Launch of Wefunder Pitch for Active Safety System Technologies Inc. (ASST)

Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Limited has now launched a Wefunder pitch for people to indicate their interest in investing in our new US operation, Active Safety System Technologies Inc. (ASST).  The link is:

https://wefunder.com/active.safety.system.technologies.llc

We are using the ‘Testing the Waters’ facility on Wefunder in order to gauge the level of interest before setting the target raise for the round, which has to be declared on the Form C for the SEC. It is obligatory to add the following statement with this preliminary indicative ‘offer’:

“We are 'testing the waters' to gauge investor interest in an offering under Regulation Crowdfunding. No money or other consideration is being solicited. If sent, it will not be accepted. No offer to buy securities will be accepted. No part of the purchase price will be received until a Form C is filed and only through Wefunder’s platform. Any indication of interest involves no obligation or commitment of any kind.”

The purpose of setting up ASST is to provide a new vehicle in the USA to market both the armoured vehicle and the eVTOL technologies to the US and Canadian markets under the same company, hence the generic technology-orientated name rather than the previous Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems LLC which has now been closed.

Given that the US provides over 50% of the global market for both our armoured vehicle and eVTOL products we anticipate that interest from major global players in a buy-in or buy-out deal will either focus on ASST or stimulate interest in a full ABBS buy-out in due course, hence our focus now on developing the activities in the USA, which this planned funding round will support.

New Chairman – Brigadier (Ret’d) Ian Cameron-Mowat

Firstly many thanks to David Staveley who has stepped down from the ABBS Chairman role last week and resigned as Director for personal reasons, having been involved with ABBS since about 2010. Very fortuitously, the previous week we attended the Future Armoured Vehicle Survivability (FAVS) Conference in London and invited the Chairman of the conference, Brigadier (Ret’d) Ian Cameron-Mowat to act as consultant for us, so this was very rapidly up-graded to an invitation to act as Chairman for both the ABBS and the ASST Boards, which I am delighted to say he has accepted. Ian has vast experience of introducing new technology to the UK Army, including active protection systems, and has many contacts in the UK, USA and Europe that will be invaluable to us in the new phase of market development we have recently entered.

Amoured Vehicle Products

It may be the case that the recently stated US Army intention to find solutions to the threat from large IEDs, hence creating substantial ‘user-pull’ for the first time, has resulted in a specific approach to us from a major European defence industry player, with which discussions are scheduled to begin in January 2022.

If you look through the pitch on Wefunder you will see that there have been some exciting developments over the course of even the last few days.

  1. DARPA Tactical Technology Office (TTO) have issued a call for new technologies, titled “Redefining Possible”, which is exactly what our VGAM™ technology does in terms of protecting against large IED threats. The DARPA call specifically refers to ground mobility being critical to avoiding fatal attacks. We are now coordinating our approach to DARPA and the Pentagon Rapid Reaction Technology Office with our US Army CRADA manager to try to get a fully coordinated approach to funding the full development and certification of our VGAM technology. We also understand that the requirements team for a new US army vehicle has requested information on the funding and timescale required to get the VGAM system into production, so several pieces of the jigsaw puzzle appear to be coming together.So we are now planning a new campaign to promote the game-changing upgrade in tactical mobility that adding a fleet of highly IED-resistant vehicles fitted with the VGAM system would bring, meeting the stated mobility improvement objectives of both the DARPA TTO and the US Army, and get the message to the key high-level requirements personnel in the US, UK, and NATO military.
  2. Following a meeting at the recent FAVS Conference in London we have had an approach from a major player with a global footprint and a strong position in armoured vehicle protection systems. Our VGAM™ system would be an excellent fit with their product range. This long-awaited development could be a very interesting, and we plan formal discussions to commence in early 2022.
  3. The Technology Discovery Event that was scheduled for 4th November 2021 was postponed due to the Covid situation in the USA. It has not been re-scheduled yet, but in view of the long list of activities outlined above it may be a blessing in disguise as we will probably be very busy getting new projects under way early next year.
  4. ABBS is currently starting an extensive marketing campaign for the carbon fibre reinforced belly plate which has been developed over the past 18 months both under a DSTL/DASA contract and the Innovate UK funded project, with some of our own funding thrown in as well. The result is that we have demonstrated the possibility of dealing with a 4kg mine under a Toyota Hilux and protecting the occupants from serious injury, using blast seats from our Israeli supplier to protect against spinal injuries from the Global Acceleration. The design will also take 6kg without being penetrated, which is way beyond any previous known solution for such a light civilian vehicle as the Hilux.
  5. We are now proposing an extended development project with DSTL/DASA which would provide data on potential weight saving/improved peak deformation performance for UK military vehicles, where a 10% weight reduction would be regarded as ‘very interesting’. Our Hilux work suggests that up to a 30% weight reduction might be achieved, so if this proves correct we will have a very interesting product indeed, and it may be the case that the graphene technology could provide an additional potential benefit.
  6. The agreement with Graphene Composites to explore the potential benefits of incorporating graphene technology into the ABBS products is now in place and specific options are being discussed.

