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 optimised 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 aluminium structures, we moved this idea from concept to reality in record time, and are already looking into forging other parts of combat vehicles.”