US Army Research Centre Unveils New Composite Hoods

20 May 2005

The U.S. Army's Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) has unveiled new composite hoods for the M35A3 1/2-ton truck and HMMWV. The composite hood along with a number of other TARDEC vehicle safety and survivability technologies currently in theatre, will be on display this week at the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) Logistics Symposium in Washington, D.C.

The composite M35A3 hoods, developed in conjunction with the University of Delaware - Center for Composite Materials, address the size constraints resulting from the A2 block upgrade to the A3. TARDEC cannibalized the A2 steel hood and riveted two extensions onto it in order to produce a reliable, durable, corrosion-resistant replacement hood for the M35A3. To date, ten of these hoods were installed for a field trial with the 44th Signal Battalion in Manheim Germany, where they received positive Soldier feedback. One hundred more will be sent to depots, and issued to units in need of new hoods.

""The joint expeditionary warfighter must withstand a myriad of threats in a war zone,"" said Dr. Richard McClelland, director of TARDEC. ""Vehicle safety and survivability are paramount, as the tactical vehicles our troops go into battle with are often their first line of defence. From researching the next generation of add-on-armour and composite vehicle parts to the rapid servicing of vehicle parts in theatre, TARDEC has established a vital warfighter support capability that effectively adapts to the ever-changing military environment.""

The composite HMMWV hoods address the need for a durable, modular, lightweight replacement for cracked, brittle traditional HMMWV hoods with damaged corners currently in theatre. TARDEC, in conjunction with the University of Delaware and TPI composites, developed a three-piece hood assembly that allows the corners of the hood - often the most damaged section - to be replaced individually without needing to replace the entire hood.

TARDEC will also showcase a Zero Pressure Run-Flat Tyre for both the HMMWV and Stryker fleets. The carbon fibre run-flat concept -- which is 25 percent lighter than the current design -- allows for the continuous functioning of vehicles in all operating conditions even if the tyre receives damage from rifle rounds, mines, rocky terrain or conditions that could cause damage to the current tyre systems. This tyre does not require air pressure to function normally, therefore while operating in the ""airless"" mode the tyre will acquire no loss of ride, speed capabilities, or distance capabilities. The tyre has nearly all of the same operating characteristics as the current pneumatic tyre without the need for any air pressure in the tyre.

TARDEC, headquartered at the Detroit Arsenal, Warren, Michigan, is the nation's laboratory for advanced military automotive technology. TARDEC's mission is to research, develop, engineer, leverage, and integrate advanced technology into ground systems and support equipment throughout the life cycle. TARDEC's 1,100 associates develop and maintain vehicles for all U.S. Armed Forces.

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