Following several years of slow-paced evaluation of ABBS’s VGAM technology by the US Army (due to their focus on RPG/missile interception and adoption of Rafael’s Trophy system) it seems likely that we will see the pace pick up; watch this space.

eVTOL Products

We are also beginning to make in-roads with our Safety Eco-System for eVTOL Aircraft. Manufacturers have begun to accept the need for stroking crashworthy seats and we have received the backing of two leading European eVTOL companies and a major flight control system supplier in our latest R&D proposal bid.

  1. Following on-site testing with a local operation developing autonomous vehicle sensor/control technology we have another new and important development in view for the eVTOL aircraft, especially when operating in the Urban Air Mobility (UAM) role.Whenever an emergency occurs in flight requiring an immediate emergency landing (such as a serious bird strike, which is going to be a big issue for these aircraft in the UAM role, or a battery fire) the first requirement for the pilot is to find an emergency landing site. The concept for our system is to use the autonomous road vehicle technology to look down from the eVTOL and continuously monitor potential emergency landing sites under the flight path.

    Running this idea past several major eVTOL industry players (designers, flight control system suppliers, and regulators) all were unanimous in endorsing the concept both designers and flight control system suppliers wanting to be involved in the project in an advisory capacity and keeping a view on progress and potentially incorporating the system into their aircraft. This is an excellent response and we have applied for a £0.75m collaborative R&D grant from Innovate UK to develop the technology. With the response we have from both industry players and aviation regulators, who all noted that the system will be essential when eVTOL’s become fully autonomous (i.e. flying without a pilot) we will be very disappointed if this grant application is not accepted.

  2. Furthermore, at the Future Armoured Vehicle Survivability Conference two weeks ago it was stated that Denial of Service attacks are a very serious issue and many systems in armoured vehicles, not just location, rely on the GPS signal, which is very easy to disrupt or spoof. The system described above for the eVTOLs is very easily adaptable to provide a solution by matching the current view from above the vehicle with previously available views. The concept was run past the DSTL expert who raised the issue at the conference, who readily acknowledged that there was no reason this would not work to provide the missing location/navigation data. Hence we are also applying to DSTL/DASA for an R&D grant, to develop this system for them.
  3. Our Israeli partner in the development of crashworthy seats for the eVTOL aircraft is close to launching them in the market having nearly completed the design work, and they have asked us to start to push the product to such as Vertical Aerospace in the UK and Volocopter in Germany, and we will do the same in the USA through ASR.We have also established an influential position in the EUROCAE/EASA activity designed to provide a new standard for crashworthy seats for eVTOLs. We instigated the formation of this Working Group at EUROCAE but a while ago the work was delegated to a US-based SAE Aircraft Seat committee which was already working on the issue. After a few meetings the Chairman decided that defining a new standard for stroking crashworthy/Energy Absorbing (EA) seats was too complex to define, so they would delete that element from the new draft standard.

    We believe that this would mean that a great opportunity to improve occupant safety in eVTOLs was going to be missed, with potentially serious consequences for the industry in the long term. This was also the opinion of a rotorcraft seat expert at Bell in Canada, who stated that currently the stroking seats often used in helicopters did not protect their occupants from spinal injuries. Currently stroking seats only work for mid-range occupant weights, with children, light people, and heavy people not being protected at all.

    Given the position of the regulators and the divergent priorities of the eVTOL designers it will be impossible to get a new stroking seat standard adopted any time soon, but we volunteered to develop a proposal for an Aerospace Recommended Practice (ARP) and were given free rein by the committee Chairman to pursue an industry consensus on the issue. So we are now leading what is effectively a sub-committee with support from the Bell Canada seat expert and our Israeli seat supplier, plus Safran Seats (a current major supplier to the industry).

    Now while the eVTOL designers are not obliged to follow an Aerospace Recommended Practice it is quite possible that the insurers may drive the situation indue course, either imposing very high premiums or refusing insurance at all if the ARP is not followed. This and public pressure, and maybe the city authorities who have to deal with the consequences of any UAM accidents could well be the final arbiters of what develops here, irrespective of the attitude of the regulators.

Moving Forward

As you can see, whilst there remains interest in all of our products globally, the US is the most important single market in the move towards certification and sales of our rocket-based solutions. Once on a defined, funded path to certification in the US, then this will support ABBS marketing activities for the same products to the rest of the world.

 


Airborne platforms for sustainment & replenishment- Emergency Descent Arrest System (EDAS)

ABBS have issued a response to the US Rapid Reaction Technology Office’s (RRTO) RFI relating to Thunderstorm for Contested Logistics.

