Despite the vehicles' armor, rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) can still take out Humvees and MRAP vehicles with ease. But a company wants to change that equation with airbags that neutralize incoming RPGs and prevent them from exploding.
Textron's Tactical RPG Airbag Protection (TRAP) system uses radar to detect incoming warheads and deploy airbags on the threatened side of a vehicle. The airbags prevent the RPGs from exploding at all, and thereby avoids any cloud of shrapnel that could harm nearby infantry or civilians. TRAPS is currently undergoing tests on Humvees, and could also work with the Abrams tank, the Bradley, the Stryker and MRAPs.
The military has focused on countering roadside bombs with drones capable of sniffing out improvised explosives, and painfully realistic virtual simulators for training soldiers on detecting the threats. But DOD Buzz notes that counters to RPGs remain more elusive -- the U.S. military has so far relied on welding steel cages to high-value, lightly armored vehicles such as MRAP minesweepers.
We here at PopSci previously honored a different RPG counter for helicopters that fires nets to neutralize incoming rockets -- a chopper shield that won one of our Invention Awards in 2007.
Defense Tech points to another airbag concept that can deploy at light speed upon detecting blasts from improvised explosives on the road. That concept remains on paper only, despite an illustrative video.
This isn't much different from active armor already used so there goes another several million dollars down the tubes on a useless, unnecessary technology. Way to go DoD.
Agreed - Ablative armor is only like, what, 30 years old now??? Congrats on re-inventing the wheel folks....
So, you made the armor resistant to explosives but vulnerable to flashlights. gj
Millions of dollars is pocket change, it's practically nothing.
Blocking RPGs and blocking blast waves are two completely different things. An RPG-7 travels at ~115 m/s. The blast wave from a C4 explosion travels at ~8000 m/s. Assuming a typical airbag takes 0.04 seconds to deploy, and zero processing time, your airbag would deploy in 4.6m for an RPG, but 320 m for the blast wave... If you were 320 m away from an IED in an armoured vehicle, I think you'd be fairly safe even without the airbag...
this needs to be practical in the average family owned vehicle.
if radar detects another vehicle traveleing at a rate that cant be stopped intime, the airbags deploy on both cars at a certain given distance, minimizing damage to both cars and possibly drivers and passengers.
however, if u get hit by a train, i beg to differ.
Why not just get out of this war and you won't have to be concerned with adding more protection for our troops? It just goes on and on and on. Finally we will have the biggest and most ungainly vehicle to protect the troops and they will find a way to destroy that unit. Why can't you see that, or is the money aspect blinding you.
yeah i was just thinking that... i don't think this war is worth fighting anymore. we're spending billions every month... for what? we could've used that money to fix our economy, help the homeless, jobless, education, that's a lot of money. we're better off hardening our borders, build a super sophisticated fence on all borders, for way less than what we're spending now on both wars! these are different countries now compared to WWII Japan/Germany, which were world class 1st world countries even before the war, with smart people so it was easy to rebuild them. but afghanistannedsneashssehsh and iraqsh1@#$!@#... forget about it! what a pigsty!
i would just like to make a comment about the picture at the top of this page. it looks like a maximum security ice cream truck
"Why not just get out of this war and you won't have to be concerned with adding more protection for our troops?"
...and getting rid of police officers would reduce crime rates (sarcasm). -OR- We could realize that there will always be reasons to maintain a military, and out of appreciation for the soldiers risking their lives we could try to find ways of keeping them alive. Side benefit: the same advancements we see in military tech will make their way to civilian tech... like the Internet (originally a DARPA project).
"...we could've used that money to fix our economy..."
Nice try, please show me how government spending has "fixed" the economy. Cash for clunkers? Home buyer grants? Please don't make me laugh. I would rather keep my money and spend it how I want rather than having it taxed and then "given" back to me.
"...Nice try, please show me how government spending has "fixed" the economy. Cash for clunkers? Home buyer grants? Please don't make me laugh. I would rather keep my money and spend it how I want rather than having it taxed and then "given" back to me..."
that's the obama administration's idea of fixing the economy.
my idea, keep those billions of dollars instead of spending in the war maybe the government would have more money and stop taxing people to death. low interest small business loans to expand. lower the income taxes so people could keep more money in their pockets.
nothing against the military, grateful for the military for keeping worldwide peace. it's time for those people in iraq/afghan to take care of their own and pay the US for keeping their countries secure.
yeah we could reduce (not get rid) the police force here, just allow people to carry firearms (with proper training) to protect themselves against thugs/rapist/murderers. enforce citizens' arrest and vigilante justice, let see if crimes don't go down.
If there willing to spend a lot of money on something, why don't they spend on Dragon Armor, at least that will work, and not be as expensive, and protect our troops better, and cost less, and not be animated.
Also it sort of looked like the thing (in the vid) was shielding the blast, rather than the troops inside (the truck looked like it flew 6-7 feet in the air). scigeek96 is sort of right of it looking like a maximum security ice cream truck.
The new APC's coming out in the Army today are great! We have personaly seen the new apc get hit at point blank range from an IED and no one inside the APC was hurt. The problem with these new APC's are that they cost around 5 million a piece to make and take about a year to deploy.
