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US Partnership to Develop Advanced Composite Materials for US Military Protection

12 November 2004

Armor Holdings and Florida State University Establish Partnership to Develop Next Generation Extremity Protection Products for U.S. Military.

Armor Holdings’ Aerospace & Defence Group has entered into a cooperative research and development initiative with the Florida Advanced Centre for Composite Technologies (FAC2T) at Florida State University, whereby the two organizations will participate in joint research projects involving advanced materials and composites in an effort to rapidly develop new personnel safety products that improve soldier protection and survivability.

Armor Holdings will combine its industry leading expertise in ballistics and personnel protective systems development with the leading research and technical capabilities of FAC2T to develop new technologies and test and deploy new products that provide protection to the non-torso area of soldiers' bodies, with particular focus on the head, neck, shoulder and arm areas.

The multi-phase partnership, which is entitled, "Development of Advanced Materials and Processes for Soldier Extremity Protection," will include financial underwriting from Armor Holdings, data and technology sharing and joint research activities. The research will pursue two paths: one focused on product development with novel composite processes with high performance materials, and the other focused on materials performance enhancements via nanotube-toughened polymers.

Robert Mecredy, President of the Armor Holdings Aerospace and Defense Group stated, "Dozens and dozens of soldiers are alive or unharmed today thanks to the ceramic small arms protective insert (SAPI) plates that we manufacture for the military. But there is more that can be done to protect beyond the core torso area that is covered by these plates. We are thrilled to be partnering with Florida State University and its Florida Advanced Center for Composite Technologies, one of the leaders in the country in this area of research, and believe our combined efforts will produce results that have a direct, even lifesaving, benefit to soldiers in the field."

The partnership was praised by members of Florida's Congressional delegation who have been active on numerous fronts to advance the cause of and funding for soldier protection.

FAC2T is one of the nation's leading composite technology research laboratories. Its researchers work closely with the Army Research Lab, the Air Force Research Lab, the Office of Naval Research, and major aerospace companies such as Boeing and Lockheed Martin on new materials and manufacturing processes to help enhance national security and defense. It is the only National Science Foundation Industry University Cooperative Research Center in the State of Florida.

Ben Wang, director of FAC2T stated, "Advances in composites have proven to save lives of soldiers on the battlefield and other hostile areas and we know there is so much more that can be done to extend the same protection to extremities that bullet resistant vests offer the torso. As one of the world's leading armor and ballistics products companies, Armor Holdings has unique expertise in actually developing and building these products. By combining Armor Holdings' product development and applied science capabilities with our leading composite research capabilities, we expect to be able to develop technologies that can have an immediate impact on soldier safety. These products can help more soldiers remain among the fighting force or return to civilian life as active, productive members of society."






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