FIGURE 4-1 A warrior vehicle with added reactive appliqué and bar-armor. SOURCE: BAE Systems, U.S. Combat Systems, “Lightweighting in Military Vehicles,” presentation to the committee, December 8, 2010.

armed infantry combat vehicles of the Soviets.3 They have also been used on the FV 510 Warrior Infantry Section Vehicle, built in the United Kingdom. The latter was constructed of an aluminum alloy hull and equipped with additional appliqué armor as well as explosive-reactive armor and bar armor (Figure 4-1). The efficacy of the protection system against small arms, missiles, rocket propelled grenades, and anti-tank mines was proven during the United Nations operations in Bosnia.4

Despite the performance enhancements obtained from the use of aluminum alloys in structural components of ground vehicles, their use in armor systems for tactical vehicles has met with mixed success.5 The difficulty of using aluminum alloys in armor can be attributed at least in part to an inadequate understanding of the ballistic and blast properties of these alloys over the pertinent threat range. The ballistic properties are better understood than blast properties; however, the modeling of both types of threats is insufficient for the predictive modeling and systems-level design for performance across the full spectrum of current threats from improvised explosive devices (IEDs), explosively formed projectiles (EFPs), and other sources.

Recent aluminum-alloy developments have led to further improvements in ballistic resistance and durability. For instance, Al 2519-T87 (MIL-DTL-46192) exhibits better performance against fragmentation threats than Al 5083, with nearly the same performance against ball and armor piercing threats as Al 7039, coupled with good corrosion resistance. The first production utilization of this alloy will be the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.6


3 For information on BMP-3 specifications, see and, last accessed October 19, 2011.

4 Christopher Foss and Peter Sarson. 1994. Warrior Tank Specifications: Warrior Mechanised Combat Vehicle 1987-1994. New Vanguard Series No. 10. London: Osprey. Available at

5 Much of the information on lightweighting armor systems for land vehicles using materials other than aluminum is either restricted or classified and therefore is not included in this report.

6 “Army Materials Research: Transforming Land Combat Through New Technologies.” AMPTIAC [Advanced Materials and Process Technol ogy Information Analysis Center] Quarterly, Vol. 8, No. 4, 2004. Available at

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