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UD-CCM Provides Lightweight Advanced Composites for U.S. Army Prototype Ground Vehicle

20 January 2003

The successful implementation of the Army’s Future Combat System-Wheeled (FCS-W) prototype vehicle at the annual meeting of the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) on October 21-23 was the result of a University of Delaware Center for Composite Materials collaborative effort with CTC Johnstown, the Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and United Defense LP.

The FCS-W, the first of its kind, is an 8x8 armored ground vehicle, featuring a combination of advanced technologies, emerging materials. The FCS-W explores practical alternatives in weight optimization, interior volume, survivability, crew interface, and drive interface.

UD-CCM provided advanced materials, processes and structural testing of the hull structure of the FCS-W. The hull is an integrated hybrid structure combining the properties of titanium, aluminum, lithium and structural composite armor. ""We molded and manufactured all the polymer composite modules here at UD-CCM,"" says Dr. Nicholas Shevchenko of UD-CCM. The modules were eventually bonded onto a stiffened frame, which was manufactured at CTC. Ultimately, Shevchenko says, the module integration into the frame “was a ‘glove fit.’” The FCS-W design provides a high degree of modularity to meet the needs of FCS.

Shevchenko is the team leader in UD-CCM’s Integrated Hybrid Structures project under UD-CCM's Composite Materials Technology program (established by the Army Research Laboratory in 2001), which transitions promising basic composites science research into composite technology solutions for the Army’s Future Combat Systems and the Objective Force. Collaborative partnerships in research and development with industry, government, and academic partners like UD-CCM made the FCS-W possible in eight months, a record time.

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