Universal Advanced Systems and Creation is displaying the ‘LifeSeat One’ blast protecting seats at DSEi 2011. The new seats are isolate the passenger from extreme body shock and skeletal injury potential resulting from IED and mine blasts. According to the developer, the latest iteration of the seat shown at DSEi, installed in the two-axle Zephyr MRV have performed exceptionally well in trials. The unit is now entering volume production and has been downselected for a number of major UK and European programs. The Life Seat One is already fitted to Universal’s Ranger 002 and 003 armor protected vehicles.
The seat bucket has hydraulically damped and upwardly limited vertical free movement on its mounting frame. The frame – not the seat bucket itself – is mounted to the side of the vehicle and there is no fastening or rigid fixture between the floor of the vehicle and the underside of the seat. In the event of a blast therefore, the seat will rise in a controlled ascent, mitigating any severe shock being transmitted to the spine through the seat structure.
At the heart of the design are two captive vertical tubes to which the seat bucket is attached by linear bearings. Two high performance telescopic hydraulic dampers with concentric coil springs and a progressive elastomer buffer are installed between the mounting frame and the lower section of the seat bucket. The seat bucket itself is fabricated in two parts, to allow a soldier in full battle dress to sit firmly with a 4-point Securon harness for restraint.
Tests with a fully instrumented dummy and a 95 percentile weighted mannequin have demonstrated that body travel is strictly controlled and progressive – significantly reducing skeletal shock and potential organ damage.
In 2010, both the blast-mitigating seat package and the two-axle Zephyr variant were utilized for a range of specialist scientific and fully instrumented blast tests. The work was part of two major multi-stakeholder collaborative programs for the UK MoD – Blast Event Vehicle Integrity System (BEVIS) and Military Accident Data Recorder (MADR). The programs were led by leading motorsport technology group, Cosworth, with the involvement of a number of specialist scientific and research organizations, as well as Creation.
The tests, verified to undisclosed international standards, have proved not only the blast mitigating capability of the Zephyr vehicle and the special seat design – the occupant survived injury free – but have led to the successful development of a groundbreaking and advanced engineering data, vehicle integrity and incident analysis program, which will significantly impact on future design and survivability of protected vehicle platforms.