Vehicle Blast Protection Technology that Saves Lives

How widespread is the Problem?

Mines and IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices) accounted for over 80% of UK and US army casualties in Iraq & Afghanistan. The IED threat is worldwide as various groups use these devices to disrupt Government authorities and normal civilian life.

The armoured vehicle market ranges from lightweight Special Forces vehicles such as Toyota Land Cruisers to very large 30-40ton Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC’s) and Main Battle Tanks (MBT’s) some of which still lack basic protection against the impact of mines and IEDs.

The Effect of a Deep Buried Mine

An under body blast from a buried mine or IED can be devastating – causing even the heaviest vechicles to be lifted into the air.  That can result not only in the blast penetrating the vehicle, but also throwing personnel and contents of the vehicle around inside; exerting large G forces on personnel and transferring shock through limbs potentially smashing bodies.

One blast can result in probably 40 to 50 tons of asphalt and ground being moved to lift vehicle

ABBS have investigated whether it is possible to counteract this level of impulse, using our patented Linear Rocket Motors with safe arm (LRMs).

What if we add 500 tons effective weight to the vehicle with eight of the current small 7kNs LRMs?

Or 800 tons with six 15kNs LRMs?

Will that counteract the effects of Vehicle Global Acceleration?

Integrated ABBS Countermeasure Systems

To test our theory, ABBS designed the VGAM™ (Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation) system which is mounted on the top of the vehicle and fires to keep a 4.5 tonne Vehicle Test Rig on the ground over a 6kg TNT-equivalent blast.

  • Automatic, adjustable response system measures mine blast strength and responds accordingly.
  • Two lightweight (45kg) Linear Rocket Motors (LRM’s™) to overmatch mine blast.
  • VAFS™ effectors (Vehicle Active Floor System) onto false floor.
  • CRBP™ – Composite Reinforced Belly Plate to maintain cabin and floor integrity.

The CRBP ensures that the hot gases and force fo the blast do not penetrate the interior of the vehicle and are forced out sideways.  This novel belly plate can even be used on its own to provide passive protection or enhance existing blast protection on vehicles.

The ABBS Suite of Active and Passive Systems Fully Protect Vehicle Occupants from an Under Belly Blast

1. VGAM™ - Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation

The VGAM™ system can be easily retrofitted to existing designs to eliminate the acceleration threat to the occupants. The system can be applied to any size vehicle, and is especially useful for light vehicles which are most susceptible to Global Acceleration.

The lightweight, low profile Linear Rocket Motors (LRM™) which provide required downforce are easily fitted to any vehicle.

2. VAFS™ - Vehicle Active Floor and Seats.

The VAFS™ system very rapidly removes the vehicle floor from below the occupant’s feet after the mine has exploded, so that the violent floor acceleration effects resulting from the shockwave impacting the vehicle cannot connect and cause serious lower limb fractures. Injuries due to these Floor Shock effects are thus eliminated.

Active elements in the seats also help prevent injuries.

3. CRBP - Shockwave Mitigating, Energy Absorbing Sandwich Belly Plate System

A novel flat sandwich structure with energy absorbing core minimises deformation of the belly plate, giving several major advantages:-

  • Can be fitted to lightweight commercial vehicles with low ground clearance
  • Up to 40% lighter than a standard armoured steel belly plate for the same local deformation level.
  • Space between the belly plate and the vehicle floor can be reduced due to lower local deformation.
  • The belly plate can be added to existing armoured V-shaped hulls to provide a layer of additional protection, greatly reducing impulse and shock attenuation transferred to the vehicle.

Current Developments of the ABBS Armoured Vehicle Blast Protection System

Details about testing of the Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation (VGAM) System on a Snatch Land-Rover using a 6kg mine blast can be found here.

Tests continue to be undertaken in conjunction with major armed forces around the globe.

For more information, read about our latest testing on how our CRBP on its own can provide passive underbody mine protection and how this can be applied to existing vehicles to improve protection by maximising energy-absorption and shock-wave attenuation.

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