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DARPA’s Next Challenge: Lighter Armor Protection

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“Next contestant…”(click to view full) DARPA’s Grand Challenge (see “Drivers NOT Wanted…“) was so successful that they’re doing it again. Not for unmanned vehicles, but for vehicle protection. If you thought driving robotic vehicles cross-country was exciting, how about a series of “shoot-outs” aimed at creating armor twice as light as rolled homogeneous armor steel, but just as good at stopping 7.62mm and .50 caliber (12.7mm) rounds? We probably shouldn’t expect the advent of O.G.R.E’s Biphase Carbide any time soon, but it’s an interesting approach that could have interesting results. DefenseTech has the details. On a related note, readers may also want to check into Army AL&T (Acquisition, Logistics and Technology) Magazine’s November-December 2005 article titled “Spinning Out Future Force Technologies to Warfighters Today” [PDF]. It covers advances in vehicle protection as well as hybrid power systems, and new logistics-related features like water recovery/purification technology integrated into vehicles as a way of sharply reducing the Army’s logistics burden. DID also covered a TARDEC anti-RPG defense system that uses explosions near the vehicle back in December 2004, but we suspect this wouldn’t qualify for the challenge.

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