2008/11/18

Tires that laugh at bullets

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OK, I admit - this topic was too long on my "to do" list.
Michelin's Tweel technology of wheels with flexible rubber cushioning instead of (pressurized) air cushioning was published few years ago and one of my first thoughts was about the usefulness for military applications.



The concept has now been transferred to military technology:


See the Military tech blog post about this product.
(The honeycomb still needs to be covered to keep dirt and mud out - nobody wants mega-heavy wheels!)

This technology might be suitable for military needs and limit wheel vulnerability to incendiary and blast effects - no more trouble with fragments, bullets and sharp objects on the ground.
There's of course no use of CTIS possible with such wheels - that should reduce the complexity and price of wheeled military vehicles.

The vulnerability of conventional tires to bullets and fragments was always a problem - and obviously so since other vehicle components were hardened. Tires are a very heavy, bulky supply and the need to replace many tires (if for example partisans like to snipe at these wheels) can grow to a significant portion of the overall supply demand.

Simple Tweels with some fire-retarding additives might become a really, really great thing for armies.

Sven Ortmann

2008-11-20 edit:
(Almost) as usual, the Germans already invented it (well, something really similar) in one of their notorious scarcity phases (a.k.a. World Wars) when creativity had to compensate for a lack of raw material supply: "federnde Räder" (~"cushioning wheels") were used in World War I (1915 onwards) to replace tires (the natural rubber supply from overseas was almost entirely cut off) for cars, while trucks had to use 19th century wood/iron wheels.

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