Road security has become an important concern, not only for presidents, ambassadors, celebrities or CEOs but for everyone, including civilians. This is why armoured cars or bulletproof vehicles are taking front space in automobile demand in recent times.
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In making armoured cars, different parts of the car including the doors, interiors, body, and even the tyres are modified to provide protection against missiles, bullets and other dangerous projectiles. The tyres of a car provide stability and support; but in armoured cars, they do much more!
Are Armoured Tyres Bulletproof?
Rather than call armoured tyres bulletproof, the correct terminology is to call them ‘run flat tyres’ (RFT). A bullet can penetrate anything, depending on its size and speed. The primary purpose of a bulletproof tyre manufacturer is to make a tyre that can stop or deflect a bullet as well as remain functional for a period of time even after being hit.
The overall purpose of an armoured car is protection. It is also protection for individuals if the tyres can still run to take them away from a danger zone, even after being punctured. This is where run-flat tyres are an important upgrade in armoured cars.
A run-flat tyre is a pneumatic vehicle tyre designed to resist the deflation effects when punctured and keep the vehicle moving at a reduced speed for a limited distance. The speed is often under 56mph for a distance that ranges from 10miles to 50miles depending on armoured vehicle type and manufacturer. Once flattened, a run-flat tyre is capable of providing a roller/band within the tyre and also securing the tyre on the rim. With the tyre safely on the rim, the vehicle is still able to have traction allowing the vehicle to continue to drive away from the “danger zone”- i.e the point where it is punctured or flattened.
Types Of Bulletproof Tyres
Bulletproof tyres, or better said, run-flat tyres come in various designs which determine their level of resistance to bullets and other harmful projectiles. These are;
- Tyre Made Of Durable Thick Rubber
The rubber in these tyres is ten times as thick as those in regular tyres, making them significantly heavier. These tyres are able to prevent penetration of a regular handgun bullet, but most cannot resist projectiles from high calibre guns or heavy armoury.
- Self Sealing Tyres
Made from special materials, these tyres are able to absorb a bullet at impact and seal the opening of the bulletproof penetration. They are designed to contain a material that will seal the hole made by the bullet. These tyres are able to maintain their pressure and remain in motion for about an hour. This time is sufficient enough to allow the car and its occupants to move away from the danger zone.
- Self Inflating Tyre
These kinds of tyres are mainly used in military applications, and certain commercial uses. These tyres are able to adjust tyre pressure for the optimum footprint on any terrain.
- Airless Tyres
These are also used for military purposes. It is also used in some off-road vehicles. These bulletproof tyres can withstand gunfire, the force of explosions, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), and extreme terrain. The disadvantage of airless tyres is they are limited to a maximum speed of 25 mph.
Benefits Of Bulletproof (Run Flats) Tyre/Ires
As I mentioned earlier, you have more to gain in using a run-flat tyre. These are;
- Irrespective of the cause of tyre damage, run-flat tyres allow you to continue to operate the vehicle
- They can minimize the damage to the vehicle.
- Unlike regular cars that can somersault if the tyres burst suddenly and destroy lives, running flat tyres reduces the risk of injury to yourself and others.
- It prevents the tyre from leaving or damaging the rim when there’s sudden air loss, after a puncture or blowout.
- Since the rim grips the tyre, it gives room for continued steering, braking and cornering with the tyre rubber between the rim and the surface of the road.
- You can drive to safety at a reasonable speed, where you can change your tyre without stopping somewhere dangerous.
- Run flats tyres are able to give stability and endurance to the car after being punctured.
Disadvantages Of Bulletproof (Run Flat) Tyres
- They are more expensive than regular tyres.
- Run flat tyres are thicker and heavier, and so can increase fuel use by 1-2%.
- They don’t provide a not of grip, especially in low temperatures.