Protecting Against Blast


Modern Day Marine Expo / AUSA 2007

Blast protected seats are becoming a hot product among services tasked with Global War on Terror. Vehicle designers recognize the need to protect vehicles, passengers and crews not only from bullets, mines and IEDs, but also from the devastating blast-effects suffered by occupants during such attacks. Potential applications of such seats are in the new Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles and future Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV), as well as for Strykers, M915, M113, HMMWVs and the new Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) and FutureCombat System’s Manned ground Vehicle (MGV).

Several companies presented blast protected seat technologies at Modern Day Marine and AUSA 07. For example, ArmorWorks displayed two types of blast attenuating seats of the ShockRide series. The company offers individual, folding high-back troop seats as well as driver and commander’s seats with rigid base. Both types are fitted with blast attenuating straps and frame. ArmorWorks also designed bench seats offering improved protection as well as a gunner’s post mounted seat which offers four point restraint harness and flip-up mechanism, improving comfort, access and survivability.

Global Seating Systems (GSS) introduced their modular ‘soldier safety platform’, based on modular seats, fitted with contoured high-back and adjustable head rest, and removable side bolsters or central panel, comfortably accommodating canteens or backpack hydration systems (camelbacks). The seat cushion is fitted with mine blast/IED slam-down and blast-mitigating technology. A single point restraint release allows for quick emergency egress.

BAE Systems also produces different designs for mine blast, driver/passenger and troop seats. These seats can absorb energy pulses exceeding 400 G by employing vertical, fixed load wire benders providing five inches of downward stroke. (9″ or 23 cm in the troop seats). The troop seats use hinged pan for stowage when not in use. The energy absorbing system uses four point restraint, integral headrest and shoulder cushion.

Another type of blast protected seat is produced by Plasan Sasa and installed in the MaxxPro MRAP vehicle produced by International. The troop seats are suspended from the roof and walls by elastic cables, retaining standard restraint harness for quick release and comfort, particularly when used by troops loaded with full combat gear.

Transparent armor has also become an issue, with the demand for improved situational awareness and vehicles are already designed with multiple, armored windows which, alas when required to maintain the same level of protection as opaque armor, must contribute to excessive vehicle weight.

At MDM and AUSA ArmorWorks demonstrated its latest version of transparent armor made of monolithic Polyurethane polymer, offering about 15% reduction in aerial density compared with blast fragmentation protected glass while offering another important advantage – unlike conventional armored glass, the transparent Polyurethane window does not shatter on impact and maintains optical clarity and high transparency even after multiple hits (characteristic of IED damage).

The new material is compatible with night vision goggles and is provided for airborne (helicopter windshield) and vehicular applications.

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