Five ARL scientists receive DoD Standardization award

March 08, 2012

Story Highlights

  • Five research scientists from ARL, WMRD will be recognized with a Defense Standardization Program Outstanding Achievement Award.
  • Their work, "Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Armor Plate," essentially, answers military's need.
  • The team - Richard Squillacioti, Dr. Kevin Doherty, Dr. Bryan Cheeseman, Brian Placzankis and Denver Gallardy - was directly responsible for successfully leading the efforts.

Five research scientists from the Army Research Laboratory's Weapons and Materials Research Directorate will be recognized with a Defense Standardization Program Outstanding Achievement Award during a ceremony March 14, 2012 at the Pentagon's Hall of Heroes.

This award marks the fourth time the ARL's Specifications and Standards Office has received the subject award.

Their work, "Lightweight Aluminum Alloy Armor Plate," essentially, answers the U.S. military's need to develop and standardize the use of lightweight metallic materials that are strong enough to resist ballistic threats while still exhibiting corrosion resistance. Multiple ground vehicle platforms would benefit the most by designing stress corrosion cracking prevention into systems that are already at high armor protection levels. For just the military's HEMTT A4 variants, replacing Al 5083 with the lower cost Al 6061 while maintaining each vehicles' current protection levels could save the military more than $16 million in a three-year period.

The team - Richard Squillacioti, Dr. Kevin Doherty, Dr. Bryan Cheeseman, Brian Placzankis and Denver Gallardy - was directly responsible for successfully leading the efforts of initiating standardization projects for the modification and development of specifications for four variants of lightweight aluminum alloy armor plate to meet the current demand for improved multi-hit capability against fragments and bullets, reduced stress corrosion cracking, as well as improved fabrication ability, lower cost and increase the commercial availability for implementation into several ground vehicle families and armor upgrade packages.

"The current conflict in Southwest Asia increased the demand for lightweight armor for military vehicles and platforms," said Squillacioti, who leads ARL's Specifications and Standards Office. "The use of aluminum alloys for lightweight armor applications has been driven by the excellent multi-hit capability against fragments and bullets as well as the low cost, excellent fabrication capability and commercial availability of the alloys."

Aluminum alloy armor has been utilized by the U.S. government since the outbreak of World War II, and each year, the military procures about 5,000 vehicles, which translates to more than 30 million pounds of aluminum alloys that will be procured annually.

"We've been successful at developing for the U.S. government a supply of numerous aluminum alloys that increase ballistic properties, enhance corrosion resistance, and increase the availability of aluminum armor for procurement and implementation on military platforms and vehicles, but due to the lack of Standardization funds, efforts to develop new aluminum alloys must rely on outside funding, which takes years to obtain," Squillacioti said.

Future aluminum alloys could be used as repair and replacement materials for M2 and M3 Bradley Fighting Vehicle Systems, which currently use Al 7039 armor plate on their upper halves.

"Al 7039 has significant susceptibility to stress corrosion cracking. Severe stress corrosion cracking requires frequent repair or replacement with a less susceptible and often times a less capable alloy, such as, Al 5083," the team pointed out. "From a protection standpoint, a heavier plate would be required for the same expected protection. The aluminum alloy specifications that were developed offer the combination of greater stress corrosion cracking resistance, improved ballistic properties for both armor piercing (AP) rounds and blast protection, and superior weldability. These replacement alloys are Al 5059, Al 6061, Al 2139, Al 2195, and Al 7085."

A new generation of conventional high strength and toughness alloys - Al 7449, Al 7056, and Al 2027 - will be the next series of aluminum alloys to investigate. The Team indicated that the selection of these alloys is based upon their high Technology Readiness Level levels and that the Al 7056 and Al 2027 will be investigated as part of a $1.25 million fiscal 2012 Foreign Comparative Test (FCT) program. Army officials plan to grow the current HMMWV fleet by increasing its acquisition. Squillacioti said this would provide the government an opportunity to realize reduced cost and/or better performance. Armor variants for the replacement of the HMMWV in theater could include MATV, MRAP, and JLTV.

 

Last Update / Reviewed: March 8, 2012