US Navy Invests $1.6m. to Test Smart Armor for the US Marine Corps


Solidica, Inc. will demonstrate a ‘smart armor’ concept under a US Marine Corps program funded by US$1.6 million award. The program will demonstrate how an armor, embedded with special sensors can perform damage assessment immediately after being effected by hostile fire and alert the vehicle’s health management system about the level of damage suffered in combat. The program is focused on the development of retrofit ‘smart armor’ kits for Light Armored Vehicles.

Solidica will embed its proprietary Gradient-Modulus Energy Absorbing Material (GMEAM) technology into ceramic armor tiles. The sensors are being integrated into the armor tile during production, through a unique material embedding process called “Ultrasonic Consolidation”, which produces compound materials (ceramics and metals) tailoring the specific product characteristics (weight, reinforcement, impact absorption etc). This low-heat, low-impact formation process enables the embedding of Micro-Electronic and Mechanical Systems (MEMS) directly onto a metal substrate.

According to John McGinnis, Solidica’s Director of Military Programs, each of the new armor tiles will have an embedded “Pantheon” sensing, diagnostic and telematic sensor integrated with wireless communications, creating a wireless grid which enables smart sensor nodes embedded throughout the armor. This award follows an earlier program launched in 2005, which demonstrated the feasibility of embedding fiberoptics sensors directly within the armor components.