Air Force Produces Light, Thin Transparent Armor

ballistic glass image
A projectile exit point is shown in the ballistic glass (left). The aluminum oxynitride transparent ceramic armor is shown (right) with a bulge and no exit from the projectile. (USAF photo)

The Air Force Research Laboratory is manufacturing transparent ceramic armor for both air and ground vehicles. ALON is a transparent ceramic material composed of aluminum, oxygen, and nitrogen. It begins as a powder that is formed into unique shapes and made transparent through the application of high temperature and pressure.

Transparent armor is currently used on U.S. Army Blackhawk and Chinook helicopters; it is also of interest to NASA for Cupola scratch pane windows on the International Space Station.