Bridging the gaps between physics, concepts, and reality.
In addition to a £250,000 R&D grant from the UK Technology Strategy Board, ABBS has now completed a major funding exercise which has enabled the completion of development of the VAFS (Vehicle Armoured Floor Stabilisation) and VGAM (Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation) technologies. Final full scale testing of the systems on a lightweight Snatch Land Rover will be completed during Autumn 2014, following which the AMPS technology will be available for testing on customers’ vehicles.
Complete elimination of Global Acceleration is targeted, with Floor Deformation also being controlled to minimise or eliminate foot and leg injuries if the VAFS element of the AMPS technology is incorporated.
The control and motor systems are designed to be fully compliant with the relevant STANAG standards, and the whole system will effectively be at TRL 6 when the development work is completed. The basic elements of the systems are simply scale-able for specific vehicle designs, and the sensing and control function does not use any software, thus eliminating the difficulty of qualifying a safety-critical system involving computer software.
The systems are suitable for use on any vehicle size, from ultra-light special forces types, through civilian SUVs/VIP vehicles, mine clearance personnel transport vehicles, Light Patrol Vehicles, to large APCs or MBTs.
ABBS has contracted e2v to develop the sensor, control, and initiation system package required for its Active Mine Protection Systems. The need to detect, measure, and analyse the location and strength of a mine/IED blast under a vehicle and respond actively and powerfully to it within a millisecond is a challenge which has been enthusiastically embraced by e2v, who have quickly and successfully evolved their standard warhead initiation technology to meet the requirement. Designed to fully meet the relevant NATO STANAGs the systems are fully ruggedised to withstand the rough environments encountered by armoured vehicles in active service.
Similarly, the motor systems required to generate very high force levels combined with extremely short reaction times have required the adoption of novel designs which have extended rocket motor technology well beyond previous knowledge, and Daniel Jubb, MD of The Falcon Project Ltd. has, like e2v, responded enthusiastically to the challenge and rapidly developed some ground-breaking technology to optimise the systems as required for the AMPS technology.
The vehicle selected for the AMPS technology development is the ex-UK Army Snatch Land Rover 110 variant. This relatively light (4 ton) vehicle gained a bad reputation as being very susceptible to mine/IED attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan and therefore provides an excellent case study to demonstrate the effectiveness of ABBSs’ Active Mine Protection System technology. The low vehicle weight provides little resistance to global acceleration effects, and the low ground clearance and very shallow V belly plate enhances both the penetration and global acceleration effects of anti-vehicle mines and IEDs.
The current development programme will demonstrate complete protection against significant anti-vehicle under-belly mine blast levels with tests carried out the STANAG 4569 AEP55 standard, illustrating that even very light vehicles such as civilian SUVs or VIP cars can be fully protected against substantial AV mines.
With increasing pace of development of the Active Mine Protection System technology ABBS is raising the public profile of its activities in preparation for further discussions with armoured vehicle OEMs and National Defence Agencies in relation to potential test programmes. Collaboration with e2v, The Falcon Project Ltd., and Hobson Industries Ltd. will also be announced, as well as the completion of a major funding exercise which will allow final development of the AMPS technology.
After consulting widely with the industry and users the conclusion reached by Defence IQ was that IEDs would continue to be an ever-present threat, so that good blast/IED protection must be taken into account in any future armoured vehicle design.
Active systems (or some other major innovation currently un-identified) were also seen to have the greatest potential impact by 60% of respondents, and 80% saw blast/IED protection as being critically important, the highest percentage view regarding any type of threat including ballistics and RPGs.
ABBS has received further UK MOD funding to assist the development and optimisation of the motor systems used to apply downwards impulse to the vehicles. The motor systems can now be made at very low weight so that an overall weight saving for the vehicle may be possible.
Held in Abu Dhabi, ABBS will be showcasing its VAFS and VGAM technology, with a focus on the VIP vehicle, SUV, and LAV application areas.
Recent full scale tests have demonstrated the technical viability and practicality of the VAFS and VGAM technology.
The possibility of mine-protecting light vehicles/SUV’s etc. was clearly demonstrated.
ABBS VAFS/VGAM technology wins Best Technical Innovation award.