Aircraft Transparency Construction, Materials, and Applications


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

Posted: February 03, 2018 | Completed: 20170601
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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