ABBS has set up a new US operation to take its unique Active Mine Protection Systems technology to the North American markets and help save lives and prevent injuries to people in vehicles that are hit by mines or IED’s.
ABBS.USA LLC is based in Sterling Heights, Detroit, close to such as General Dynamics Land Systems, TARDEC, TACOM and British Aerospace Land Systems, and is therefore ideally located to get its technology evaluated and inserted into both upgrades and new vehicle designs.
Key employees are Dr. Richard Lane (President) who was previously Business Development Director at Ricardo, and Patrick Caplis (Vice President Operations) who is an ex-Marine who has suffered from several IED attacks and who understands the benefits that the ABBS technology can bring.
Recent final system testing at Radnor Range in Wales has demonstrated clearly that the complete autonomous Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation (VGAM) system is fully effective in eliminating vehicle global acceleration without any assistance from heavy ballistic mass ejection systems.
Previous testing had already demonstrated the adjustable response capability of the system, the motor not firing for small charges representing hand grenades or anti-personnel mines. This adjustable response capability does not require any safety critical software.
The novel, patented Linear Rocket Motor (LRM) system has been developed to initiate sufficiently fast and generate impulse sufficiently quickly to counteract the mine blast lifting forces before the vehicle leaves the ground, thus completely eliminating this threat to the vehicle occupants.
Germany company DREHTAINER developed its Zero Shock® system a number of years ago, and has since had a containerised format for CASEVAC tested and qualified for Swiss Army service, and is currently working on a similar order for the German Army.
Whilst this installation is very effective in protecting the occupants and sensitive equipment from the effects of the initial shock passing through the vehicle structure, and deals with floor deformation at design levels, it does not protect against the subsequent global acceleration that the container or vehicle may experience, which can alone cause serious injuries.
The addition of the ABBS Linear Rocket Motors provides the instantaneous, extremely powerful thrust required to directly counteract the mine blast lifting forces and prevent Global Acceleration beginning, completely protecting the occupants from this final stage threat from the mine/IED.
The combination of the DREHTAINER Zero Shock® and the ABBS VGAM systems can provide 100% protection against Shock, Floor Deformation, and Global Acceleration for blasts within the system design specification. This is the first time that any company worldwide can claim to be able to provide this complete level of protection against mine blast effects.
ABBS has been awarded a £100,000 R&D grant by Innovate UK to carry out a Proof-of-Concept programme to demonstrate the feasibility of a Helicopter Crash Prevention System. It is proposed to use the novel patented Linear Rocket Motor (LRM) technology to very rapidly generate the high thrust and impulse levels required to slow a crashing helicopter within a few meters from the ground.
There are over 500 helicopter accidents worldwide each year, with similar numbers of fatalities and serious injuries. It is anticipated that if all the helicopter fleet were fitted with the proposed system these number would be drastically reduced, with huge savings in costs and lives each year.
The combination of DREHTAINER’s Zero Shock concept and ABBS’s VGAM technology deals with all of the initial shock, floor deformation, and global acceleration threats to the occupants. The DREHTAINER system first isolates the occupants and sensitive equipment from the shock, and then the VGAM system prevents the normal global acceleration of the vehicle by counteracting the main mine blast forces.
The result is that the occupants are completely protected from significant injuries from blasts events within the system design specification.â€
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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.
Download the report from http://www.defenceiq.com/amoured-vehicles/white-papers/international-armoured-vehicles-market-report-2013/