Tuesday, October 22, 2013New Technology a Potential Game Changer for Strengthening Army’s Defense Against Improvised Explosive Devices
Major General H.R. McMaster, Commanding General, U.S. Army
Maneuver Center of Excellence, receives an update on the Monolithic Hull Cooperative
Development Project at the Alcoa Defense display during the annual Association of the United
States Army (AUSA) in Washington, D.C. Alcoans Sherri McCleary, Eric
Roegner and Rick Pennycuick explain the technology and benefits possible from
such large single piece aluminum forgings to ground combat vehicles.
Read Alcoa press release
Posted at 4:33:11 PM | Permalink
| TrackbackLatest Alcoa Armor Now Specified by U.S. Army Research Lab For Highest Strength, Troop Protection in Military Vehicles
Alcoa announced its latest armor product is now specified for use by the U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL) for use in U.S. military vehicles. Alcoa’s ArmX® 5456-H151 armor plate meets the U.S. military’s highest performance standards for strength, blast absorption, and ballistics resistance for armored combat vehicles where weldability is a material requirement. Alcoa aluminum and armor have been used by the military for decades in vehicles ranging from the Bradley Fighting Vehicle to the Humvee.
“Alcoa’s military-grade aluminum alloys and products have helped the U.S. military protect troops for generations,” said Mark Vrablec, President of Global Aerospace, Transportation and Industrial Rolled Products at Alcoa. “Alcoa’s latest innovation allows military vehicle manufacturers to continue building with the highest level of durability and troop protection through welding processes when assembling the vehicle, or performing repairs in the field.
“This new product offers more than 20 percent improvement in strength compared with the baseline 5083-H131 weldable armor plate, as well as improved ballistic and blast performance,” added Vrablec.
Alcoa’s 5456-H151 armor plate, formerly referred to as CR56, joins the family of Alcoa next-generation ArmX® brand armor solutions (click here for more). Alcoa’s ArmX® 5456-H151 armor plate was developed by scientists at the Alcoa Technical Center, the world’s largest light metals innovation and R&D center located outside Pittsburgh, Pa., in collaboration with metallurgists and production engineers at Alcoa Davenport Works, the world’s premier aerospace, defense, and automotive rolling mill. ArmX® 5456-H151 armor plate will be produced at Alcoa Davenport Works, where manufacturing and quality control testing is conducted to ensure the military’s highest specifications for weldable aluminum armor plate are met.
Alcoa’s ArmX® 5456-H151 armor was tested and has been successfully demonstrated on the U.S. Army’s Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator vehicle, known as FED ALPHA, a prototype vehicle that Alcoa helped develop to demonstrate lightweight, fuel-efficient technologies while maintaining vehicle durability and troop safety (click for more information on the FED vehicle). FED ALPHA’s lightweight aluminum structure makes the vehicle up to 10 percent lighter than a comparably sized steel vehicle and reduces fuel consumption by 6-7 percent.
For information on Alcoa Defense, please visit:http://www.alcoa.com/defense
For information on Alcoa’s innovations, please visit:http://www.alcoa.com/innovation
Editor’s Note: Caption for accompanying photo: Alcoa’s newest armor alloy -- Alcoa’s ArmX® 5456-H151 armor -- is now specified for use by the U.S. Army Research Lab (ARL) for use in U.S. military vehicles. Alcoa’s ArmX 5456-H151 armor was demonstrated on the U.S. Army’s Fuel Efficient Ground Vehicle Demonstrator (FED ALPHA), shown here.
About Alcoa Defense
Alcoa Defense partners with industry leaders to design systems and materials that increase the speed, reach, agility and survivability of military platforms. In addition to delivering lightweight, innovative solutions in multiple product forms, Alcoa Defense manufactures subassemblies, prototypes and complete aluminum structures that original equipment manufacturers can integrate into their platforms for land, air and sea. More information can be found at AlcoaDefense.com.
