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TPI Composites General Manager Kevin Weldi poses with the new Humvee  (Source: Associated Press)
New composite Humvees shed 900 pounds of weight

Humvees are synonymous with transporting troops on the ground during times of war. The ubiquitous workhorses are also pretty lacking when it comes to protection from enemy fire and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The U.S. Army in conjunction with AM General Corp. and TPI Composites Inc. are looking to composite materials to give its soldiers a better chance at surviving treacherous working conditions on Iraq.

Its latest test bed is a Humvee that features a frame and body made of composite materials. Resin material is used to bond together balsa wood, carbon reinforcements, fiberglass and foam. The use of composite materials on the Humvee shaves 900 pounds off the usual 10,000 to 12,000 pound vehicle weight.

"We can put the strength where we need it," said TPI Composites CEO Steven Lockard. "Every pound of weight we save, that weight is being added back to the vehicle in armor and mine-blast protection."

Additional armor could be placed under and around the cabin area of the Humvee to protect the passengers, while the composites materials alone could be used for the hood and fenders.

Predictably, the new composite-bodied Humvees are slightly more expensive than their conventional counterparts and the Army still hasn't made a firm commitment to purchasing the vehicles.

With that said, TPI Composites is fully prepared should the Army give the company the green light. "We could ramp up pretty quickly to most any volume that would be desired," said Lockard.

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By FITCamaro on 9/21/2007 8:53:49 AM , Rating: 0
Anything to keep our boys over there safe. Unfortunately politicians are in charge of our military budget, not those who actually ride around in the vehicles. I'm betting the Democrats will not approve the funding for these.

RE: Awesome
By rdeegvainl on 9/21/2007 9:01:04 AM , Rating: 2
Your right, cause there is no way to both support our troops and give them the equipment they need to survive and get a job done.

RE: Awesome
By TomZ on 9/21/2007 9:05:20 AM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure, but I would guess that Congress doesn't have this fine of control over the budget to not fund a specific item like this.

I also think it would be politically risky for the Democrats to not support improving Humvees since most Americans are well aware of the situation with IEDs.

RE: Awesome
By Shoal07 on 9/21/2007 9:19:38 AM , Rating: 2
You'd be wrong. Congressional oversight is very specific. You can't take funds from A to pay for B. Sometimes there are catch all funds that agencies can spend on anything, but anything on an order of magnitude as this would require congressional approval.

RE: Awesome
By Spivonious on 9/21/2007 9:26:17 AM , Rating: 5
I'd prefer not to go even further into debt than we currently are. Our economy stinks and borrowing even more money would just make it worse.

P.S. - I'm a Republican, which used to mean less federal spending.

RE: Awesome
By TomZ on 9/21/2007 10:24:01 AM , Rating: 2
How does government borrowing negatively affect our economy? Seems to me we've had large-scale government borrowing for many years now, and it has been steadily increasing during good times and bad. I don't see any kind of correlation between the two.

RE: Awesome
By sinful on 9/22/2007 1:58:50 PM , Rating: 2
Go look at the actual valuation of the dollar in comparison with other countries to see how it negatively affects our economy (or perhaps more importantly, negatively affects the consumer).

As we spend more and make less, the relative value of the dollar goes down.

So, consider that when you go to someplace like Mexico, one american dollar can buy you a lot of goods & services in Mexico. Now consider what happens if that suddenly the american dollar becomes worth less. All that cheap stuff made in Mexico is now comparatively expensive. As a result, Americans end up paying more money for the same stuf that used to be cheap.

This is a big deal when the vast majority of goods purchased in the US are made in foreign countries.

And when US corporations spend more money and get less overall, it has a major negative impact on our economy.

RE: Awesome
By Ringold on 9/21/2007 1:01:44 PM , Rating: 2
Republican's used to believe in the limited power of federal government more so than spending. While Reagan kept spending under control compared to the rest of the free world, which ramped up spending with abandon, he still sure didn't make any deep cuts in government spending as an example.

