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TPI Composites, Inc., manufacturer of large-scale structural composite products, has been awarded a $4.5 million development contract by the U.S. Army to design and build three composite High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles (HMMWV).
The contract was awarded in conjunction with AM General Corporation, the vehicle’s manufacturer. Over the next 18 months, TPI, with AM General’s assistance, will design and build three all-composite HMMWVs, more commonly known as the Humvee, that will significantly reduce overall weight, provide a more durable and mobile vehicle, and allow for maximum armour protection packages on the lighter base platform.
Steve Lockard, CEO of TPI, said, “”We have all heard recent stories about soldiers in Iraq with old HMMWV models that aren’t adequately protected or are too slow and unreliable because of the heavy armour kits attached to them. These older HMMWV models are being used in a manner different than that for which they were designed. This program starts with a clean slate to create a HMMWV that will optimize the vehicle for weight, armour, mine-blast, durability and mobility requirements.””
Craig MacNab, Director of Public Relations from AMG, added, “”AM General has continuously integrated technology into the HMMWV to maintain state of the art capability, such as the currently successful M1114 model. AM General is excited to be working with TPI on this composite HMMWV program. We are eager to see what technical advantages composites can provide to our vehicles and how it can benefit our soldiers.””
Steve Lockard said that during the 18 months development programme, the current processes and design technologies involved will be re-evaluated with the possibility that the Humvee will be completely redesigned using different materials and alternative processes.
Traditionally, the Humvee has bene produced using steel, whilst TPI’s main process technology is the SCRIMP (Seemann Composites Resin Infusion Moulding Process)form of vacuum infusion.
TPI has produced composite materials to address many challenges in the military. In addition to actively developing composite components for the Army’s tactical wheeled vehicles, TPI is developing an all composite cab armoured for complete personnel protection, and will be working on developing a next generation, lightweight all composite vehicle for the U.S. Army.
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