[Homestead] Where's Edison when we need him

Tvoivozhd tvoivozd at infionline.net
Mon Oct 4 19:57:17 EDT 2004

People who aren't satified with mediocre performance as are this 
generation of military procurement.  You want Humvee armor to be light 
enough so it doesn't just lumber along at thirty mph, but as a minimum 
it should stop a Rifle Propelled Grenade.
Battelle labored and brought forth a gerbil.


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  Ohio Scientists Develop Armor for Humvees



By Associated Press

October 4, 2004, 8:55 AM EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The military is ordering more lightweight armor 
developed in Ohio that protects troops in Humvees from automatic weapons 
fire and grenades without slowing the vehicles.

Unarmored Humvees have become targets in the war in Iraq. The vehicle 
was designed to carry troops and supplies, not be part of the fighting. 
Special-operations forces were looking for lighter armor that doesn't 
affect their speed or make Humvees too heavy to transport on planes.

Some Humvees, made by AM General in Mishawaka, Ind., are being equipped 
with up to 3,000 pounds of armor, which slows them down. The new armor 
offers less protection, but weighs 750 pounds.

The military has tested 75 of the armor kits in the Middle East and has 
ordered 400 more from Columbus-based Battelle, the world's largest 
independent, nonprofit research institute.

Battelle introduced the armor kits last week at the Naval Institute's 
ninth annual Warfare Exposition and Symposium in Virginia Beach, Va.

"The bad guys come up with newer tactics, and we come up with newer 
techniques," said Skip Dirren, who heads Battelle's Navy marketing 

With no time to invent armor, Battelle went to the marketplace and found 
that an armor made of polyethylene and titanium survived testing at its 

The armor is 15 times stronger than steel, according to John Bockbrader, 
project manager. His team of engineers adapted the armor to fit Humvee 
parts considered vulnerable, including doors, seats, wheel wells and the 

The armor will not stop blasts from homemade bombs and rocket-propelled 
grenades that Iraqi insurgents have repeatedly used.

But the lighter armor will help, said 1st Lt. Tim Casteel, who returned 
to Ohio on Sept. 3 from a 15-month tour in Iraq.

During Casteel's last three months in Iraq, his Middletown-based unit, 
the 324th Military Police Company, escorted truck convoys, he said. His 
group rode in Humvees loaded with so much ceramic armor that the cargo 
trucks they escorted could accelerate faster in an attack, he said.

"When you're attacked, you have to have the ability to hit the gas pedal 
and go and not be stuck at 45 to 50 mph," Casteel said.

The government has paid Battelle $25 million to work on the armor during 
the past three years. Battelle is selling it to the Defense Department 
for $90,000 to $120,000 per kit.

Traditionally, 90 percent of Battelle's business is contract work for 
the federal government.

Its national defense business has increased from $40 million to $75 
million since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks. The company's 
national security business, a $285 million operation in fiscal 2001, now 
is projected at $490 million in fiscal 2004.

Copyright © 2004, The Associated Press

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