Part of Joint Alcoa-US Army Initiative Launched Last Year
Alcoa (NYSE:AA), a global leader in lightweight, high-performance
metals, has produced the world’s largest single-piece forged aluminum
hull for combat vehicles to improve troop protection as part of a joint
Alcoa-US Army initiative launched last year. Announced in
Washington, DC at the Association of the US Army Annual Meeting—the
largest landpower expo in North America—Alcoa manufactured the
single-piece part, which was co-designed by Alcoa and the US Army
Research Laboratory, with the goal of replacing today’s assembled hulls.
Based on early modeling and simulation, single-piece underbody
structures could provide two times better protection against blasts—such
as those caused by Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs)—than traditional
hulls, primarily by eliminating welded seams. In addition to
survivability benefits, single-piece hulls can be optimized to reduce
vehicle weight and assembly time, and, therefore, overall cost.
“Alcoa is proud to lead the way in developing what could be a
game-changer for how combat vehicles are made to better protect our
soldiers,” said Eric Roegner, President of Alcoa Defense. “Using our
materials expertise and ability to forge the world’s largest aluminum
structures, we moved this idea from concept to reality in record time,
and are already looking into forging other parts of combat vehicles.”
The Army is now blast testing the hull to demonstrate its durability.
After successful testing, this initiative would open up numerous
opportunities for the military to apply single-piece structures to large
combat vehicles and other applications.
The hull is part of the Army’s Affordable Protection from Objective
Threats Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) program, created to improve
the military’s defense against modern-day threats such as IEDs, using
affordable, advanced manufacturing technologies.
“A monolithic hull could be used to produce new, or retrofit existing,
combat and tactical vehicles,” said Rob Carter, Chief of Materials
Manufacturing Technology Branch at the Army Research Laboratory. “This
demonstrates new manufacturing approaches to open the design space for
higher performance hulls and underbody kits. This could make a huge,
positive impact on improving soldier protection with affordable
Since launching the cooperative effort last year, Alcoa Defense and the
Army’s Research, Development and Engineering Command’s (RDECOM) Army
Research Laboratory have coordinated research and development efforts to
refine the hull design and develop the alloy requirements.
Alcoa produced two demonstrator forgings at its plant in Cleveland using
its 50,000-ton forging press, the world’s most advanced hydraulic press.
Alcoa’s engineers in Cleveland leveraged their expertise and decades of
commercial forging experience to produce the hull earlier than the
expected deliverable of 18 months.
Alcoa’s single-piece aluminum hull would improve combat vehicle
performance, providing approximately two times better blast protection
than traditional hulls, through:
Stronger solid structure: A single-piece hull would eliminate
welded seams used in today’s manufacturing processes, covering the
entire lower section of any combat vehicle.
Efficient design: Forging hulls as one unit facilitates
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.
Editor’s Note: Caption for accompanying photo: Alcoa has
manufactured the world’s largest single-piece forged aluminum hull for
combat vehicles, such as those shown here, to improve troop protection
as part of a joint Alcoa-US Army initiative (US Army photo).
Additional resources: Go to http://www.alcoa.com/defense
for more information, photos and b-roll.
A global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and
manufacturing, Alcoa innovates multi-material solutions that advance our
world. Our technologies enhance transportation, from automotive and
commercial transport to air and space travel, and improve industrial and
consumer electronics products. We enable smart buildings, sustainable
food and beverage packaging, high-performance defense vehicles across
air, land and sea, deeper oil and gas drilling and more efficient power
generation. We pioneered the aluminum industry over 125 years ago, and
today, our 60,000 people in 30 countries deliver value-add products made
of titanium, nickel and aluminum, and produce best-in-class bauxite,
alumina and primary aluminum products. For more information, visit www.alcoa.com,
follow @Alcoa on Twitter at www.twitter.com/Alcoa
and follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/Alcoa.
About the United States Army Research Laboratory
The U.S. Army Research Laboratory is part of the U.S. Army Research,
Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), which has the mission to
develop technology and engineering solutions for America’s Soldiers.
RDECOM is a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Materiel Command.
AMC is the Army’s premier provider of materiel readiness — technology,
acquisition support, materiel development, logistics power projection,
and sustainment — to the total force, across the spectrum of joint
military operations. If a Soldier shoots it, drives it, flies it, wears
it, eats it or communicates with it, AMC delivers it. For more
information, visit www.arl.army.mil,
follow @ArmyResearchLab on Twitter and follow the lab on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ArmyResearchLaboratory.
This release contains statements that relate to future events and
expectations and as such constitute forward-looking statements within
the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
Forward-looking statements include those containing such words as
“estimates,” “expects,” “should,” “may,” “will,” “would,” or other words
of similar meaning. All statements that reflect Alcoa’s expectations,
assumptions or projections about the future other than statements of
historical fact are forward-looking statements, including, without
limitation, statements regarding the potential benefits of large,
single-piece aluminum hulls for combat vehicles. Forward-looking
statements are subject to a number of known and unknown risks,
uncertainties, and other factors and are not guarantees of future
performance. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ
materially from those expressed or implied in the forward-looking
statements include: (a) unfavorable changes in the markets served by
Alcoa, including the defense market; (b) failure to successfully
implement, or to realize expected benefits from, new or innovative
technologies, materials, forging or other processes, equipment, or
products, in each case as expected or within the time periods
anticipated; (c) the risk that single-piece aluminum hulls may not meet
durability testing or other performance requirements, or achieve weight
or cost savings, as expected; and (d) the other risk factors discussed
in Alcoa’s Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2013, Forms 10-Q
for the quarters ended March 31, 2014 and June 30, 2014, and other
reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Alcoa
disclaims any intention or obligation to update publicly any
forward-looking statements, whether in response to new information,
future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.