OK, so first of all, how can a fabric possibly get thicker
when stretched? Doesn’t that go against the laws of physics? Not, it turns out, when that material is auxetic. Cat skin and shin bones also apparently possess this quality. The University of Exteter, in collaboration with their spin-off company Auxetix Ltd, have developed an auxetic blast-proof curtain. If a bomb were to go off near such a curtain, the pressure wave would stretch the fabric outwards, thus thickening it and making it better able to hold back flying glass and other debris. The curtain is intended to be fitted over windows of buildings that are terrorist targets, or that are subject to events such as hurricanes.
Casualties in Iraq from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) have dropped as the number of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected
(MRAP) vehicles has increased, but with roadside bombs still responsible for the majority of casualties
to coalition forces in Afghanistan, there is a need for a smaller, more nimble version more suited to its rugged, mountainous terrain. A new concept that would see military vehicles built around a protected personnel compartment and use a sacrificial “blast wedge” to absorb energy could improve safety for the occupants of future light armored patrol vehicles.
Recent developments in the military sector have demonstrated an increasing importance in protecting troops in the field, whether this be by automating vehicles
or enhancing armor-based protection
and maneuverability. BAE Systems
has decided against picking a specific area to test with its M1151 Survivability concept but, instead, has lumped a range of technologies into a single vehicle, and is currently unveiling the fruits of its research at the AUSA (Association of the United States Armys) annual exposition in Washington.
Conventional blast-resistant glass is more than an inch thick and expensive, but researchers are developing and testing a new type of blast-resistant glass that is less than one-half of an inch thick, lighter and yet less vulnerable to small-scale explosions.
With the increasing use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) in the Iraq War and in other theater operations, continued focus is being placed on protection of soldiers and vehicles. To this end, BAE Systems has delivered two different M-ATV (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected All-Terrain Vehicles) prototypes to the U.S. Government for two months of testing and evaluation. The new prototypes - the USC M-ATV and the GTS M-ATV - are lighter and more mobile than first-generation MRAP’s while providing comparable protection from roadside bombs.
For when the alternatives to not getting there just don’t bear thinking about, (or if your neighbour has a Hummer), perhaps give some thought to BAE Systems’ new 6x6 RG33. It’s designed with all the latest next-generation technology to help keep soldiers safe from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs), small arms, heavy machine gun fire and mines. The highly survivable RG33 incorporates a monocoque V-shaped hull design leveraging knowledge gained in recent and ongoing conflicts, and offers significant interior volume for crew and mission equipment. The base model exceeds the survivability of all currently-fielded mine protected vehicles and the optional extras include tailorable armor packages, blast-resistant seating, transparent armor and unique reconfigurable interior stations. The power train platforms is designed to handle upgrades and enhancements.