Next week, the US Army will begin testing a new Humvee that has a body and frame made completely from composite materials, Fiberglass, balsa wood, foam and carbon reinforcements. Conventionally, the Army has battled with how to protect Humvees from mines because ironically, adding more armor to the vehicles just weighs them down (and bring them closer to the mines).

The solution was to build a composite frame that makes the Humvee 900lbs lighter (or about 10%). Beyond the weight savings, the other advantage is that the Humvee is reinforced with different composite concoctions where the vehicle needs the most protection from mines (the rear).

Since mines are the biggest killers of US troops in Iraq, such re-engineering should save lives if field testing goes well. [armytimes via gearfuse]