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US Navy to Receive Composite Vehicle Armour

27 August 2004

American troops in Iraq have been modifying their Humvees over the past two months with new bullet-resistant windshields and spray-on armour protection.

The armour upgrade, already protecting warfighters in Iraq, is the product of a fast-response team, including Homeland Defense, Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL), and the Naval Warfare Centre Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD).

The team was formed to evaluate and develop new armour concepts in response to a recent urgent request by MCWL, Quantico, Va., for identification, testing, and selection of alternative materials for bullet resistant windshields and armour upgrades.

The approved armour protection solution rapidly evolved through the fast-response team’s collaboration with industry, and utilization of Dahlgren’s test and evaluation facilities. Spray-on armour coating and specially developed windshields resistant to bullets were deployed to warfighters within two months.

“Our test and evaluation capabilities are especially well suited for quick-reaction projects of this nature,” said Richard Mason, head of the Potomac River Test Range at NSWCDD. “This armour enhancement is a perfect example, and it’s having an immediate impact in saving the lives of our troops who are serving in Iraq.”

In addition, the team has been developing new higher performance armour using ceramic, polymer, and steel composites, that are low cost and very high performance to resist IED attacks.

“We were the Marine Corp’s agent to help them select the right product,” said Dr. Raymond Gamache, the Dahlgren Division scientist responsible for the armour testing, development, and selection. “This armour coating, selected as the best overall performer, will enhance the performance of the bare steel armour presently on the vehicles by deflecting most small arms fire and a good percentage of explosive devices,” said Gamache. “Once our new composite material is completed, we expect a much higher performance protection against the IEDs.”

To evaluate both the windshields and armour concepts, Dahlgren has developed a computer-controlled gun facility to both quickly and accurately assess the performance of each material tested.

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