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General Electric Company, Ordnance Systems Division, Science & Technology Associates, New Mexico Institute of Mining & Technology
velocimeter to record transit velocities, time-interval meters with nanosecond resolution, 200-megahertz analog-todigital signal converters, and a wide range of more conventional instrumentation. We also can use PHERMEX, a 30-MeV flash x-ray machine, and ECTOR, a 3-MeV machine. Both of the machines have access to impressive digital-enhancement capabilities for flash radiographs, and they allow us to determine the internal structure of anti-armor and armor devices at the time of impact (see "Studying Ceramic Armor with PHERMEX").
An Evolving Process
At ATAC we can see a new process evolving among industry, the military, and the Laboratory in which a natural interplay of needs, research, testing, prototyping, evaluating, developing, and procuring guides the development of armor and anti-armor systems (Fig. 6). To illustrate how the process works, consider the case of ceramic-filled polymer armor (described in "Armor/Anti
Armor-Materials by Design"). When the military told the Laboratory about the need for a less expensive ceramic armor, our materials scientists tested various ideas and developed a process for fabricating a less expensive but equally effective ceramic armor. We then initiated transfer of the technological concepts to industry, and Allied Signal used the ideas to develop their own armor package. Allied Signal is now busy producing prototypes of the armor, which they will submit for testing and evaluation at ATAC. If that armor is successful in the competition, it will eventually become a new product available for military use.
The true value of the national Armor/ Anti-Armor Program may not lie in a simple leapfrogging of Soviet armor and bullets by U.S. technology. Rather it may lie in the way this uniquely structured program has opened fresh interactions between our nation's military, industries, laboratories, and universities that will allow us to constantly maintain an edge over the Soviets. ■
Richard Mah is the director of ATAC and a former group leader in the Materials Science Division & Los Alamos. Prior to coming to the Laboratory, be worked as a senior research engineer at Dow Chemical and C. F. Braun & Co. He holds degrees theoretical and applied mechanics and metallurgical engineering from the University of Illinois and has published over twenty papers on materials science topics.