This outlines how the Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Limited Emergency Descent Arrest System (EDAS) can be used to provide a controlled landing in essentially all circumstances for airborne platforms for sustainment and replenishment

Technology Description:

The delivery of cargo or personnel to the battlefield by autonomous VTOL rotorcraft is a new and fast evolving alternative to delivery by piloted helicopters or aircraft parachute-drops.  New electric battery multi-rotor VTOL (eVTOL) aircraft being developed for Urban Air Mobility (UAM) and AAM (Advanced Air Mobility) markets demonstrate what is possible. Novel propulsion & lift power architectures utilising hydrogen fuel-cells or micro-turbines, can extend range and payload capability over lithium-ion batteries, making VTOL cargo delivery a feasible option for both civil & military users.

With autonomous capability such aircraft can deliver higher front-line supply payloads without risking aircrew because they are unmanned. Even so, kinetic and/or electronic-attack threats are ever present in active theatre, and an uncontrolled descent and/or crash landing pose a threat to the security of both cargo and any personnel aboard the aircraft.  eVTOL aircraft cannot glide or autorotate to safety and it is clear that an autonomous safety system is required to provide a soft landing. Ballistic Parachute Recovery Systems are available and currently used in civilian light-aircraft having saved many lives over the last 20 years.  These systems comprise a whole-aircraft parachute (launched by rocket motor); but, because the parachute is sized to provide an 8–10msec-1 descent rate, require forward movement and/or a significant time during vertical descent to fully open & become effective: equating to aircraft altitude loss or safety gap between c.300 and 1,000ft before the 8–10msec-1 design descent rate is achieved.

To address the Safety Gap, retro-rocket effectors incorporated into the system can provide a controlled landing in essentially all circumstances. The retrorockets can be activated within 15m of the ground and the aircraft still soft land, meaning the aircraft can descend rapidly from height and minimise the time it is vulnerable to attack.  Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Ltd. (ABBS), working with Aviation Safety Resources LLC (ASR) and Active Safety System Technologies LLC in the USA, are developing a system based on the same combination of parachutes and retrorockets, designed specifically for eVTOL aircraft types, and it is now proposed that the system should be considered for the autonomous cargo delivery aircraft being evaluated by the US Army for logistics and casualty-evacuation roles.

For more details about Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Emergency Descent Arrest System, please contact us using the form below.







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    Image shows how following a VTOL aircraft emergency incident (1), the descent is arrested using a parachute canopy (2) and a retro-rocket effector is used to create a soft landing (3)


    Ground Distribution Platform survivability - Vehicle Active Floor System (VAFS™)

    ABBS have issued a response to the US Rapid Reaction Technology Office’s (RRTO) RFI relating to Thunderstorm for Contested Logistics.

    This outlines how the Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Limited Vehicle Active Floor System (VAFS™) System for Ground Vehicle protection can be used to improve the survivability of any ground distribution platform.

    Technology Description:

    Land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to endanger military personnel and civilians, in active & legacy theatres of operation, on a worldwide basis.  Vehicles are susceptible to penetration & shock effects from under-body blast, and crew often suffer lower-limb injuries resulting from floor shock and from rapid vehicle belly-plate and floor deformation.  Vehicle up-armouring can mitigate these effects, but with penalties of increased weight, profile, and loss of maneuverability.  Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Ltd. (ABBS) has developed and demonstrated Vehicle Active Floor System (VAFS) technology, to mitigate the floor shock effects of under-body blast (UBB) and prevent injury to any vehicle occupants’ lower limbs in contact with the floor.

    Light ground vehicle, (1) pre- and (3) post-exposure to a 6kg (TE) buried mine blast (2) with ABBS Active Floor Effector (4) next to blast seat in crew compartment

    ABBS’s solution uses energetic effectors connected to the vehicle floor plate that, following a UBB event deliver a fast, counter-acting impulse within milli-second blast timescales moving the floor down and reducing the transmission of shock loading to the lower limbs and feet of the vehicles’ occupants;  following VAFS activation, the floor panel then simply resets.

    The technology has the added advantage of extending the capability of energy-absorbing seat systems.  The ABBS VAFS system concept is demonstrated in full-scale vehicle rig firings in the UK.  Integration and validation of this novel system technology can now deliver efficient mitigation of UBB threats to multiple classes of ground vehicle, reducing occupant casualties and injuries whilst preserving vehicle mobility and efficiency, strengthening the resilience and survivability of Ground Distribution Platforms.

    Operating Concept of ABBS Vehicle Active Floor System (VAFS):  a protected vehicle (1) subjected to an under-body blast (UBB) threat, resulting in (2) the fast actuation of floor effector countermeasures on the vehicle floor to counter UBB-driven floor shock loading

    For more details about Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems range of Ground Vehicle Protection products, please contact us using the form below.







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      Ground Distribution Platform survivability - Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation (VGAM™)

      ABBS have issued a response to the US Rapid Reaction Technology Office’s (RRTO) RFI relating to Thunderstorm for Contested Logistics.

