The US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has partnered with Alcoa to develop a single piece aluminium solution to help enhance safety against improvised explosive devices (IEDs) threats.
Developed as part of army’s affordable potection from objective threats programme, the aluminium hull is claimed to be the world’s largest, and is scheduled to replace the existing assembled hulls of the service’s ground combat vehicles, while offering even greater strength and durability.
Army research laboratory materials manufacturing technology branch chief Dr. Ernest Chin said the army has for decades recognised the survivability benefits of a single-piece hull for ground combat vehicles, due to its thickness, size and shape.
"Our collaborative effort to develop continuous and seamless aluminum hull technology has the potential to be a game changer for how combat vehicles are designed and made to better protect our soldiers," Chin said.
Alcoa executive vice-president and chief technology officer Ray Kilmer said the company has developed innovate durable and lightweight aluminium technologies to keep US military stay ahead of emerging threats since World War I.
”Our experts are now developing the world’s largest, high-strength aluminium hull for combat vehicles to better defend against IEDs, the greatest threat our troops face in Afghanistan, while meeting the army’s affordability needs,” Kilmer said.
The single-piece aluminium hull is expected to enhance combat vehicle performance by improving its blast protection capability and increasing damage resistance.
In addition, the hull will reduce operating costs over the life of the vehicle by increasing fuel efficiency through weight reduction and elimination of assembly time and complexity, according to the company.
The affordable protection from objective threats programme aims to boost the military’s defence against a range of modern-day threats, including IEDs, which pose a critical threat to ground forces during combat operations, using affordable and advanced manufacturing technologies.
Image: The new single piece Aluminium hull is expected to enhance soldier protection against IED threats. Photo: copyright of Alcoa Inc.