Addressing Ballistic Glass Delamination in the Marine Corps Tactical Vehicle Fleet

Implications for Resourcing and Readiness

by Ellen M. Pint, Joslyn Fleming, Gene Germanovich, Luke Muggy


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Research Questions

  1. What are the effects of ballistic glass delamination on Marine Corps operational risks and budgets?
  2. What are the future costs to repair or replace delaminated windshields on tactical vehicles?
  3. What steps can the Marine Corps take to mitigate the risks associated with ballistic glass delamination?

Over the course of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the U.S. Marine Corps identified a need for ballistic glass to be installed on the windshields and side-door windows of forward-deployed tactical vehicles to protect against bullets and other projectiles fired by insurgents. This requirement was satisfied with an Urgent Universal Need Statement and subsequent fielding to most up-armored vehicles. Although the glass proved reliable from a ballistics perspective, delamination — a process whereby protective material splits apart into layers due to the intrusion of moisture and dirt — created spots, bubbles, and discoloration and impaired driver visibility. In recent years, this type of degradation to ballistic glass has been occurring at a rapid pace, affecting equipment readiness and resulting in an unplanned cost burden on operational forces and depots.

In this report, RAND researchers use a simulation model to estimate the effects of delaminated ballistic glass on the future sustainment costs and availability of Marine Corps tactical vehicles under various repair and replacement scenarios. Based on the model's results, the authors identify steps that the Marine Corps could take to mitigate risks associated with ballistic glass delamination.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One


  • Chapter Two

    Historical Trends in Ballistic Glass Replacement

  • Chapter Three

    Current Extent of Delamination

  • Chapter Four

    Modeling Replacement and Sustainment Costs

  • Chapter Five

    Modeling Results

  • Chapter Six

    Findings and Recommendations

  • Appendix A

    Interview Protocol for Subject-Matter Experts

  • Appendix B

    Data Collection Methodology

  • Appendix C

    Simulation Model Results

This research was sponsored by the United States Marine Corps Operational Analysis Directorate and conducted within the Acquisition and Technology Policy Center of the RAND National Defense Research Institute, a federally funded research and development center sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, the Navy, the Marine Corps, the defense agencies, and the defense Intelligence Community.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Research report series. RAND reports present research findings and objective analysis that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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