CCM-TPI Partnership Contributes to Successful All Composite Military Vehicle

26 March 2010

CCM’s longstanding partnership with TPI Composites has contributed to the company’s All Composite Military Vehicle (ACMV) passing its durability and road tests.

Constructed from lightweight composite materials and yielding a structural chassis and body containing no metal, the prototype vehicle is designed to traverse treacherous terrain while transporting troops and cargo, provide enhanced protection for soldiers, add payload capacity, reduce corrosion and maintenance expenses, and improve fuel efficiency.

CCM and TPI have partnered for many years in developing lightweight, high-performance structures for the military. Their joint projects have focused on managing the integration of composites into systems as well as demonstrating the advantages of advanced composites.

“We are really excited about TPI’s accomplishments in developing and implementing advanced composite materials technology into the ACMV,” says CCM Director Jack Gillespie. “This is a full validation demonstrating that composites can meet or even exceed mission requirements for light tactical vehicles while also reducing weight, enhancing performance, increasing durability and reducing life-cycle costs.”

“The foundation for the success story starts with our longstanding collaboration with the Army Research Laboratory via the ARL Materials Center of Excellence and Composites Applied Research and Technology projects,” Gillespie continues, “as well as our Office of Naval Research Advanced Materials Intelligent Processing Center, which establishes new materials, processes and modelling and simulation capabilities. That research foundation has proven invaluable in increasing the overall technology readiness level to enable advanced composite technologies to be transitioned to projects like the ACMV program.”

“Equally important to success is our contract with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, which funded the ACMV advanced technology demonstrator and our relationship with TPI as a valued member of our Industrial Consortium for nearly a decade. The project has spanned the entire path from research to development to transition into applications through a university-industry-government collaboration.”

Scottsdale, Arizona-based TPI is currently conducting blast testing of the vehicle. “We are very pleased with the performance of the All Composite Military Vehicle,” said company CEO Steve Lockard. “Not only will this vehicle give our troops increased mobility, but its lighter, high strength composition will allow for significant fuel efficiency and potentially enable the addition of enhanced armour or greater payload. This is a huge step forward in military vehicle engineering.”

“Our collaboration with TPI has yielded some very exciting results and provided significant new technologies to the Army’s tactical wheeled vehicle fleet,” says CCM Assistant Director Steve Andersen. The list includes high-performance, three- dimensionally reinforced HMMWV hoods, MRAP hoods based on the original HMMWV hood material and processing approach, and a lightweight all-composite armour-ready cab for the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck (HEMTT)

In addition, CCM’s work in soldier protection research fed into the Center’s construction of armoured doors that were mounted on the ACMV vehicle during testing, validating the durability of lightweight composite armour for vehicle applications.

“These demonstration and insertion successes are having a very positive impact on the future viability of composite materials for military vehicle applications,” says Andersen. “The results showcase the value of the Army’s investment into the development and application of these lightweight composite materials technologies, where 40-50 percent weight savings over aluminium solutions have been achieved.”

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