      This outlines how the Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Limited Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation (VGAM™) System for Ground Vehicle protection can be used to improve the survivability of any ground distribution platform.

      Technology Description:

      Land mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs) continue to endanger military personnel and civilians, in active & legacy theatres of operation, worldwide.  Vehicles are susceptible to penetration & shock effects from under-body blast, and being thrown vertically or over-turned by blast gases & ejecta, with the vehicle global acceleration exceeding the capacity of blast seats and resulting in crew injuries & fatalities.  Vehicle up-armouring can mitigate these effects, but with considerable added weight & profile, and subsequent loss of maneuverability.  Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Ltd. (ABBS) has developed Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation (VGAM) technology, to mitigate the effects of under-body blast (UBB).  The rapid application of VGAM counter-impulse (downforce) to the protected vehicle dramatically reduces its jump height in response to a UBB event.

      ABBS Linear Rocket Motor (LRM) effectors (1) stabilizing a Snatch Land-Rover light ground vehicle (2,3) with <0.5 metre jump height over a 6kg(TE) buried mine blast (4)

      ABBS’s solution uses rocket-motor effectors on the upper vehicle surfaces to deliver a fast, counter-acting impulse within milli-second blast timescales to counteract UBB global acceleration taking the vehicle ‘weight’ up to c.1,000tons for just the 30-100ms required to counteract the mine/IED impulse loads;  mitigating:

      1. global acceleration and
      2. subsequent rollover and/or slam-down of the vehicle, and keeping occupant loading within the capability (c.9msec-1) of energy-absorbing seat systems.

      Solid-propellant rocket motor effectors provide low-mass, high-speed delivery of counter-measure impulse, with low Insensitive Munition (IM) signature when combined with ABBS’s electronic safety, arming & ignition sub-system.  The ABBS VGAM system concept is demonstrated in full-scale vehicle rig firings in the US & the UK.  Integration and validation of this novel system technology can now mitigate UBB global-acceleration threats to multiple classes of ground vehicle, reducing occupant casualties & injuries whilst preserving vehicle mobility and efficiency, strengthening the resilience & survivability of Ground Distribution Platforms.

      Operating Concept of ABBS Vehicle Global Acceleration Mitigation (VGAM) system:  a protected vehicle (1) subjected to an under-body blast (UBB) threat, resulting in (2) the fast actuation of  linear rocket motor (LRM) countermeasures on the vehicle roof to counter UBB-driven global acceleration

      For more details about Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems range of Ground Vehicle Protection products, please contact us using the form below.







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        Ground Distribution Platform survivability - Shockwave Mitigating, Energy Absorbing Sandwich Belly Plates for Land Vehicle protection

        ABBS have issued a response to the US Rapid Reaction Technology Office’s (RRTO) RFI relating to Thunderstorm for Contested Logistics.

        This outlines how the Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Limited Energy Absorbing Sandwich Belly Plate for Land Vehicle protection (CRBP) can be used to improve the survivability of any ground distribution platform.

        Technology Description:

        Landmines and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) present a real and present threat to land vehicles driven both in active and legacy theatres of operation. In unarmoured or lightly armoured vehicles, the underbody blast shockwave ruptures the floor and the impulse, high-pressure gas, reflected pressure and associated ejecta cause serious and fatal injuries to the crew. For armoured vehicles, the vehicle floor can deflect upwards at high-speed due to the shockwave or the protective belly plate hitting it sending an impulse through the floor which fractures any lower limbs of crew members that are in contact with it. Deformation of the vehicle belly-plate has one further consequence in that the upward pressure from the blast is somewhat contained and contributes to vertical Global Acceleration of the vehicle.

        The use of a “V” shaped belly plate to help deflect the blast and increase the stiffness of the design to prevent it deforming upwards and impacting the vehicle floor has become standard in armoured vehicle design. The element of increased stiffness is important in spreading the blast loads along the belly plate and minimising deformation, but the very rigid design attached directly to the main vehicle structure also ensures that shock transmission into the vehicle is maximised with potentially negative effects on the crew and vehicle equipment

        Furthermore, the V design increases the centres of mass of the vehicle leading to reduced manoeuvrability and increasing vulnerability to rollover when subjected to side blasts or when driven on sloping or unstable ground.

        ABBS’s solution is a new design based on a flat sandwich structure which ensures that the whole voume of the belly plate is involved in absorbing energy, reducing local deformation levels and and enabling fitting the design to lightweight commercial vehicles with low ground clearance whilst avoiding the negative effects of raised centre of mass on military types. The overall structure is not only lighter than a standard armoured steel belly plate, but also flat, reducing the overall vehicle centre-of-gravity and remains substantially flat when subjected to blast. This means that gasses from the blast can easily escape from under the vehicle and floor intrusion into the cabin is minimised.

