LAS VEGAS (Nov. 4, 2008) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has inked a joint development agreement with Resilient Technologies L.L.C. to produce an airless military tire prototype for Humvees that would help the vehicles retain mobility amid gunfire and explosions.
The non-pneumatic tire (NPT) has been under development by Resilient for more than two years to address the problem of the increased number of military vehicles and personnel being stranded in Iraq and elsewhere due to bullets and shrapnel causing flat tires.
Under the joint venture, Cooper will provide design, manufacturing, testing and performance expertise. Resilient provides experience with unique engineered, advanced polymer products.
The prototype NPT, unlike traditional tires, features an open honeycomb casing without a sidewall. The honeycomb design allows bullets and shrapnel to move through the tire without disabling it, according to Cooper. The tire will continue to run even if a large portion of the honeycomb cells have been disabled, the company said.
The companies said the design provides better mobility, range, functionality and reliability and requires less maintenance than a standard military run-flat tire.
“We value the opportunity to work with Resilient Technologies on a project that directly helps save the lives of U.S. military personnel,” said Chuck Yurkovich, vice president of global technology for Cooper. “The initial field tests, at speeds up to 55 mph, have reinforced that we're on the right path regarding the tire's structure and composition.”
The NPT weighs less than a traditional Humvee run-flat tire, requires less oil in the manufacturing process and is retreadable. After additional testing, Cooper and Resilient said they will deliver prototypes to the U.S. Army. The tire is expected to be in use by 2011.
The NPT also has future potential in the commercial market, Mr. Yurkovich said.
“There are a lot of potential consumer benefits with a non-pneumatic tire and we're looking forward to assessing the practicality of implementation in our markets."