American Engineering Group received U.S. Special Operations Forces Small Business Team Award for developing a unique Pressure Zero Tire (PZT) for US special forces. The award was presented at SOF Industry Conference in Tampa Florida and aimed at recognizing engineering product development team for top performance in the field of innovation & technology. The Team award is selected based on achievements and contributions to the overall goal of United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM).
This is the second year USSOCOM has had a Small Business Team Award to recognize a team for developing new product technology for the warfighter. This year USSOCOM elected Akron, Ohio based American Engineering Group(AEG) for the SBIR Phase II project titled, ”Improved Tire Technology” which developed a unique Pressure Zero Tire (PZT) for US special forces.
“It’s an honor to receive this award on behalf of American Engineering Group(AEG) along with team of SOF technologists for the Light Tactical Vehicle Team,” said Mr. Abraham Pannikottu, Operations Manager. “AEG work tirelessly every day to provide our SOF warriors with the very best, most effective technology to do their job.”
Getting a flat tire is never convenient. In a war zone, it can be deadly. While special operations Tactical Vehicle have been loaded with extra armor to protect troops in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, the tires remain vulnerable to attacks by improvised explosive devices (IED). The unique carbon fiber multiple hoop tire design by American Engineering Group may be the key to a new Zero Pressure Tire that could keep military vehicles running after an attack.
The main objective of the project “Improved Tire Technology for Special Operations Vehicles” was to develop a true off-road ballistic tire that could provide high off-road mobility and also provide improved tire survivability against terrain and ballistic threats. Though military vehicle tires are now equipped with run-flat inserts, SOF wants to upgrade to a tire that’s better at carrying heavier loads, has reduced tire weight, and can move soldiers out of harm’s way.
Zero pressure tires have been around for a long time, with major drawbacks such as bumpy rides and overheating. The American Engineering Group (AEG) prototype dissipates heat and has the tire flexibility and strength to support the heavy military pick-up weight while providing a relatively smooth ride.
Though military vehicles outfitted with “run-flat” tires are supposed to travel at least 30 mph for 30 miles (the minimum SOF requirement), field performance of current run-flat tires hit by roadside bombs were reported to be much lower than this minimum requirement. The new AEG Zero Pressure Tire will withstand a minimum of 50 mph speeds more than 60 miles once it’s punctured based on results from Phase II.
“This level of load carrying capability and survivability surprised even me” says Dr. Jon Gerhardt, Technical Director of AEG.
The durability characteristics of this design was studied further in Phase II on four different tire sizes for ATV Polaris, Toyota Hilux, and Toyota Land Cruiser & GMV 1.1. special operations vehicles.