Posted at 10:16:51 AM | Permalink
| TrackbackMonday, October 21, 2013Alcoa, U.S. Army to Design Stronger Hulls to Better Withstand Bombs
By Jennifer Booton
Published October 21, 2013
Aluminum maker Alcoa (AA) struck a deal with the U.S. Army on Monday to design a new hull for ground combat vehicles that can better withstand improvised explosive devices and help save soldiers' lives. [read Alcoa press release]
The New York City-based company says it will create the world’s largest single-piece aluminum hull -- rather than having multiple panels -- to protect against the growing threat of IEDs that pose a critical threat to troops operating on the ground in combat zones.
Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"For decades, the Army has recognized the survivability benefits of a single-piece hull due to its thickness, size and shape for ground combat vehicles," Dr. Ernest Chin of the Army Research Laboratory said in a statement. "Our collaborative effort to develop continuous and seamless aluminum hull technology has the potential to be a game changer for how combat vehicles are designed and made to better protect our soldiers."
One hull will have significantly improved blast protection and damage resistance compared with today’s hulls that have more welded seams. It is also expected to have lower manufacturing costs thanks to its lighter weight and decreased assembly time.
The initiative, a part of the Army’s Affordable Protection form Objective Threats program, was created to improve the military’s defense against modern-day threats, such as IEDs, using advanced and affordable technologies.
Over the next 18 months, Alcoa Defense, the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency will coordinate R&D efforts with Alcoa scientists to refine the hull design and develop alloy requirements.
They will then work with the company’s engineers to produce 20- by 7-foot demonstrator hulls to validate the performance benefits.
Alcoa has worked with the U.S. military before, including helping the Air Force extend the life of its fleet by developing previously unavailable replacement parts as well as developing a lighter, lower-cost, single-piece forging for the Joint Strike Fighter bulkhead.
Posted at 3:17:28 PM | Permalink
| TrackbackAlcoa Defense Shows Affordable Spectrum of Products at Huge U.S. Expo
The Alcoa Defense Value Proposition and our spectrum of products to fit tightening military budgets are on display as the Association of the United States Army (AUSA) annual meeting and exposition in Washington, D.C.
In a time of sequestration and budget cuts, Alcoa is committed to the market with the largest portfolio of options at a range of prices, says Rick Pennycuick, Vice President, Business Development for Alcoa Defense. And AUSA is the ideal place to display it.
"This event includes 700 Army and defense industry exhibitors. Not only are we able to talk with key decision makers, but also the people who determine the future requirements of the defense of our nation. The third population at AUSA is the research and development scientists associated with all the Army labs. There is nothing else like this all year," Pennycuick said.
"At AUSA, you can talk to small businesses and the largest of the large OEMs," he continued. "The Army brings its booths and exhibits, and you can see the latest and greatest things happening in large weapons systems. It's a professional development forum extraordinaire."
As the October 21-23 event approached, nearly all of the invitations extended to Army officials and defense contractors had been accepted.
"And this was during furlough," Pennycuick said. "That's because we understand the requirements community, the acquisition professionals, and we lead with our affordable technology."
Alcoa's booth will demonstrate its technologies and capabilities for ground combat systems, small arms and rotorcraft, as well as those that apply to tactical vehicle fleets. Additionally, it will showcase the capabilities of Alcoa Castings, Alcoa Fastening Systems, Alcoa Forgings & Extrusions and Alcoa Building Solutions.
"Shows such as AUSA can be very hectic, as we meet with members from the requirements and R&D communities as well as OEMs," said Alcoa Defense Business Analyst Niraj Patel. "As a result, throughout the day we ensure that our booth is staffed by teammates from across Alcoa who are well versed and can speak to our defense-specific technologies and product forms.
"Some visitors come by the booth simply curious as to what we do, while others wish to talk to us about potential collaborations, or to better understand the applications of our products/technologies, or even to propose business opportunities. We also use the booth to touch base with our private sector partners with whom we have established relationships."
Posted at 1:50:01 PM | Permalink
| TrackbackAlcoa, U.S. Army to Develop World’s Largest Single-Piece Aluminum Hull for Combat Vehicles to Improve Troop Protection
New Technology a Potential Game Changer for Strengthening Army’s Defense Against Improvised Explosive Devices
Alcoa and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have launched a cooperative effort to develop an aluminum solution to a grave threat to soldier safety: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). The solution, a single-piece aluminum hull for ground combat vehicles, would replace today’s assembled hulls and deliver even greater strength and durability. In addition to safety benefits, the single-piece hull would reduce vehicle weight and assembly time, and, therefore, overall cost.
