Amazing Bullet-Proof Tire Coming To A Truck Near You

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Armored vehicles do an excellent job of protecting soldiers and police personnel from bullets, shrapnel and other dangers encountered in the line of duty.  Traditionally, however, these types of vehicles have always presented the same weak leak that can in some cases mean the difference between life and death:  completely exposed rubber tires.

Steel might be able to resist the explosive force of an improvised explosive device, but the rubber that is used in making the tires that support the massive weight of these vehicles has lagged behind in terms of strength and resistance to puncture.  It’s not just rocket-propelled grenades or machine gun fire that shreds tires, either – debris in the road, a hazard on both war-torn and peaceful roadways alike, can also quickly stop a convoy due to tire damage.

The Resilient Techologies Non-Pneumatic Tire. Yes, even military auto shows apparently hire models.

When tires blow in a hostile situation, the lack of mobility and the exposure of soldiers forced to replace those tires in order to get moving again puts lives at risk.  Run-flat tire technology cribbed from civilian designs is only so effective in a combat zone, as both speed limitations imposed on damaged wheels as well as the distances between safe areas can both conspire against the safety of military personnel.  These unique conditions, encountered every day by U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, prompted Resilient Technologies to create the Non-Pneumatic Tire.

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The Non-Pneumatic Tire (NPT) is the result of 21 months of testing of a tire solution that doesn’t require on a balloon of air to provide stability, traction or shock absorption.  By using a plastic honeycomb design wrapped in a rubber tread, the NPT is unaffected by the kinds of punctures or damage that would render a traditional air-filled tire useless.  In addition, the radical new design weighs the same as the current wheel and tire set installed on military Humvees and features a 100,000 mile lifespan before needing to be replaced.

Resilient plans a fully-functional prototype tire to be made available for use by the American military sometime this year.  That being said, since this is a military project, the tires could very well already be out there in a limited capacity for testing purposes.  The potential for these tires to eventually trickle their way down to civilian use is strong, as companies such as Michelin have been involved in developed a non-pneumatic tire for many years.  If Resilient Technologies and Michelin have their way, these bulletproof tires could soon make blowouts, and all the dangers associated with them, a thing of the past.

The question is, will these tires make it to your truck…and will they be better than a regular old pneumatic tire?

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  1. Art64 says:

    Hopefully, they do. The only problem I can see is that the tires may develop a flatspot if the vehicle is parked for long periods of time and also, no more air so cannot adjust the tire’s stiffness relative to the weight or cargo of your vehicle. So for a pick up truck that’s empty, the ride maybe too harsh. Or the ride maybe comfortable when empty, then when you put heavy load on the truck, the tire flattens like the one on the video as the Dodge drove thru rocks and this will kill your gas mileage rally bad.

  2. Joshua says:

    Looks cool and I love the idea of anything that will help troops on the ground. However I think an RPG would still destroy it and the sides are not protected at all. I would like to see the side strength of the tires in a rock crawling type situation as well.

  3. mk says:

    very good idea, but what is the price? If even 2-3 times the price and it lasts 100K, I would buy it. How about for motorcycles never having a blowout would be nice and safe also especially since cycle tires last only about 10-12,000 miles tops and so darn expensive to replace. I could go for 100K tires on my cycle that would last me a very, very long time and no dry-rot also say 10 years from now would be awesome.

    • NL says:

      Motorcycles use a good part of the sidewall to make turns, this tire would need some sort of sidewall for motorcycle use.

  4. rich says:

    One thing the military could care less about is gas mileage. From what i know this product it is horrible when considering fuel consumption. I wonder if the hot chick in the photo will make us forget about fuel consumption…lol!

  5. mk says:

    hot chick Rich? I don’t know about that?

    So, how much worse mpg really?

  6. Jason (Admin) says:

    Art64 – I don’t know about the tire concept, but you raise a couple of good points about flat spots and a lack of adjustment.

    Joshua – Good question about the rock-crawling situation, but I think I know the answer. Bias ply tires are the best for rock crawling because they can conform to the surface…these tires definitely couldn’t match them.

    mk – I think cost will be higher, but as you say even at 2-3 times higher the additional cost probably makes good sense.

    rich – Interesting. Had no idea that the mileage was effected.

  7. Benjamin says:

    What would be interesting is if these tires could be adapted to big rigs and offer the kind of load carrying strength needed in a tractor trailer application. 100,000 mile tires and no blowouts would seem like dramatic changes to the face of the transport industry, especially in terms of safety.

  8. Jason (Admin) says:

    Benjamin – Good call.

  9. BILLY says:

    Great concept but i doubt we will ever see it in the civilian world. Tire companies make their money because we have blowouts. Why would they make a tire that is going to limit their ability to sell you new tires. In addition i own my own rim and tire shop and i can look at the tires and tell you that currently there is no equipment that a civilian tire shop has that will allow us to change those tires. So tire shops are not going to warm up to the idea of having to buy $20,000 worth of equipment before they can sell a new tire, so i don’t see us chomping at the bit to persuade any of our customers to buy them. An entire new infrastructure of equipment and training would have to be created for it to work, kinda like hydrogen powered cars. Great concept but no infrastructure to implement it and it could be decades before/if one is created.

  10. Jason (Admin) says:

    Billy – I get where you’re coming from, but I disagree that the tire companies will try and hold this thing back. If the margin on these tires is high enough, they’d make more money selling one tire than they would selling 3 or 4 sets, especially once the tariff on Chinese tires is lifted.

    I can see why people in your business, however, would be reluctant to embrace this new tire, so I agree that will limit things.

  11. Adam says:

    Ok, so the tires I have have a 50,000 mile warranty. Doubling that doesn’t seem too revolutionary especially since my tires are just Good Years from Sam’s club. I know higher quality ones go above 80,000. So really the only innovative thing here is the fact that its airless and therefor cannot be punctured. I would be willing to pay double for that. Thats if the gas mileage isn’t really crappy though cause if it drops down by say half or something, I would be spending $600 a month instead of $300 a month I do now. That is a big difference for me. And Billy the Tire Shop Owner, 2 posts above me, is right about the fact that new equipment would be required to service tires such as these, if that is even possible. I haven’t read anywhere how the rubber is attached the the plastic honey comb structure. How would I get new tread on these honey comb rims? I would assume that the environmental impact of using these new tires would be positive. Unless the method of producing the plastics inside the rims are worse in comparison to producing normal tires to the quantity that one of these could be used for. And of coarse once again the gas mileage difference. A good accounting needs to be done as resources are not unlimited and as a species we would be stupid to not care for our planet.

  12. Oscar says:

    This is a tire for SPECIAL aplications, where you would´t bother for gas mileage, cargo limit or comfort. I would gladly buy them..I saw a video od a Dodge Pick-up with these on!!!!! Are they a available to buy right now????

  13. Garrett says:

    I believe these tires would be better if put on off road vehicles such as four-wheelers, dirt bikes, jeeps, etc. Because, they could stand constant wear of the rough terrain, yet be flexible enough to cushion the ride. They would also not be put under great amounts of stress due to weight because when four-wheeling you already try to haul a light load. And fuel economy wouldn’t be a big issue either. I think these tires are great, if you use them for what they were made for, which is in this case, puncture free tires.

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