Just do everything in war remotely and it will not matter.
we just need RPS's (remotely piloted soldiers), BAM problem solved! heck maybe we could subsidize people NOT to have wars.
The cost of wars these days may actually create "lets not go to war scenarios real soon... oops I am dreaming again!
Wait...? Just hook a patriot anti missile battery trailer to the truck... Problem solved! (we just need a nano version of it)!
The real problem to this is that it is too easy to circumvent and is patterened against a single threat source (RPG).
1) Attach a point to your RPG, and it punches through the air bag fabric, hits metal and BOOM. $2 of tin and some welding and your countermeasure is blown.
2) Aim low, fire twice. One shot deploys the countermeasure but does not stop an exsplosion headed for ground level. Shapnel, however, would tear the countermeasure, so a second shot goes home.
3) Continue to focus on undercariage RSBs. Blowing up has always worked better than blowing over.
4) Automation for cargo delievery gets the soldier out of the way. Remote control and autonomous vehicles make convoys fiscal, rather than personel, risks. An autonomous convoy with UAV air support to counterstrike becomes a low win, high risk, exchange for the enemy. That is demoralizing to the enemy, making assaults low, meaning that you could move soft assets (people) covertly with typical supply trains.
My vote is for Remote control and Autonomous vehicles. That is prolly why UAV's are very popular.
I disagree with many of those commenting here. The DOD spends billions of dollars to help protect our troops. Many times this technology ends up becoming beneficial to each and every one of us. I guess we should spend the money to extend unemployment benefits; now there is a worthwhile cause. Some people will never get it. Our defense industry brought us the Internet, GPS, microwave ovens, improved mamogram analysis, and the list goes on an on. What has the "Government Entitlements" done for us; other than creating a way of life for the generations of welfare receipients. DOD research creates high paying jobs that inspire engineers to improve our way of life and protect our freedoms. Please wake up and smell the coffee prior to criticizing that which you know very little about.
I am always amazed at what the researchers will come up with next. Here is hope that they can continue to do what they do.
You know after just getting the phone call an hour ago that a friends19 year old only son, after only three months in Iraq as a Marine was just visited by two marines to announce there son was just killed by this type of bomb, I get pissed beyond measure that OUR MEN and WOMEN are not better protected. And you are debating the War, as they did during Vietnam; A few people got rich back then like the VP’s wife that owned part of Bell Helicopters. But we are in this thing we should take it by the horns and fight it to the ground. We did not do that in Viet Nam. I was told by a marine in DC that in school they teach that the communist were funding the hippies generation. That’s the reason we lost that war. I just laugh at the thought. What lost that war was we were not of one accord.
We were Britain’s enemy during the Revolutionary War and the French kept us alive. Who is keeping this war alive? We should cut that offending appendage off, Old Testament style. .
During the Civil War the Monitor and CSS Virginia War ships it was discovered 3 inches of steel would protect you better than 4 inches of double plate steel. This is knowledge from the 1800’s. Yet today we have troops rolling around in thin skins still getting hit by the same old roadside bombs that have been in play since the beginning of this war. Wake up fix the problem or give me a gun and send me over to fix the problem myself. NO civilian in this war zone should have any rights in my book. And they should all have Electronic tracking devices to go out in public like going to the water park. I cant get AC parts, a two gallon flush toilet, pump parts, you cant get parts, incandescent globes are under attack, freedoms are lost more every time you turn around, Not just from the terrorist but from our selves. At the Airports where if you’re a Cab driver that looks like a terrorist during 911 you can park near the air port but grandma American Pie has to keep moving. Pretty soon you wont be able to get a doctor, and billions of dollars in loans from the Chinese will have us all enslaved, whom knowingly steals left and right from us, software, tools, electronic circuits They don’t even bother erasing IBM from there stolen circuit board designs, Microsoft is the most prolific software yet there profit with the Chinese is only pennies compared to the US. Google cant do business there E-bay cant They don’t want to play fair. . they play by there own rules when it comes to free trade and commerce, we think we are getting a bargain, think again and don’t look back they are gaining on us. The devil of the self mutilating Taliban terrorist are little compared to what’s coming up next if we are not careful. As for the Iranians I have one question. How the heck are they getting bombs home brewed into there country. I can’t even get the simple things I want from Home Depot. Personally I like the idea of thicker skins of Armor on those GM HUM VEE (slow piggish to drive, 68 Volkswagen bus style axels.), the Hummers were not designed for heavy armor. So we are stuck with Sand Bags or perhaps this idea for adding explosive bags to the exterior of the Vehicle. Great, if it can save the life of one 19 year old Son.
If this is what it takes to reduce the risks of our soldiers during an attack from the enemy then it must be done. I agree that the "real fight" must be to resolve this devastating, and in my view, unnecessary war. I like, countless others believe this a war of the wealthy making money during a period of absolute economic and fuel crisis across the western world.
There has been so much written, and our previous government have behaved inappropriately, whilst they defended their actions. The general community must question as something, I am not sure what; as with Vietnam, just does not fit.
Anyway, back to the article, our young people must be as safe as possible if and when threatened I am utterly surprised to hear that they are not.
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