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24 May 06. Lockheed Martin has developed and demonstrated a new lightweight, low-cost tactical vehicle armor that promises exceptional multi-hit survivability against armor-piercing rifle bullets and high-speed fragments from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The Macro-Composite Protection System (MAPS) armor will provide armor-piercing, bullet, fragment/shrapnel and blast protection with tactical theater durability and maintainability at a very low cost. The armor-as-a-system was developed by Lockheed Martin as a solution to the coupled threat effects often encountered in today’s urban tactical environments, such as a bomb blast followed by a swarm of projectiles or armor-piercing sniper fire. “We believe MAPS is a breakthrough in protective technology,” said David Hunn, director – Mechanical Engineering at Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control. “MAPS armor promises to provide an entirely new level of vehicle and personal protection to our forces that could save lives. And it should prove much less expensive than current ceramic armors once in production.” MAPS armor is undergoing ballistic testing and has successfully shown protection against realistic armor piercing and fragmentation threats with no penetration, at a weight approximately 50 percent less than its equivalent in steel armor protection. Lockheed Martin has briefed the U.S. Army, Navy and Marine Corps on preliminary testing results, and provided MAPS armor samples to the services for independent testing. Results of those tests should be available later this year. MAPS armor is made out of a Lockheed Martin-developed macro-composite material encased in shock-absorbing polymers with a metallic strike face and spall plate. In recent testing, MAPS successfully stopped four successive shots of 7.62mm armor-piercing bullets striking at high velocity within a four-inch diameter circle. “In addition to its capabilities against IEDs and armor-piercing bullets, we plan to study MAPS’ ability to provide a level of protection against hand grenades, mines and other battlefield threats,” Hunn added. “We are continuing our development and testing of MAPS armor to collect more performance data on a variety of threats, and prepare the material for future applications.” Although developed for military ground vehicle applications, Lockheed Martin also envisions potential application for commercial armored cars and vehicles, helicopters and ground attack aircraft applications.

12 May 06. Night Vision coming for trucks. Mercedes-Benz has confirmed that is testing the Bocsh-based night vision system for its truck range. Recently released on the latest R- and S-Class Mercedes-Benz cars, Bosch says the infrared-based Night Vision system is designed to improve driving safety in the dark. It increasing vision by up to 150 metres, so that drivers can identify critical situations much earlier, giving them more time to react.

19 Jun 06. The spike in oil prices has prompted plenty of drivers to consider biodiesel-powered or hybrid cars for their daily commute, but what about that gas guzzler we use to fly across country? Government and corporate researchers are looking into ways to power commercial jet engines with alternative fuels, although many caution that widespread use could be years or even decades away. Scientists face myriad obstacles, including the difficulty of producing, transporting and using massive amounts of these fuels under harsh conditions such as extreme cold. And for now at least, experts say many alternative jet fuels are more expensive than traditional ones.
“It’s just so much easier to develop a fuel for automobile applications than for airplane applications,” said Billy Glover, director of environmental performance for Boeing Co. Still, rising oil prices are prompting increased interest, giving some researchers hope their preliminary efforts will someday pay o

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