Is it tough enough? The US Army is testing IperionX’s light, super strong titanium plate by trying to blow holes in it
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IperionX continues to make inroads into the US defence sector, reaching an agreement to produce high-strength titanium plate for US Army testing.
IperionX (ASX:IPX) aims to produce low carbon titanium for advanced US industries including space, aerospace, defence, electric vehicles, and 3D printing via an end-to-end business model.
Titanium’s superior strength-to-weight and corrosion resistance offers scope for future US Army ground vehicles to be tougher, lighter, more mobile and have enhanced range and durability in the field.
This is particularly true given concerns about “weight creep” with many modern military vehicles being significantly heavier than their older counterparts due to the need to increase protection and capabilities.
The new test services agreement and statement of work with the US Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center (DEVCOM GVSC) is the latest step in the company’s strategy of producing low carbon and lower cost titanium for advanced industries.
Mid-last month, IperionX secured a deal to produce titanium plate components for US aerospace and defence giant Lockheed Martin, a heavy user of titanium alloys for critical structures and other key components across the breadth of its products for air, land, sea, and space.
Lockheed Martin senior fellow for Additive Manufacturing Processes and Materials Brian Rosenberger said then that lowering the cost of titanium components would mean broader use of the material to “increase the performance of our products”.
Other moves made by IperionX (ASX:IPX) in this sector include winning the US Department of Defence’s National Security Innovation Network (NSIN), Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) Grand Challenge for titanium recycling earlier this year and securing a deal with Carver Pump in February to additively manufacture titanium pump components for the US Navy.
This is made possible by the company’s suite of patented technologies that can either use titanium minerals or titanium scrap to manufacture high quality titanium products at significantly lower cost and carbon footprint than existing production processes.
Under the agreement with DEVCOM GVSC, the company will produce titanium plate components using its powder metallurgy production methods.
To deliver higher performance and durability, it will also employ its patented Hydrogen Sintering and Phase Transformation (HSPT) technologies, a cutting-edge technique to enhance the microstructure of titanium to deliver strength and fatigue properties that are comparable to wrought titanium alloys.
The resulting titanium plates will be subject to testing to determine their metal characteristics and ballistic properties.
DEVCOM GVSC may relay the results to select US Department of Defense contractors who are original equipment manufacturers of US Army ground vehicles for consideration in future ground vehicle designs.
Notable examples are General Dynamics Land Systems, BAE Systems, American Rheinmetall Defense and Oshkosh Corporation.
IperionX’s plan to build a fully integrated titanium supply chain in the US also fits perfectly with the US DoD actively pursuing alternatives to the current import-dependent supply chain for titanium metal and alloys.
These include establishing domestic operations from mineral extraction, processing, and refining of ore, as well as the recycling of scrap titanium.
“We look at the combination of advanced manufacturing and titanium to help us improve both corrosion mitigation and light-weighting in Army ground vehicles,” GVSC head of materials and manufacturing Brandon Pender said.
“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.”
IperionX founder and chief executive officer Anastasios Arima said the company was honored to collaborate with DEVCOM GVSC to evaluate its titanium products for US Army ground vehicles.
“Titanium for the US defence sector is currently sourced over long distances from foreign nations,” he added.
“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.”
This article was developed in collaboration with IperionX, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.
This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.