CHARLOTTE, N.C.—IperionX Limited reported that it will produce high-strength titanium plate for testing by the U.S. Army. The company recently executed a Test Services Agreement and Statement of Work with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Ground Vehicle Systems Center (DEVCOM GVSC), according to a release from IperionX.
The agreement will focus on the metal characterization and ballistic testing properties of IperionX’s high-strength titanium plate components. DEVCOM GVSC may relay the results to select U.S. DoD contractors that are original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of U.S. Army ground vehicles, for consideration in future ground vehicle designs, IperionX said in a release.
Known U.S. Army ground vehicle contractor OEMs include General Dynamics Land Systems, an arm of General Dynamics Corporation; BAE Systems, Inc., the U.S. subsidiary of BAE Systems PLC; American Rheinmetall Defense, Inc., the U.S. counterpart of Rheinmetall AG; Oshkosh Corporation; and AM General, a privately held firm based in South Bend, Indiana.
The titanium plate for U.S Army ballistic testing will be manufactured using powder metallurgy production methods with IperionX’s advanced titanium angular powder. To provide higher performance and durability, IperionX said it will also employ its patented Hydrogen Sintering and Phase Transformation (HSPT) technologies. The technique is said to enhance the microstructure of titanium to deliver strength and fatigue properties that are comparable to wrought titanium alloys.
Titanium is a critical material for numerous U.S. defense systems, including military fighter aircraft and engines, naval platforms, and military ground vehicles. It is prized for its high strength-to-weight ratio, as well as its resistance to high temperatures and corrosion. Titanium’s properties are said to offer hope for future U.S. Army ground vehicles to be lighter, more mobile, and with enhanced range and durability in the field.
According to the release, the United States has limited domestic primary titanium metal (titanium sponge) capacity and currently imports more than 95 percent of the titanium sponge required for the U.S. defense sector. IperionX said it plans to re-shore a fully integrated titanium supply chain to the United States, reduce the acute reliance on titanium imports from foreign nations, and strengthen the domestic titanium supply chain for critical defense systems.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is reported to be actively pursuing alternatives to the current import-dependent supply chain for titanium metal and alloys. The DoD aims to establish domestic operations from mining, processing, and refining of ore, as well as the recycling of scrap titanium. The optimal domestic titanium supply chain will provide a wide range of products—including titanium powder, ingots, bars, and plate—at higher energy efficiency, lower costs, and lower environmental impacts, the release said.
“We look at the combination of advanced manufacturing and titanium to help us improve both corrosion mitigation and light-weighting in Army ground vehicles,” said Associate Director GVME, GVSC Head of Materials and Manufacturing Brandon Pender, in the release. “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 aluminum and steel only helps us improve the operational performance and readiness of Army ground systems.”
IperionX said it aims to become a leading American titanium metal and critical materials company, using patented metal technologies to produce high performance titanium alloys. The company works to produce these alloys from titanium minerals or scrap titanium, at lower energy, cost, and carbon emissions. According to IperionX, its titanium metal and critical minerals are essential for advanced U.S. industries such as aerospace, defense, consumer electronics, hydrogen, electric vehicles, and additive manufacturing.
“We are honored to collaborate with DEVCOM GVSC to evaluate our titanium products for U.S. Army ground vehicles,” said IperionX CEO Anastasios (Taso) Arima, in the release. “Titanium for the U.S. defense sector is currently sourced over long distances from foreign nations. IperionX plans to re-shore a lower cost and more sustainable, fully integrated U.S. titanium supply chain that is critical to America’s economic future and national security.”