more stable than iron cases (front) and, as empty and filled with sand; they can be utilized as protection since they do not splinter into deadly metal parts when hit by enemy fire.

Image: Morten Andersen

The article

Download the article as pdf