Tactical vehicle armor may be svelte but it's no "lightweight"

Feb. 9, 2006
Netherlands-based DSM Dyneema plays a key role in designing the new armored models of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) manufactured by Stewart & Stevenson Tactical Vehicles LP, Sealy, Tex

The FMTV family of vehicles includes 16 variants on two basic platforms, the 4 X 4 Light Medium Tactical Vehicle (LMTV) and the 6 X 6 Medium Tactical Vehicle (MTV). FMTVs have set worldwide tactical-vehicle standards for capability, reliability, mobility, and transportability, and continue to boast the highest percent availability of any vehicle in the U.S. Army tactical-vehicle fleet.

Netherlands-based DSM Dyneema plays a key role in designing the new armored models of the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV) manufactured by Stewart & Stevenson Tactical Vehicles LP, Sealy, Tex. DSM supplies lightweight armoring made from Dyneema HB25 components that protect cab occupants from direct fire and mine/improvised explosive device (IED) threats. The armor was jointly developed by DSM Dyneema, Stewart & Stevenson, and Composix Co., Newark, Ohio. A vehicle based on the FMTV and fitted with the new armor, was recently introduced at the 2005 Association of the U.S. Army (AUSA) Annual Meeting & Exposition.

"Vehicle armor has become a high priority," says Larry Dickson, Composix vice president. "Five years ago, metal plate would have been the option, but that's far too heavy. Dyneema lets us offer armor that exceeded performance requirements but still at the specified weight."

"Dyneema HB25 is reportedly the only material that meets both ballistic and weight specs," says David Cordova, DSM Dyneema vice president, Life Protection. "In this project, our collaborative product-engineering model resulted in new processing methods to maximize Dyneema performance as part of a comprehensive armoring system."

The superstrong polyethylenebased material forms easily and combines maximum strength with minimum weight. On a weight-for-weight basis, it reportedly is up to 15 times stronger than quality steel and up to 40% stronger than aramid fibers. It also resists cutting, abrasions, penetrations, and for practical purposes is chemically inert.

The joint armor-development program completed in record time. DSM Dyneema contributed materials expertise; Composix Co. offered its experience in forming vehicle armor, including armor for the HMMWV and U.S. Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle; and Stewart & Stevenson brought extensive conflict-ready vehicle engineering.

Although exact armor configuration and performance are classified, the armor prevents penetration into the cab of both direct and indirect arms fire, as well as from explosive devices. In addition to light weight the armor easily and cost effectively forms into shapes specific to each truck's cab and controls configuration.

Composix Co.,
(740) 345-5574, composix.com
DSM Dyneema,
31 46 476 7931, dyneema.com
Stewart & Stevenson Tactical Vehicles LP,
(979) 885-2977, ssss.com

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