GKN Aerospace has been awarded a $425,000 (£255,400) contract by the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO) of the US Department of Defense to develop instantly dimmable bullet-resistant windows.
The development programme will combine GKN Aerospace's bullet-resistant glazing expertise with 'suspended particle device' (SPD-SmartGlass) technology from Research Frontiers.
GKN Aerospace is licensed by Research Frontiers to use the SPD-SmartGlass technology to develop armoured glass products that will also offer vehicle occupants instant 'on-demand' light control and attenuation, privacy, and protection from heat, glare, and ultraviolet (UV) light penetration.
Dr William Fischer, vice-president of technology at GKN Aerospace, said: 'This new development will have its initial application in the global counter-terrorism market for government VIP Armoured Personnel Vehicles but also has real value in the civilian VIP market. These "SmartShade" windows will give a level of control, protection and privacy for vehicle occupants not available until now.'
The programme will address three distinct technical objectives. The first will be to develop and refine a manufacturing process that will enable SPD-SmartGlass technology to be effectively incorporated into armoured windows. The second will ensure these new windows perform effectively in a range of extreme environmental conditions, and the third will be to ensure that they meet stringent ballistic testing performance requirements.
Fischer said: 'Military and government agencies have all have expressed strong interest in the potential benefits of smart window technology. We look forward to progressing and refining the work that our team has already achieved with this CTTSO contract.'