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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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Misses the point!
By tcjake on 9/21/2007 9:44:31 AM , Rating: 2
Composite or not, HUMMV's should not be used to "win" this war. I remember seeing the propaganda films from before WWII with hundreds of Jeep's zipping over the battlefield, this was going to win us WWII by transporting troops quikly. Problem was the German Panzers took them out rather quikly and the jungles in the pacific basically nullify Jeeps.

Using HUMMV's in Iraq is dumb, use armored transports, not lighter HUMMV's.

RE: Misses the point!
By Calin on 9/21/2007 10:09:44 AM , Rating: 2
Jeeps were used not to transport troops quickly, but to transport equipment quickly. One Jeep was able to carry or tow a small antitank canon, or mortars, or ammunition, or some other support weaponry. Troops transport was done by trucks.
(yes, there is a big mobility advantage in marching when your 20 pounds machine gun and 12 pounds tripod and 10 ammo chains are in a car, and not shared between the two operators of the machine gun).
Fully agree with the use of armored transports - only that even in armored transports, your people are vulnerable

RE: Misses the point!
By 3kliksphilip on 9/22/2007 12:58:40 PM , Rating: 2
War is great for advancing technology. I wonder why they didn't do it sooner. At the moment, upgrades and inventions are coming out at the same speed as those in Command and Conquer. 'Upgrade Complete'.

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