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AGY Expands Composite Armor Portfolio to Meet Urgent Need for Enhanced Lightweight Ballistic Protection


Given the increased power and lethality of roadside bombs in the Middle East conflict, manufacturers are concentrating their efforts on upgrading the armor on military vehicles, which are a prime target for improvised explosives and roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many up-armoring solutions, however, consist of heavy steel armoring which results in premature power train and suspension failures on many vehicles.

To meet the demand for materials that provide increased performance and lighter weight, AGY has introduced two new glass fibers, Featherlight™ and Quicksilver™, that, together with AGY’s tried and true, battle-tested S-2 Glass®, create a complete portfolio of Vehicle Armor Composite Solutions (VACS) engineered to provide protection against the most demanding IED and EFP threats facing the U.S. military today. According to Drew Walker, AGY Vice President of Sales and Marketing, “Composites have become a key component in the battle to keep military vehicles such as MRAP and HUMVEE from becoming hugely overweight.”

The new Featherlight™ glass fibers are engineered to deliver ultra high performance against severe threat levels. The advanced Featherlight™ fibers provide an increase in protection of 5 to 10% over standard S-2 Glass® fiber composite armor.

The new Quicksilver™ glass fibers enable significantly stronger, stiffer and lighter composite parts than traditional E-glass reinforcements. They are designed to be a cost-effective solution where weight is deemed to be less of a concern.

AGY’s VACS portfolio of products enables composites to be deployed in both structural and nonstructural components on a whole suite of vehicles, enabling lightweight, fire retardant and load bearing structures to compete head-to-head with steel and aluminum solutions. The Featherlight™ and Quicksilver™ fibers can be used to tailor ballistic performance to specific needs and are available in all same sizing packages, roving yields and format as the S-2 Glass fibers.

The Featherlight™ and Quicksilver fibers, as well as the original S-2 Glass® fibers, can be used in a variety of ways in composite armor systems including:

* Compression molded laminates made from phenolic resin and woven roving. AGY’s HJ1 armor system using S-2 Glass® fibers is
a tried and tested fire retardant armor solution that is deployed on many military vehicles.
* Thermoplastic molded laminates are made from unidirectional fibers and thermoplastic resins. These laminates, designed to be
thermoformable for more complex armor shapes, have a potential to be combined with other thermoplastic fibers to provide hybridized system solutions with synergy performance in terms of structural ballistic performance.
* Hybrid laminates are made from a combination of reinforcement materials and are designed to exploit the full range of ballistic
* Very thick compression molded laminates designed to stop today’s most advanced threats such as explosively formed penetrator (EFP).
* Ballistic laminates made from novel fabric architectures - such as three-dimensional or non-crimp fabrics – which are designed to
facilitate complex shapes via easy processing using infusion technology while maintaining ballistic performance.

In late 2007, AGY announced that it had increased the capacity of S-2 Glass® by 50% due to increased demand across a broad range of markets including aerospace and defense. “As a result of our plant expansion,” commented Walker, “AGY has made an initial 5,000 MT of S-2 Glass® available for the defense market for new business in vehicle armor with Humvee and MRAP, EFP applications.”


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