The economy, though, far from stinks. People's short-term and myopic view of the economy drives me insane -- have we already forgotten one of the longest, if not the longest, bull-market run in history? 60+ quarters of unbroken economic growth? And to top it all off, now that the economy has started to approach the obligatory down-tick in growth at the far end of the most recent business cycle, the fundamentals, ex-inflation, look fantastic. Even inflation is, this time, driven by factors we can't even control. Unemployment is also at very low levels. The economy is in great shape; a housing market that punishes speculators and outright fools does not make for a bad economy.

TomZ covered the debt thing pretty well, though. I'd add our level of deficit spending is rapidly decreasing, on course to (assuming no Democratic intervention) be balanced by 2012 or so, and is much lower than many other developed countries, such as certain European ones who also face and even more bleak fiscal future mid-century than we do. Surplus spending simply means the government has stolen more money from the people than is necessary -- and it's not likely to just give it back, either.

RE: Awesome
By sinful on 9/22/2007 1:32:03 PM , Rating: 2
Deficit spending decreasing? Are you joking??
That's so factually wrong it is amazing!

Deficit spending is when you have low taxes, and spend more money than what is coming in (via taxes).

Clinton, a democrat, had (relatively) high taxes, and relatively low spending. As a result, the deficit was being reduced.
Bush, a republican, lowered taxes, and got involved in the Iraq war, resulting in EXTREMELY high spending.

Indeed, deficit spending is currently at RECORD levels, and shows no sign of slowing down.

The only thing that would remotely bring this in to line is to end the $7Billion/MONTH war in Iraq and raise taxes.

The republicans want to do neither, and the democrats will (probably) try to do both.

Secondly, I don't know where you get this idea that European countries are worse off; Unlike the US, they have relatively high taxes and low spending, and don't have trillions of dollars in national debt.

Secondly, this 'surplus spending' thing you mention, I presume you meant 'surplus savings', because what you said doesn't make sense.
Finally, the situation of suprlus savings is so far out of reach that it won't be an issue anytime within our lifetime.
Our national debt is in the trillions of dollars, and the interest on that national debt is in the hundreds of billions per year.

In simple terms, it's like having a credit card with $10,000 in debt on it already, spending $1000/month on it, getting charged an interest fee of $1000/month, and then making a payment of $200.
The "break even" point, even if we had a surplus (which we don't), is decades away.

I believe when we actually had a RECORD budget SURPLUS (under Clinton), it was going to be like 30 years or so to pay it all down.
That was before Bush added a few trillion dollars to the national debt.

RE: Awesome
By OrSin on 9/21/07, Rating: 0
RE: Awesome
By TheGreek on 9/21/2007 10:51:41 AM , Rating: 3
You're confusing people with the facts.

Please continue.

RE: Awesome
By Ringold on 9/21/2007 1:11:02 PM , Rating: 1
You say not to make it political, and then blame Republican's, who have partly had to modernize the army after being left a demobilized mess from the Clinton years.

I think people are being ridiculous expecting or even seriously asking for the bleeding-edge, top-notch, latest-greatest most-expensive equipment for our troops. It would be nice, absolutely, and they should be equipped with the best we can offer within reasonable means.. but that said, it would also be virtually unprecedented in modern warfare.

The argument is essentially the same as made by General McClellan, a good enough Union general used at the outset of the Civil War. He never considered his troops to be trained enough, equipped enough, or otherwise ready enough to engage the Confederates, and Lincoln ended up having to sack him and his modern Democrat complaints about equipment and replace him with a string of generals until he found one both competent and pragmatic enough to get the job done. History repeats itself, as the cliche goes; or as the Cylon's say, all that has happened before will happen again. And it is.

Also worth noting that McClellan almost single-handedly ensured Confederate victory through his inaction. As is often the case in US history... we got lucky -- or were unlucky, I suppose, depending on your view. ;)

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