        Main Benefits:

        • 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.1

        The technology has been demonstrated in full scale vehicle firings in the UK:

        • a Snatch Land Rover subjected to a 6kg mine.
        • a Toyota Hilux™ tested with a 4kg mine fully to the Dstl/WP53308 1.0 standard, equivalent to NATO AEP-55 STANAG 4569.

        The technology is judged to be at TRL6.

        Further R&D is required to conduct extensive testing and fully optimise the design. We believe that the composite belly plate will be especially advantageous for lightweight highly maneuverable special forces vehicles that are dropped into theatre by helicopter.

        For more details about Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems range of Land Vehicle Protection products, please contact us using the form below.







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          Mutual Cooperation Agreement with US Based Aviation Safety Resources

          Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Limited (ABBS), a global leader in protection solutions for the aviation and Advanced/Urban Air Mobility (AAM/UAM) markets today announced a strategic alliance agreement with US based Aviation Safety Resources, Inc., (ASR) an  innovative company that designs, tests and produces Aircraft Emergency Parachute Recovery Systems (AEPRS). The agreement launches a joint effort to further develop the next generation of AEPRS and reduce the costs which both ABBS and ASR would otherwise have to invest independently. ASR will benefit from the in-depth knowledge and world-leading rocket and initiation systems expertise within the extended ABBS operation, which has been developed by previous work on rocket motors used in armored vehicle mine protection systems. Both parties remain independently owned and operated.

          “We are pleased to join forces with ASR, who share our concern about the challenges associated with vehicle recovery in a vertical take-off or landing configuration with no forward speed,” commented Roger Sloman, ABBS CEO. He continued, “There is a clear 300-foot safety gap for an AAM aircraft where current standard ballistically deployed recovery systems are completely ineffective during the VTOL phase of flight. The only feasible solution to the problem is to incorporate retrorockets with the rapid deployment parachutes being produced by ASR.”

          ABBS, who were recently invited by the Pentagon Rapid Reaction Technology Office to submit projects based on its latest successful tests of patented Linear Rocket Motors (LRM) with the US army, will provide the rocket motors, sensors, control units, and initiation systems to ASR.

          ASR president and CEO Larry Williams said, “This technology will be especially applicable to the rapidly developing eVTOL aircraft intended for use in the Advanced Air Mobility role, as well as many other personal and utility purposes. The collaboration with ABBS will also greatly reduce the timescale for the full development of these systems, ensuring that the required products are ready as the eVTOL industry recognizes the need for an advanced AEPRS on their aircraft.”

          Both ASR and ABBS have been working over the last few years to develop a recovery solution specifically for VTOL aircraft and is on pace to deliver fully developed, certified systems and production facilities available to meet the demand.

          Both companies will market and provide technical support for the systems in service as required.

          This is a massively important development for both ABBS and ASR, providing a rapid and cost-effective route to exploiting this huge market opportunity which will develop over the next few years.

          For more information, please visit:
          https://advanced-blast.com

          https://www.aviationsafetyresources.com

          MEDIA CONTACTS:

          Rich Mellor

          +44 7944 491244 (Mobile)

          +44 1782 398143

          Rich.mellor@advanced-blast.com

           

          Larry Williams

          651-428-0638 (Mobile)

          606-212-2700 ext. 508 (Office)

          larry.williams@aviationsafetyresources.com

           

          About ABBS

          Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Ltd, based in Derbyshire, UK, has designed a remarkable system for armoured vehicles which can counteract the huge forces generated by underbelly mines and IED’s, preventing the vehicle being blasted into the air and thus avoiding the potentially disabling spinal acceleration injuries that the crew might otherwise sustain. The system uses specially developed leading edge SAFE/ARM/ control/initiation systems and immensely powerful patented Linear Rocket Motor (LRM™) designs which can deliver all their impulse in less than 100milliseconds to make the vehicles ‘weigh’ many hundreds of tons for just the brief period that the mine blast forces    are acting on the vehicle. ABBS is currently working with the US Army to mature the system for armoured vehicles, and now, working with ASR, similar technology will be used in the design of a system using retrorockets to prevent eVTOL aircraft crashing when emergencies occur. A controlled landing from which all the occupants can walk away in essentially all emergency circumstances is the target for our collaboration. For more information, please visit www.evtol-safety.com

          About Aviation Safety Resources

          Aviation Safety Resources, Inc., based in Nicholasville, Ky., designs, tests, and produces whole aircraft emergency recovery parachute systems designed to safely bring down the entire aircraft and its occupants in the event of an in-air emergency. Staffed by a team of experienced aviation professionals, ASR is the first to offer the next generation of whole- aircraft recovery systems and the first system specifically designed for the vertical take- off and landing (VTOL) vehicles of Advanced/Urban Air Mobility (A/UAM). For more information, please visit www.aviationsafetyresources.com


          Meet ABBS at the Future Armoured Vehicles Survivability Conference 2021

          Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems will attending the 6th annual Future Armoured Vehicles Survivability Conference and Active Protection Systems Focus Day (#FAVSurvivability) in London between the 15th – 17th November 2021.

