Skyfall your vehicle: Polaris reveals cutting-edge tactical tech
Want to upgrade your vehicle to James Bond standards? Polaris Defense has introduced an advanced armor exo-skeleton and never-flat tires to transform vehicles.
Designed to address the U.S. military’s need for vehicles that can better protect warfighters, the cutting-edge armor and tires were revealed at AUSA 2012, the annual meeting of the Association of the U.S. Army.
Polaris Defense says the exo-skeleton can reduce vehicle curb weight by a whopping 40 percent while retaining or even increasing protection and maneuverability. And cost-effective, robust armor and never-flat tires won’t just boost survivability, they could prolong the life of the U.S. military’s extensive fleet of wheeled vehicles.
The next armored car
Polaris Defense partnered with M9 Defense to develop this lightweight armor technology for the U.S. military.
The armor is built through advanced “hydroforming” -- a manufacturing technique often found in auto manufacturing in which high-pressure fluid is used to shape parts. It makes lighter, seamless structures possible. In this case, it means the steel-hybrid armor is flexible and can create complex shapes at a high speed, similar to sheet metal processing.
Produced with a proprietary, bullet-resistant formulation, the company says it’s lighter than any armor available in today’s market -- just 14 pounds per square foot.
Polaris Defense’s capsule body protection is “STANAG level 3” -- meaning it offers a high level of protection against kinetic energy, artillery and grenades, and mine-blast threats.
The reduced seam structure design minimizes ballistic leakage while improving structural integrity.
The company believes this new tech is an important improvement on the “Iron Triangle” -- a term armor designers use to describe the relationship among protection, payload and the mobility of armor protected vehicles.
TNT, meet NFT: Never-flat tires
Polaris Defense recently acquired Resilient Technologies and its non-pneumatic, never-flat tire tech. These airless tires could improve survivability and handling for both currently fielded and future vehicles.
The tires have a central web made of polymer surrounded by a rubber tread band. Even if up to 30 percent of the tire’s web is damaged, this design means operation continues.
To test it out, Polaris shot their tire with a .50 caliber bullet: It still travelled more than 5,000 miles.
Vehicles amped up with armor exo-skeletons and next-gen tires? That could give U.S. troops a real advantage.
Ballet dancer turned defense specialist Allison Barrie has traveled around the world covering the military, terrorism, weapons advancements and life on the front line. You can reach her at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org follow her on Twitter @Allison_Barrie.