ABBS has joined forces with leading experts in the field of Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) to investigate the various causes of TBI inside armored vehicles subject to a mine blast, even where the armor protects the vehicle itself and the impact of the blast does not penetrate the hull.


The US Department of Defense (DoD) has been tracking worldwide incidence of TBI in service men and women since 2000; over this period, DoD recorded 444,328 cases of TBI to August 2021, with a further 9,158 subsequent cases recorded in the first half of 2022.

Service members and Veterans are also at risk of brain injury from explosions experienced during combat or training exercises.  Even mild TBI cases can lead to serious long-term effects on thinking ability, memory, mood, and focus, along with physical symptoms.  While most people with mild TBI have symptoms that resolve within hours, days, or weeks, a minority may experience persistent symptoms that last for several months or longer.

Treatment typically includes a mix of cognitive, physical, speech, and occupational therapy, along with medication to control specific symptoms such as headaches or anxiety. More than 185,000 Veterans who use VA health care have been diagnosed with at least one TBI.  Whilst the majority of those TBIs were classified as mild, conditions stemming from TBI can range from headaches, irritability, and sleep disorders to memory problems, slower thinking, and depression.  These ailments can often become long-term health problems with detriment to service members’ health, social and family relationships and operational performance, and longer-term symptoms can go on to impair veterans’ employment, social relationships, and reintegration into the community.

Unfortunately, more than half of persons with TBI see a deterioration in their condition, even death, with five years of their injury diagnosis. Soldiers and occupants of vehicles subjected to underbelly blasts (but not penetrated) often still suffer TBI as a result of the blast.

Currently there is no understanding of the primary cause or causes of this form of TBI. Most research on blast threats to vehicles has focused on the obvious physical threats to the occupants which has resulted in the development of vehicles that can sustain blasts from large Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). But there have not been any detailed studies examining the more subtle threats inside vehicles after an explosion. Such subtle threats are often masked by the huge explosive forces, and in fact, current sensors ignore these threats as “background noise”.

Advanced Blast & Ballistic Systems Limited have therefore teamed up with leading TBI specialists to propose a research project to the DoD which aims to determine the primary cause(s) of TBI in a vehicle using computer simulations, scaled models, and experimental testing, with full scale testing and biological analysis to form part of the later stages of the research.

It is already accepted that the acceleration caused by an underbelly mine blast / IED can cause mild TBIs; and ASST has access to unique technologies which can eliminate that threat entirely. However, there are other factors which appear to be potential causes, and the interaction of those factors and how to best mitigate their impact is the key part of this project.

Part of this project will include the design of sensors that can accurately measure the pressure, noise, low frequency noise, and vibration inside the vehicle in order to determine the causes of TBI from un-penetrating explosive events and determine the reduction made when mitigation techniques are incorporated.

ABBS technologies will enable each of the potential causes of TBI to be isolated in order to determine their impact on TBI as part of this project.  They will do this by mitigating against each of the identified potential causes.

As a result, some or all of the ABBS technologies may then be mandated as a preventative measure on future armoured vehicles