          This conference is organised by @SMIgroupdefence and is the only armoured vehicle conference dedicated to the area of survivability.  The event aims to bring together programme managers, capability directors, commanders from the military, senior engineers, chief scientists and platform managers from leading solution providers to discuss what nations are doing to protect their armoured vehicles and personnel.

          ABBS will also take part in the Active Protection Systems Focus Day on 15th November 2021 which will provide detailed and exclusive insight into how leading nations are integrating APS into their existing vehicle fleet and will look at a range of topics, including our own VGAM™ system and how it can be used as an active countermeasure against mines and IEDs.

          Unlike any other event, the survivability conference is a meeting for the international armoured vehicle community designed around a series of focused discussions on the strategies and technologies being adopted to enhance crew and platform survivability. As seen in recent operations, threats to the vehicle are increasing in both scope and size. Traditional lightly armed combatants now have access to an increasing array of lethal anti-armour capabilities. With the continued proliferation of advanced anti-tank weaponry around the world, and as armed forces pivot to addressing near-peer adversaries, armored vehicle survivability remains as important as it ever has been.


          Agreement re Energy-Absorbing Crashworthy Seats

          ABBS have an agreement with a world-leading Israeli supplier of energy-absorbing seats for armoured vehicles and offshore racing power boats. Following our approach to them, they are now developing seats for Crashworthy Urban Air Mobility aircraft (UAMs) and other light aircraft/helicopters for ABBS to sell.

          The company has many years of experience in designing energy-absorbing seats with a focus on ergonomic designs and the very best protection levels against high-G loading scenarios which can cause spinal injuries.

          The crashworthy seat for the UAM aircraft will weigh less than 6.5 kg with an exceptional patented energy absorbing mechanism to protect against the rapid deceleration created during a hard landing or crash. The seat will be manufactured from advanced materials using a unique manufacturing process that the company developed in-house.

          Design and appearance are just as important to the company as the effectiveness of the technology so it has partnered with a world-renowned designer for BMW, Fiat, Ferrari, Maserati, and McLaren to combine his deep understanding of the mobility industry with their unmatched technology for energy and impact absorption.

          ABBS will be able to offer these seats both as part of our Advanced Blast protection system for vehicles, and as part of our Zero-Zero Safety System for eVTOL aircraft.

          AVCP - Zero-Zero Safety System Stroking Seats

           

          This arrangement was instigated by ABBS following our involvement with the EUROCAE/EASA eVTOL Safety Committee, where ABBS personnel are currently responsible for drafting the Certification Standards for the Crashworthy Seats which will probably become a standard fit for these aircraft in due course.

          In recent webinars both NASA and the FAA representatives have all been assuming that Stroking Crashworthy Seats will be an essential part of the whole aircraft safety systems, although they may not be mandated. We have proposed mandating stroking seats for these aircraft to EASA because they are the very best and simplest means of protecting the occupants from spinal injuries but the CAA, EASA and the FAA are all reluctant to tell the aircraft designers how to achieve the required results because they say it could inhibit innovation. This is a potentially valid point in some areas of technology but it becomes a strange position in our view when passenger safety is critical to the success of these eVTOL aircraft.

          One issue is that stroking seats have previously been used primarily in military helicopters and are therefore designed to work with the normal range of ‘standard military adults’ weighing from about 60kg to 110kg. The fact that children and smaller adults, plus obese adults heavier than 110kg will be using these aircraft means that a wider range capability is ideally required. This is where the unique and patented energy absorbing mechanism developed by the Israeli company will pay dividends in due course, especially as we can guide the certification standard draft towards the ultimate capability of the mechanism. This is not to say that other mechanisms cannot provide the same performance, but they will probably be heavier and more complex than our solution.

          This is going to be a medium to long term contributor to the development of the ABBS business, but it is an important niche to be in as it goes very well with the AVCP Zero-Zero systems as another part of the whole eVTOL Aircraft Safety Suite.


          eVTOLS - EASA Publish Study on the Societal Acceptance of Urban Air Mobility in Europe

          EASA (the European Union Aviation Safety Agency) has now published the outcome of a study into how acceptable Urban Air Mobility (UAMs) will be to members of Society across Europe.

          The study focussed on 4 cities across the EU which had been identified as the potential target markets for Urban Air Mobility; focussing on drones and manned eVTOL aircraft; specifically looking at five different groups of vehicles:

          • Passenger transport (such as air taxis and flying an emergency doctor to the site of an accident)
          • Delivery drones
          • Civil surveillance and monitoring (such as assessing the extent of fires and accidents)
          • Police surveillance
          • Use for providing signal emitters for multimedia applications or intenet access

          Whilst infrastructure was seen as the main challenge for the industry, safety was the next biggest perceived challenge.

