Tent armor that has been in development for 10 years is now ready for full production, reports Colorado’s Grand Junction Sentinel. Polystrand Inc. says it has been working with the University of Maine to develop the tent panels, which shield soldiers from bomb blasts and shrapnel.
The tent panels are “beyond prototype,” according to Polystrand president Ed Pilpel. The company is ready to undertake a pilot run with the University of Maine, which reportedly received $1.6 million to produce the panels from a government defense spending initiative.
Pilpel said that soldiers’ tents are traditionally protected by sandbags, which are heavy and time-consuming to install. Alternative modes of protection have been in development by the U.S. Army since World War I, he said.
“It just so happens we came up with the right combination that makes a very good and economical ballistic panel,” he said.
The panels are placed inside the tent’s walls and can deflect and absorb a shock wave from a bomb explosion, allowing the tent to remain standing. The secret behind the effectiveness of the panels is a technique unique to Polystrand, involving a method of fusing together plastic pellets with glass.
In other defense news, the U.S. Army has announced several new projects to reduce energy and fuel consumption both at home and abroad. One of these initiatives will be to use more foam tents for housing, which are better insulated and therefore more energy-efficient than cloth tents.