IperionX Limited, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA, has executed a Test Services Agreement and Statement of Work with the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center (DEVCOM GVSC). The agreement will focus on the metal characterisation and ballistic testing properties of IperionX’s high-strength titanium plate components, manufactured via a Powder Metallurgy process.
The titanium plates will be manufactured from IperionX’s angular titanium powder, employing the company’s patented Hydrogen Sintering and Phase Transformation (HSPT) technologies. The technique was developed as a low-cost titanium Powder Metallurgy process to produce high performance titanium alloys, it is reported to enhance the microstructure of titanium to deliver strength and fatigue properties comparable to wrought titanium alloys.
“We look at the combination of advanced manufacturing and titanium to help us improve both corrosion mitigation and light-weighting in Army ground vehicles,” stated Brandon Pender, Associate Director GVME, GVSC Head of Materials and Manufacturing. “Any relationship that we can pursue to make titanium more affordable as IperionX can potentially do, is valuable to us. The potential to produce titanium plate, with all of its capabilities, that is cost-competitive with aluminium and steel only helps us improve the operational performance and readiness of Army ground systems.”
Titanium is highly valued for its exceptional strength-to-weight ratio and resistance to high temperatures and corrosion. It is a critical material for many US defence systems, including military fighter aircraft and engines, naval platforms, and military ground vehicles. The superior strength-to-weight ratio and corrosion resistance of titanium offers the potential for future US Army ground vehicles to be lighter, more mobile, and to have enhanced range and durability in the field.
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The United States possesses very limited domestic primary titanium metal (titanium sponge) capacity and currently imports over 95% of the titanium sponge required for the US defence sector. IperionX plans to re-shore a fully integrated titanium supply chain to support critical defence systems.
The US Department of Defense is currently seeking alternatives to the import-dependent supply chain for titanium metal and alloys. The DoD’s goal is to establish domestic operations for mining, processing, and refining ore, as well as recycling scrap titanium. An optimal domestic titanium supply chain would offer a variety of products, such as titanium powder, ingots, bars, and plates, with higher energy efficiency, lower costs, and lower environmental impact.
Anastasios (Taso) Arima, IperionX CEO commented, “We are honoured to collaborate with DEVCOM GVSC to evaluate our titanium products for US Army ground vehicles. Titanium for the US defence sector is currently sourced over long distances from foreign nations. IperionX plans to re-shore a lower cost and more sustainable fully integrated US titanium supply chain that is critical to America’s economic future and national security.”
It was added that DEVCOM GVSC may share the results with select US Department of Defense (DoD) contractors who are the original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of US Army ground vehicles for consideration in future ground vehicle designs. Known US Army ground vehicle contractor OEMs include:
- General Dynamics Land Systems, an arm of General Dynamics Corporation
- BAE Systems, Inc., the US subsidiary of BAE Systems PLC
- American Rheinmetall Defense, Inc., the US counterpart of Rheinmetall AG
- Oshkosh Corporation
- AM General, a privately held firm based in South Bend, Indiana