          Challenges faced by eVTOLs and other UAMs

          From the point of view of how acceptable eVTOL aircraft would be in an urban environment, safety was also seen as a major concern and came out just slightly behind the issue of noise from the aircraft. Indeed the main concern for potential users was noise and safety.

          Socially Acceptability Challenges

          The report also considers the views of governments, public institutions and regulators; where the focus was said to be the public good, and safety of the public above other factors.

          Interestingly, the report suggests that eVTOLs could achieve the same level of safety as aviation did within the EU during 2018 (0.01 fatalities per billion passenger kilometers).  It was however, recognised that air taxis pose a potential safety threat not only to the passengers using them. Pedestrians will be affected by drones and air taxis, despite not necessarily choosing to use them themselves, and so the hypothesis was that the perceived safety of pedestrians will have a significant impact on the societal acceptance of drones and air taxi operations.

          To some extent, the concerns over safety are reduced in the report, as it recognises that “Respondents often took for granted that safety would be guaranteed by authorities that authorise them to fly. Therefore, safety was not mentioned very often as a key concern”.  The report also goes on to say that “One reason for this is that the perception of the safety dimension might be underrated in this survey as people are used to and expect high safety standards when it comes to aircraft.”

          The report later concludes that whilst a high safety bar may lead to significantly higher costs for the business cases of the companies in the eVTOL field, safety is not a dimension where a business trade-off is acceptable in society.  “Even a low number of accidents such as seen for autonomous cars can quickly cause a deterioration of public perception, thus the highest standards should be applied to UAM to foster its acceptance”.

          The full report can be read on the EASA website.

          How can ABBS provide eVTOL Companies with the Necessary Solution

          ABBS offers a full Zero-Zero Safety System for eVTOL Aircraft which uses a series of parachutes, rockets, crashworthy seats and airbags to ensure that in an emergency eVTOL Aircraft can be landed without serious injury to the passengers or pilot.

          This will ensure the highest standards for UAMs / eVTOL aircraft, as it means that crashes are survivable, even during the vertical take-off and landing stage; when the aircraft are most at risk from engine failure and/or bird strike.


          Passive Underbody Mine Protection from ABBS

          Shockwave Mitigating, Energy Absorbing Sandwich Belly-Plates (CRBP) for Ground Vehicles

          Land mine and IED blasts are the cause of many deaths and critical injuries to civilians as well as military personnel operating in areas of conflict – present and historic. Vehicles in these conflict zones need underbody protection.

          CRBP - Test Jig April 2021 - Overview
          ABBS - CRBP - Toyota HiLux April 2021

          ABBS have progressed with the design and demonstration of a new belly plate design based on a flat sandwich structure which ensures that the whole volume of the belly plate is involved in absorbing energy, reducing local deformation levels and enabling fitting the design to lightweight commercial vehicles with low ground clearance whilst also avoiding the negative effects of raised centre of mass on military types.

          The ABBS energy absorbing sandwich belly plate assembly minimises faceplate deformation and impulse transfer, whilst maximising load transference between the steel and composite structural elements:  the CRBP design seeks to maximise energy-absorption and shock-wave attenuation.

          Jig testing has demonstrated CRBP performance (and test jig response) over 4kg and 6kg TNT-equivalent buried charges, set in unprepared ground.

          The test jig had an all-up weight of 1.8 Tonnes.

          • The 4kg (TE) test demonstrated survival of the CRBP, with 50mm (2”) deflection in its upper face (75mm / 3” indentation into its faceplate), with the test jig thrown 4 metres (12 feet).
          • The 6kg (TE) test caused some fracturing of the CRBP, with 230mm (9”) deflection in its upper face, with the test jig thrown 20 metres (60 feet).

          These results contrast with the CRBP fracture (and vehicle loss) seen in earlier baseline testing of a vehicle test rig over a 6kg (TE) charge.

          ABBS consider the 4kg (TE) under-body threat is effectively addressed by the CRBP, with a blast seat then addressing the effects of global acceleration and slam-down on the seat occupant.

          The technology has been demonstrated in full scale vehicle firings in the UK:

          • a Snatch Land Rover subjected to a 6kg mine.
          • a Toyota Hilux™ tested with a 4kg mine fully to the Dstl/WP53308 1.0 standard, equivalent to NATO AEP-55 STANAG 4569.

          Hence, the technology is judged to be at TRL6.

          CRBP Design Overview

          The ABBS CRBP is made up of the following elements which have been specifically designed for testing on the profile of a Toyota HiLux.

          1. Steel Armour Faceplate
          2. Energy Absorbing Core
          3. Steel Armour Cover Plate

          Isometric views of the CRBP – note the rectangular aperture (cut-out) in the Cover plate towards the front of the assembly, to accommodate the gearbox of the HiLux vehicle.

          Test Jig design

          A steel frame test jig was fabricated in structural steel, to provide a support interface to the CRBP replicating the chassis rails of a Toyota HiLux vehicle

          The test jig frame provided an all-up weight (jig including CRBP) of 1.8 Tonnes.

