As everyone knows, titanium alloys are used in airplanes and submarines. Its specific strength even exceeds that of steel. When the specific gravity is slightly higher than that of aluminum, its strength, toughness and other properties are similar to or even better than steel. In theory, titanium alloy is the perfect armor material.
Titanium alloy is an ideal armor material only in terms of performance. We know that armored steel is mainly used as armor on armored vehicles, and some light vehicles, such as infantry fighting vehicles, paratrooper fighting vehicles, and armored transport vehicles, use aluminum alloy armor to reduce weight. However, the hardness of the aluminum alloy armor is low, and the specific strength is far inferior to that of steel. It is also not resistant to high temperatures. When it is hit by an armor-penetrating bomb, it will also burn locally to generate toxic gases. But after all, aluminum alloy is very light. As armor, under the premise of the same protection for armor-piercing projectiles, although the thickness is much larger than steel, it can be lighter. But titanium alloys also have a fatal flaw, which is expensive. This is expensive, on the one hand, the high-performance titanium alloy material itself is very expensive; on the other hand, more importantly, the titanium alloy is difficult to process, especially the titanium alloy welding, it is very difficult. In general, titanium alloy armor with the same protective power is 10-20 times more expensive than steel.
Therefore, for a long time, the use of titanium alloy armor has generally been used on aircrafts and individual bulletproof jackets. The Soviet Union used titanium alloys to make pressure-resistant shells for submarines. Its cost per ton exceeds the price of gold of the same weight. In the world, only China, the United States, and Russia have conducted special research on marine titanium alloys and established their own marine titanium alloy systems. Moreover, titanium alloys still have some defects. According to related papers, under specific load conditions, the projectile needs only a small amount of energy to cause damage to the titanium alloy armor. Therefore, even if there is no money, titanium alloys completely replace steel. It is also unscientific.
By the 1990s, there were some turning points in titanium armor. Take the United States as a representative. At that time, many countries began to study the relevant technology of low-cost titanium alloys used in armored vehicles. Through the use of new technologies and processes, such as electron beam welding, the price of titanium alloy armor has been reduced by about 40%, which finally makes it possible to use titanium alloy materials. In the further upgrade plan of the M1A2 tank planned by the United States in the 1990s, it was intended to use titanium alloy to manufacture hatches and top armor plates, etc., to replace its original steel components. The weight of M1 tanks using titanium alloy components could be reduced by nearly 500 kg. At the same time, the protective force remains unchanged. Research by the US military also pointed out that related technologies can also be used in the M2 "Bradley" and M113 armored transport vehicles. Of course, this needs to be further reduced in the manufacturing cost of titanium alloys. In addition, when developing the EFV Marine Expeditionary Vehicle, the US military also considered the use of titanium armor, or the use of titanium alloy to manufacture the vehicle's mobile system components to reduce weight.
China's new tanks use titanium alloys to make the body structure. The weight and protection are obviously better than the previous use of aluminum alloy or steel. So what is this chariot? First of all, this chariot is still in the main technological research phase, so it will not be a vehicle that has begun to equip the army. This can exclude Type 15 lightweight main battle tanks, Type 05 amphibious assault vehicles and amphibious infantry fighting vehicles, 04A infantry fighting vehicles, and so on. The Weapons and Equipment Group also has rich experience in using titanium alloy materials in army weapons. The AH-4 155mm ultra-light howitzer developed by it uses a large number of large titanium alloy components including titanium alloy turrets. This fact can also be explained from the side, the Brigade Group has a deep foundation in the casting, welding and machining of large titanium alloy components. In the 2012 Zhuhai Air Show, when a staff member of the factory interviewed us next to the AH-4 super light artillery, he said with a mysterious smile: "After mastering this technology, we will be able to pass Belden, In the future, there will be more new equipment using titanium alloys. Please wait and see. According to the information disclosed by the relevant news, the structural frame materials and part of the armor of the new armored vehicles in our country are made of titanium alloy materials. This first shows that this is An armored vehicle with a basic structure decided to use titanium alloys in large numbers from the beginning of design. This is the world's first.