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Britain's Charles shown Tata's new military-grade steel

December 15, 2012

A member of staff shows Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (R) the blast furnace controls during a visit to the Tata Steel Works in Port Talbot, South Wales on December 14, 2012. Prince Charles visit Tata Steel's steelworks where he met employees and members of the community, before visiting the Blast Furnace Control Room. — Photo by AFP

PORT TALBOT: Britain's Prince Charles got the lowdown Friday on a new kind of steel which could transform safety for soldiers battling the Taliban in Afganistan.

Charles, the heir to the throne, visited a factory in Port Talbot, south Wales, where Super Bainite has been developed by the Ministry of Defence and Indian steelmaking giant Tata Steel.

The lightweight, super-strength anti-ballistic steel has a lattice form, which could be used to armour-plate troop carriers and tanks.

Dozens of British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan by improvised explosive devices buried under roads by Taliban insurgents.

Charles, the Prince of Wales, was shown a video about the new product as he toured the factory.

“It will give our troops a level of protection they have not had before and which nobody in the world offers. It is unique to the UK,” a Tata spokesman said. “We thought that it would interest the Prince of Wales because, of course, he has two sons in the military.”

His oldest son, Prince William, is a search and rescue helicopter pilot in northwest Wales, while Prince Harry is serving as an attack helicopter pilot in Afghanistan.

Charles arrived on the Royal Train. The visit was to mark the building of a new blast furnace at the plant.

“It is always an enormous pleasure for me to come back here and visit this incredible place,” Charles told a group of senior Tata Steel workers. “Having heard a little about it, I understand that it will become one of the most sophisticated blast furnaces in Europe.”

Tata Steel, part of the sprawling Tata Group conglomerate, became one of the world's biggest steelmakers after buying Anglo-Dutch company Corus for $13.7 billion in 2007.