          For these tests, the CRBP has a depth of approximately 3″ (75mm) and weighs approximately 400kg.

          CRBP Jig General Arrangement - Grey area shows the CRBP.

          Ground Condition for Blast Tests

          The test jig provided a 230mm (9 inches) ground clearance below the faceplate of the CRBP.

          Each threat charge was buried 100mm (4”) beneath the ground surface.

          The test pit was sampled, with the sand/soil/gravel media having a nominal density of 1,800 kg m-3

          CRBP Jig Test Ground Conditions April 2021

          Test #1: 1.8 Tonne Test Jig over 4kg (TE) charge

          The objective of this test was to demonstrate the effectiveness of a CRBP test assembly over a 4kg TNT-equivalent (TE) threat charge, and to establish the jump height of a light-weight (1.8 Tonne) test jig over a DSTL Protection Level D1 under-body threat.

          The detonation resulted in a jump height of approximately 4 metres.

          Test #1: Analysis

          Inspection of the CRBP hardware revealed peak deformation of 75mm (3”) in the Faceplate and peak deformation of 50mm (2”) in the Cover plate

          No further damage was evident in the Faceplate.

          With the CRBP dismantled and lowered from the test jig, the Cover Plate was clearly visible (showing no penetration nor cracking), and very uniform distribution of the deformation.

          ABBS consider this test to have shown the 4kg (TE) under-body threat was effectively addressed by the CRBP.

          Given the 4-metre (12 feet) jump height seen with this light-weight 1.8 tonne test jig, an energy-absorbing (stroking) blast seat can be used to address the associated effects of global acceleration and slam-down on the seat occupant.

          CRBP Faceplate following 4kg Test - April 2021
          CRBP Coverplate following 4kg Test - April 2021

          Test #2: 1.8 Tonne Test Jig over 6kg (TE) charge

          The objective of this test was to demonstrate the effectiveness of a CRBP test assembly over a 6kg TNT-equivalent (TE) threat charge, and to establish the jump height of a light-weight (1.8 Tonne) test jig over a STANAG level M2b under-body threat (equivalent to Dstl Protection Level D2)

          Test #2: Analysis

          On detonation of the 6kg (TE) under-body charge, the test jig was thrown c.20 metres vertically.

          The blast seat mounted atop the rig was seen to fully stroke within an initial 40 msec period.

          Inspection of the CRBP hardware revealed fracture of the Faceplate and localised cracking towards the front of the Cover Plate (around the existing rectangular aperture for the HiLux gearbox), with Cover Plate deformation of 23cm (9”)

          The Faceplate was found to fracture laterally, across the centre of the CRBP

          Whilst this test established the design limitation of the light-weight CRBP on a light-weight test jig, the ABBS VGAMTM active countermeasure system can be added to a lightweight vehicle to mitigate the global acceleration, and enable a lightweight vehicle to remain near the ground

          CRBP Faceplate following 6kg Test - April 2021
          CRBP Coverplate following 6kg Test - April 2021

          Comparison with Preliminary CRBP Baseline Test – 6kg (TE) on Toyota HiLux

          This preliminary CRBP design was based upon earlier ABBS work from 2017-18, optimised for minimum mass, and modelled using finite-element analysis (FEA);  a key output from this test was to calibrate the design model factors used within this FEA design model.

          Whilst on detonation, the HiLux was only thrown approximately 4 metres into the air, the under-body blast was seen to penetrate the vehicle cab, indicating failure of the CRBP.

          Inspection of the Test Rig showed vehicle loss, with longitudinal fracture of the preliminary CRBP Faceplate and Cover Plate.

          By comparison, the latest tests have shown big improvements in the performance of the current version of the CRBP which has proven to effectively address the 4kg (TE) under-body threat by maximising energy-absorption and shock-wave attenuation.

          As can be seen in the photographs to the right, even following the 6kg (TE) test, the revised CRBP was much improved over the baseline test and withstood the effects of the blast with no penetration through the upper layers.

          Result of CRBP Baseline 6kg (TE) Preliminary Test January 2021

          Result of 6kg (TE) Test on Revised CRBP April 2021

          The Future of the ABBS Belly Plate

          We are already seeing an increase in interest in the type of passive protection against blast threats that the revised CRBP can provide.

          Not only can this be used as a flat belly plate to provide protection for civilians and aid agencies working in former war zones, but it is also potentially suitable as an upgrade for existing MRAP V-hulls.

          As an upgrade, to V-hulls, the energy absorbing  technologies of the CRBP can mitigate the initial peak shockwave loads and increase blast capability to a level above what exists already.  This would result in only a 50mm decrease in ground clearance and fairly insignificant weight addition.

          Shock transfer into the main vehicle structure should be reduced as well as making it less likely that belly plate failure will occur due to the peak loading.

          Watch out for the results of our further testing.