"For decades, the Army has recognized the survivability benefits of a single-piece hull due to its thickness, size and shape for ground combat vehicles," said Dr. Ernest Chin of the Army Research Laboratory. "Our collaborative effort to develop continuous and seamless aluminum hull technology has the potential to be a game changer for how combat vehicles are designed and made to better protect our soldiers."
Alcoa’s single-piece aluminum hull would improve combat vehicle performance through:
- Improved blast protection: A single-piece hull would eliminate welded seams used in today’s manufacturing processes, which is expected to significantly improve protection. The single-piece hull would cover the entire lower section of any combat vehicle.
- Increased damage resistance: The use of more blast-absorbent Alcoa alloys is expected to further increase damage resistance.
- Efficient design: Forging hulls as one unit would facilitate three-dimensional shaping, allowing Alcoa to tailor the thickness where needed to maximize protection and allow for weight savings.
- Cost savings: The structure is expected to reduce costs over the life of the vehicle by increasing fuel efficiency through lightweighting and eliminating assembly time and complexity.
“Alcoa has helped the U.S. military stay ahead of emerging threats by innovating durable, lightweight aluminum technologies since World War I,” said Ray Kilmer, Alcoa Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer. “Our experts are now developing the world’s largest, high-strength aluminum hull for combat vehicles to better defend against IEDs, the greatest threat our troops face in Afghanistan, while meeting the Army’s affordability needs.”
The Army Research Laboratory, in partnership with Alcoa Defense, initiated the program after Alcoa modeled significant performance advantages of the single-piece hull. Alcoa also brings proven advanced materials expertise and experience forging the world’s largest aluminum structures. This initiative is part of the Army’s Affordable Protection from Objective Threats program, created to improve the military’s defense against modern-day threats, such as IEDs, using affordable, advanced manufacturing technologies. IEDs are a critical threat against soldiers in combat zones.
Hull Development and the Alcoa Advantage
During the next 18 months, Alcoa Defense, the Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM) and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) will coordinate research and development efforts with scientists at the Alcoa Technical Center, the world’s largest light metals R&D facility, to refine the hull design and develop the alloy requirements. Alcoa Defense will then work with engineers at Alcoa Forgings and Extrusions in Cleveland to produce 20- by 7-foot demonstrator hulls to validate the performance benefits. These hulls will be forged using Alcoa Cleveland’s 50,000-ton forging press—one of two heavy closed die forging presses of this size in the United States and a strategically important asset to the Nation’s defense.
This latest project is only one of a portfolio of ways in which Alcoa has supported the United States defense effort with innovations across air, land and sea platforms. The following are a few examples:
Applying its commercial aerospace expertise, Alcoa has helped the Air Force extend the life of its fleet, including aircraft developed more than 50 years ago. Alcoa developed previously unavailable replacement parts using new alloys that have increased fleet damage tolerance and corrosion resistance at an affordable price, helping the Air Force improve its fleet while avoiding approximately $100 million in costs to purchase new aircraft.
Alcoa developed a lighter, lower-cost, single-piece forging for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) bulkhead, enabling the JSF to meet exacting government weight targets and improve affordability.
In addition, Alcoa has provided a number of innovative technologies and materials to improve the performance of Army vehicles, such as the Heavy Equipment Transport and Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck, providing increased soldier protection while making the vehicles more lightweight, energy efficient and durable.
For information on Alcoa’s innovations, please visit: http://www.alcoa.com/innovation For information on Alcoa Defense, please visit: http://www.alcoa.com/defense
Editor’s Note: Caption for accompanying photo: Alcoa and the U.S. Army Research Laboratory have launched a cooperative effort to develop the world’s largest single-piece aluminum hull for ground combat vehicles, shown here, to improve the military’s defense against a grave threat to soldier safety: Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Posted at 10:15:21 AM | Permalink