Aircraft Transparency Construction, Materials, and Applications


DOD photo by Senior Airman Julianne Showalter, U.S. Air Force. (Released)

Posted: February 03, 2018 | Completed: June 1, 2017
What are the different materials, manufacturing methods, and properties for transparent aircraft parts?

DSIAC identified materials used in military aircraft transparencies (windshields or windscreens, canopies, windows, blast shields, etc.); predominant material differences in transparencies for different classes of aircraft (fighter jets, bombers, cargo/transport aircraft, rotary wing aircraft, etc.); and studies regarding differentiation of the materials from aircraft to aircraft.

DSIAC staff developed a report that discusses:

  • the various types of transparencies and presents diagrams for e​ach type;
  • differences in and production of both monolithic (single layer) and laminate (multi-layer) transparencies;
  • differences in materials used and material benefits;
  • differences in application to various types of aircraft;
  • differences in application between military and commercial aviation aircraft;
  • the various types of materials used in the main structural layers, interlayers between them, and their purpose; and
  • additional exterior and interior layers and other special coatings applied for environmental protection, crew spall shielding, electromagnetic protection, and other purposes.

Additionally, the report provides:

  • a list of transparency manufacturers and their website links,
  • over 20 data sheets for specific military and commercial aviation aircraft transparencies, and
  • a bibliography for DTIC documents related to aircraft transparency materials and testing.

Finally, a table of U.S. DoD attack, fighter and bomber transparency information researched from available DTIC reports was developed that provides information on:

  • transparency type,
  • manufacture,
  • structure,
  • number and order of plies and interlayers, and
  • material type and thickness for each ply or interlayer.​

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