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NRI Abraham Pannikottu Receives Funding to Develop
Zero Pressure Tires for US Army

Los Angeles, Nov. 28, 2022 A.Gary Singh

US President Joe Biden had signed into law a massive fiscal year 2022 omnibus appropriations bill that will spend $782 billion on national defense spending included supplemental appropriations to address the crisis in Ukraine.  These critical investments will go a long way to countering both Russia and China, who are working together to out-compete the United States.
The spending bill also includes next-generation technologies such as American Engineering Group (AEG)’s carbon fiber pressure zero tire technology. Pressure Zero Army Tire Manufacturing is funded in this bill with $5 million. The development of this manufacturing technology replaces current run-flat inserts inside military tires for both manned and unmanned-autonomous vehicles.

AEG Founder Abraham Pannikottu

American Engineering Group was founded by Kerala born (Puramattom, Pathanamthitta District) Abraham Pannikottu, a polymer researcher and businessman, who serves as its CEO. He was assisted by Dr. Thomas Abraham, a material scientist and nanotechnologist, serves as an advisor and president of the company.

“After decades of painstaking preparation and lab tire testing, AEG is finally poised for manufacturing, with the first pressure “Zero” tire will be delivered in 2023 bringing this military tire from concept to reality has been a long, two-decade journey for AEG,” said the AEG’s founder Abraham Pannikottu, who also serve as the CEO.

The project has drawn considerable attention, as it marks American Engineering Group's first foray into the military tire manufacturing in the US city of Akron, Ohio. The Zero Pressure Tire is also symbolic of the recent trend of innovation among small engineering companies for US defense.

The funding campaign was supported by Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and Congressman Tim Ryan, who stated, “I've always been a champion of a strong national defense, and that begins with the resources we invest here at home."

AEG received the award for the DOD project to manufacture a carbon fiber tire that will continue running even after being shredded by roadside bombs or gunfire. Though military vehicle tires are now equipped with run-flat inserts, the DOD wants to upgrade to a zero-pressure tire that's better at carrying heavier loads and can quickly move soldiers out of harm's way.

When engineers at American Engineering Group began working on tire designs, they settled on a flexible multiple carbon fiber hoop structure – which functions like air inside a tire. Along with carbon fiber multiple hoops for strength, the design allows shrapnel and high-caliber bullets to pass through the tire. During project phase I testing, in 2011, the tire continued to run well – keeping the same functional road performance – even after receiving several rounds of gun shots.

Left is Dr. Jon Gerhardt, Right Abraham Pannikottu

The Pressure Zero Tire have been around for a long time, with major drawbacks such as bumpy rides and overheating. AEG’s prototype dissipates heat and has the tire flexibility and strength to support the heavy military pick-up weight while providing a relatively smooth ride.

Though military vehicles outfitted with "run-flat" tires are supposed to travel at least 30 mph for 30 miles (the minimum DOD requirement), field performance of current run-flat tires hit by roadside bombs were reported to be much lower than this minimum requirement. The new AEG Zero Pressure Tire will withstand a minimum of 50 mph speeds for 300 miles once it's punctured based on results from Phase I completed studies in 2011.  “This level of load carrying capability and survivability surprised even me.” says Dr. Jon Gerhardt, one of the AEG designers.


AEG President Dr. Thomas Abraham

“Defense vehicle weight requirements are increased so much that the current tires cannot support the load and DOD wants to create a tire that extends the mobility of the vehicle as well as the survivability and maintainability, that is where AEG’s new zero pressure tire comes to rescue,” said AEG President Dr. Thomas Abraham.

AEG personnel fired a very large-caliber round with a high-velocity rifle into the tire several times. The damaged tires performed well and could perform at 50 mph speeds for 300 miles. The durability characteristics of this design will be studied further in this Phase II on four different tire sizes from four different DOD Special Operations Vehicles.


American Engineering Group (AEG) received a Phase II project grant in 2014 from the Special Operations Forces to develop a run-flat tire that would continue running even after being impacted by roadside bombs or gunfire. The main objective of the project, “Improved Tire Technology for Special Operations Vehicles,” was to develop a true off-road ballistic tire that could provide high off-road mobility and also provide improved tire survivability against terrain and ballistic threats. Though military vehicle tires are now equipped with run-flat inserts, Army wants to upgrade to a tire that's better at carrying heavier loads, has reduced tire weight, and can move soldiers out of harm's way.

AEG tires with holes in it was tested in USA Army vehicles and successfully passed the test

Carbon Fiber Hoops

At its Akron laboratory facility, American Engineering Group worked on different combinations of polymeric elastomeric materials to make the multiple carbon fiber hoops that are bonded to the carcass of the tire.

Finding the right combination of hoop dimensions and materials was the challenge. A softer material provides good durability and flexibility but wears out sooner. A harder material lasts longer but also generates more heat.

“We were also able to utilize our Ohio suppliers’ experiences and knowledge to develop and manufacture this unique carbon-fiber–metal composite reinforced tire and we’re hoping to utilize this Pressure Zero Tire technology on various DOD tactical light vehicles,” said Mr. Bob Snyder, Manufacturing and Supplier Development Manager of AEG.

“AEG’s motivation and driving force for this project, is saving the lives of our soldiers." Added AEG Founder

About American Engineering Group

AEG started its operation in Akron, Ohio in 2000. The company, has patent and a trade mark for the Zero Pressure Tire technology. June 2, 2017 American Engineering Group won the top team award for Developing Zero Pressure Tire for US Special Operations Forces Command (USSOCOM). AEG is the recipient of two DOD awards for visionary leadership and drive for innovation to revamp military vehicle sustainability against gunfire.

As for commercial applications of the zero-pressure design for run-flat tires, AEG is focusing its current efforts on the pick-up truck. However, this technology eventually could be used on all-terrain vehicles, as well as mining and construction vehicles.

Anther original feature of the Pressure Zero design is to utilize carbon fiber-reinforced hoops for manufacturing of Non-Pneumatic Tire (NPT) for electric vehicle. As environmental awareness grows worldwide, automakers are accelerating the introduction of lighter, smaller electrical vehicles. In response to that trend, AEG is confident that PZT run-flat tires will significantly advance the use of NPT tires by original equipment manufacturers, thereby accelerating the elimination of spare tires (emergency-use tires) in passenger vehicles.