An armor plate developed to provide greater protection for U.S. troops in the field will be manufactured at Alcoa’s massive Davenport Works plant in Eastern Iowa.
Alcoa’s ArmX 5456-H151 armor plate is specified by the U.S. Army Research Lab for use in military vehicles. The product was developed by scientists at Alcoa’s Technical Center near Pittsburgh in collaboration with metallurgists and production engineers at Alcoa Davenport Works.
Alcoa aluminum and armor have been used by the military for decades in vehicles ranging from the Bradley Fighting Vehicle to the Humvee.
Mark Vrablec, president of global aerospace, transportation and industrial rolled products at Alcoa, said the new weldable aluminum armor plate meets the military’s highest performance standards for strength, blast absorption, and ballistics resistance for armored combat vehicles.
“This new product offers more than 20 percent improvement in strength compared with baseline weldable armor plate,” Vrablec said.
Alcoa’s ArmX 5456-H151 armor plate was tested on the U.S. Army’s fuel efficient ground vehicle troop transport demonstrator. The prototype vehicle, which Alcoa helped develop, employs lightweight, fuel-efficient technologies while maintaining durability and troop safety.
The demonstration vehicle’s lightweight aluminum structure makes the vehicle up to 10 percent lighter than a comparably sized steel vehicle and reduces fuel consumption by 6 percent to 7 percent.
Alcoa’s Davenport Works also produces product for the aerospace industry, including wing surfaces for airplanes manufactured by Boeing and Airbus. The plant, which opened in 1948, employs about 2,300.
A $300 million expansion of the Davenport Works plant to meet rising demand for aluminum from the automotive market will be completed by the end of this year. Auto manufacturers plan to grow aluminum use from 343 pounds per car currently to 550 pounds by 2025 as they switch from steel to increase the fuel efficiency and vehicle performance.
Materials produced at the Davenport Works plant also are used in commercial truck and rail transportation and the industrial market. When the expansion is completed, the plant will have more than 130 acres under roof and will generate nearly $5 million a day for the local economy.