Kerala-born Abraham Pannikottu led American Engineering Group (AEG) has received funding from the US Department of Defense to develop and manufacture specialized zero pressure tires for the US Army.
The Ohio-based firm specialises in carbon fibre pressure zero tire technology, which ensures that the tires will continue running even after being shredded by roadside bombs or gunfire.
“…the first pressure “Zero” tire will be delivered in 2023. Bringing this military tire from concept to reality has been a long, two-decade journey for AEG,” said Pannikottu, a polymer researcher and businessman, who also serves as the firm’s CEO.
The development of this manufacturing technology replaces current run-flat inserts inside military tires for both manned and unmanned-autonomous vehicles, a company statement stated.
The 2022 Omnibus Appropriations Bill will spend $782 billion on national defense spending, which includes $5 million in developing next-generation technologies like the carbon fibre pressure zero tire technology.
The new technology tires dissipate heat and have the flexibility and strength to support the heavy military pick-up weight while providing a relatively smooth ride, it noted.
The US military vehicle tires are now equipped with run-flat inserts, but the defense department wants to upgrade them to a zero-pressure tire that is better at carrying heavier loads and can quickly move soldiers out of harm.
“Defense vehicle weight requirements are increased so much that the current tires cannot support the load and DOD (Department of Defense) wants to create a tire that extends the mobility of the vehicle as well as the survivability and maintainability. That is where AEG’s new zero pressure tire comes to the rescue,” said AEG President Thomas Abraham.
Based on phase-1 results, the new AEG Zero Pressure Tire withstood a minimum of 50mph speed for 300 miles after being hit with a high-velocity rifle several times.
According to the company’s engineers, the durability characteristics of this design will be studied further in phase-2 on four different tyre sizes from four different Department of Defense’s special operations vehicles.