Star Trek IV fans, gape in awe:
"The Air Force Research Laboratory's materials and manufacturing directorate is testing aluminum oxynitride -- ALONtm -- as a replacement for the traditional multi-layered glass transparencies now used in existing ground and air armored vehicles.
The test is being done in conjunction with the Army Research Laboratory at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Md., and University of Dayton Research Institute, Ohio.
Traditional transparent armor is thick layers of bonded glass. The new armor combines the transparent ALONtm piece as a strike plate, a middle section of glass and a polymer backing. Each layer is visibly thinner than the traditional layers.
ALONtm is virtually scratch resistant, offers substantial impact resistance, and provides better durability and protection against armor piercing threats, at roughly half the weight and half the thickness of traditional glass transparent armor, said the lieutenant.
In a June 2004demonstration, an ALONtm test pieces held up to both a .30 caliber Russian M-44 sniper rifle and a .50 caliber Browning Sniper Rifle with armor piercing bullets. While the bullets pierced the glass samples, the armor withstood the impact with no penetration.
In extensive testing, ALONtm has performed well against multiple hits of .30 caliber armor piercing rounds -- typical of anti-aircraft fire, Lieutenant La Monica said. Tests focusing on multiple hits from .50 caliber rounds and improvised explosive devices are in the works."
That's right, bitches. Transparent aluminum. Gene is smiling somewhere, nu?
(Thanks to ChuckG for the link.)