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Armor support ring optimization



OBJECTIVE: Optimize a part and develop an optimization process/program. This project will investigate materials and manufacturing methods to reduce the cost yet maintain the relevant performance requirements for an existing part. The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) armor support ring will serve as a proof of concept. 

DESCRIPTION: The armor support ring for the AMPV is machined from a billet of titanium (1). Material losses alone make this a highly inefficient: titanium for defense OEM use is about $20/pound. At a diameter of 45 inches, there is far more material lost to the machine shop floor than there is in the final part. Further, machining titanium is not cheap due to how comparatively expensive the tools are, the shorter tool life, and the fact that titanium work hardens; this amounts to about 4x the cost to machine steel. There have been significant advances in manufacturing processes and materials development, as well as innovative applications which combine the two. As an example of the type of changes that could be made consider the report: “Metals Materials Engineering in Tank-Automotive Equipment” (2) which considered weight focused replacements for the M60. This project will investigate the most efficient combination of material substitution and/or innovative uses of modern manufacturing processes. 

PHASE I: Investigate the feasibility and cost effectiveness of various manufacturing processes and materials options to the current design with the DLA target of 10 to 1 cost reduction as an objective. Define and execute a modeling and simulation test plan that will inform the decision to switch to a new material and/or manufacturing process as well as the associated business case to do so. The best value of material/process/time is the objective. A program such as the PRedictive Integrated Structural Materials Science (PRISMS) (3) may be used a reference/starting point. 

PHASE II: Based on the results of Phase I, the contractor will deliver at least three design options. One will be selected for a full size prototype. Particular emphasis will be given to manufacturability in quantity. Physical testing as well as modeling and simulating of the prototypes will be conducted to characterize and validate the selected combination of material/manufacturing process performs as well as (or exceeds) the current part’s structural integrity, vehicle survivability, force protection, and durability. 

PHASE III: A full size prototype of the best performer from Phase II will be delivered to the Government and integrated onto an AMPV for validation testing. Once initial stages of the validation testing have been successfully completed, the methodology adopted to optimize the AMPV part will guide the search for additional AMPV parts (initially), other PEO GCS vehicles (M1 (4), Stryker (5), etc.), and eventually tactical vehicles(6). The automotive industry spends considerable effort extracting a few cents and a couple grams from car components, it is time to apply the same processes to the DoD ground fleet where savings on the order of tens of thousands of dollars and tons of metal could be saved. Additionally, as additive manufacturing continues to develop, Industry will be able to use this tool/capability in determining when it is best to use various manufacturing options. 


1: The AMPV armor support ring is under the gunner platform shown in the top middle of the picture here


3:  "Metals Engineering in Tank-Automotive Equipment" Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC)

4:  PRedictive Integrated Structural Materials Science (PRISMS)

5:  Federation of American Scientists. "M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank." DOD 101. 14 Apr 2000.

6:  Stryker Armoured Combat Vehicle Family

7:  The Army Tactical Wheeled Vehicle Strategy

KEYWORDS: Materials Science, Materials Testing, Materials Engineering, Engineered Materials, Modeling, Design Optimization, Advanced Manufacturing, Affordability, Producibility, Manufacturability, Supports EO 13329 


Mr. Michael Foley 

(586) 282-9035 

Derek Sabiston 

(586) 282-9152 

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