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Extended Service Life of Transparent Armor



OBJECTIVE: Develop extended life Transparent Armor (TA) by using innovative materials, design, manufacturing processes, and test methodology to reduce maintenance and lifecycle cost. 

DESCRIPTION: Transparent Armor, in some form or fashion is used in all armored military vehicles. Sizes range from small side windows and vision blocks to large windshields up to 48 cm by 102 cm. It is constructed of multiple layers of glass laminated together with a spall liner to protect the occupants inside the vehicle. TA is expensive and the replacement of delaminated TA is currently costing the Marine Corps $15M to $20M per year. Unfortunately, current TA has a relatively short life-span as it typically delaminates in 3-4 years resulting in significant cost and reduced vehicle readiness. For some platforms, TA is the most unreliable component on the vehicle. Much of the recent research has been focused on reducing the weight of TA and the use/development of exotic materials. While this work is needed and important for the future of TA it fails to address an apparently inherent flaw, delamination. The Marine Corps needs TA that lasts longer and is inexpensive, having little to no impact on initial purchase costs and a reduction in overall lifecycle costs. ATPD-2352T is the current purchase description for TA. This specification sets the requirements that must be used in developing new TA. Unfortunately, ATPD-2352T falls short in identifying a test to address long term durability or service life. A test methodology shall be developed to predict the useful life of TA with respect to delamination. This topic seeks to explore innovative and alternative TA designs for military vehicles. Of particular interest are concepts that satisfy the following criteria: • Increase service life to 6 years by reducing the propensity of delamination • Reduce time and increase ease of removing the glass stack from the frame to facilitate repair • Develop accelerated aging test methodology • Decrease lifecycle costs The Phase I effort will not require access to classified information. If need be, data of the same level of complexity as secured data will be provided to support Phase I work. The Phase II effort will likely require access to classified information, and the contractor will need to be prepared for personnel and facility certification for access and maintenance of classified information and material. Work produced in Phase II may become classified. Note: The prospective contractor(s) must be U.S. Owned and Operated with no Foreign Influence as defined by DOD 5220.22-M, National Industrial Security Program Operating Manual, unless acceptable mitigating procedures have been implemented and approved by the Defense Security Service (DSS). The selected contractor and/or subcontractor must be able to acquire and maintain a secret level facility and Personnel Security Clearances, in order to perform on advanced phases of this contract as set forth by DSS and the Marine Corps in order to gain access to classified information pertaining to the national defense of the United States and its allies; this will be an inherent requirement. The selected company will be required to safeguard classified material IAW DoD 5220.22-M during the advance phases of this contract. 

PHASE I: Develop concepts to improve the service life of TA by exploring the use of alternative materials, design, maintainability, and manufacturing techniques that meet the requirements outlined above. Develop concepts for an accelerated aging test methodology that evaluate the expected life of transparent armor. Demonstrate the feasibility of the concept in meeting the Marine Corps needs. Feasibility will be established by material testing and analytical modeling, as appropriate. Provide a Phase II plan that identifies performance goals, key technical milestones, and addresses technical risks. This Phase II plan will include specifications for the prototypes to be constructed. 

PHASE II: Based on the results of the Phase I effort and the Phase II plan, develop a process and prototypes for testing. The prototypes will be scaled from a quarter to full size depending on the technology and test requirements. The prototypes will be evaluated to determine if the performance goals defined in the Phase II development plan and the requirements outlined in ATPD-2352T have been met. System performance will be demonstrated through prototype evaluation and modeling to include durability, ballistic, optical, and environmental performance. Results will be used to refine the design to optimize performance. Prepare a Phase III plan to transition the technology to the Marine Corps. It is probable that the work under this effort will be classified under Phase II (see Description section for details). 

PHASE III: Upon successful completion of Phase II, the contractor will be ready for full-scale application, testing, demonstration, implementation, and commercialization. The Marine Corps could buy future TA through a Phase III contract if the contractor has the manufacturing capacity. The technologies developed under this topic would have direct application to other Department of Defense applications including other services’ TA on Tactical Wheeled Vehicles, Aircraft, and vision blocks. The technologies developed under this topic would be of interest to police departments for their armored vehicle and riot police shields. The technologies would also have applications for the security industries that use ballistic glass for things like armored trucks and facility protection at banks and embassies. 


1: "ATPD-2352T Purchase Description Transparent Armor." U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC), Research Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), May 8, 2013.

2:  Patel, P. J.

3:  Hsieh, A. J.

4:  Gilde, G. A. Improved low-cost multi-hit transparent armor. DTIC. Accession Number ADA481074. Nov 1, 2006. (

5:  Pascoe, J. A., et al. (2013). "Methods for the prediction of fatigue delamination growth in composites and adhesive bonds – A critical review." Engineering Fracture Mechanics 112-113: 72-96. (available at the Author’s institutional repository:

6:  Grujicic, M.

7:  Bell, W. C.

8:  Pandurangan, B. Design and material selection guidelines and strategies for transparent armor systems. Materials and Design (34). Elsevier Publishing. 2011.

KEYWORDS: Transparent Armor; Laminated Glass; Ballistic Glass; Test Methodology; Reduced Life Cycle Cost; Accelerated Aging 


Scott Story 

(703) 784-2824 

Mark Totten 

(703) 784-3361 

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