Resolving the Next-Gen Armor Muddle


[From our friends at Breach-Bang-Clear on the Woroner armor debate.]

All right boys and girls, theres been a helluva lot of discussion here about Dave Woroner's armor design and whether it would work or not work or whatever. Honestly I think part of the problem is that first off its over most (not all) of our heads. Second off, Woroner doesnt want to tell too much about the damned thing out of OPSEC or COMSEC concerns, which makes explanation difficult at best. Imagine trying to explain a lawnmower engine if you couldn't talk about internal combustion, or if pistons were classifed.

Lemme see what I can do to make it make a little sense.

Have you heard about the Boomerang System made by BBN Technologies in Boston? Its an acoustical sensor system that uses "acoustical entrapment" to quickly and reliably identify the location of a sniper or other shooter thats putting rounds downrange towards our grunts. It's been on Future Weapons and a couple other shows, has actually deployed to the AOR and apparently works.

Woroners system is kind of like that, but it uses light sensitivity to detect incoming projectiles. Sound wont work, its too slow for a system to detect an EFP or whatever and mitigate the blast. You might be able to detect the blast, depending upon the strength of the device and the range, but you damn sure wouldnt be able to detect it and then take steps to defeat it. Only light and electricity are fast enough to react to something moving at thousands of feet per second, which is why light and electricity are the basis of Woroners barrier system.

Its in the high nanosecond, low microsecond range of response, putting a countermeasure out to intercept the incoming weapon and either destroy it or mitigate it by shearing the blast wave off with its own blast moving at a reciprocal speed. This is effectively a countermeasure system intended to be used in addition to next-gen armor to reduce or nullify the incoming blast and projectile(s). Let me put it to you the way I had to explain it to Slim, which I think youll find is a little simpler than Daves explanation.

Some delinquent little bastard in your neighborhood uses a potato gun to launch a spud at your car. Youve got Woroners system mounted on the hood. It detects the incoming spud using light, not sound, and throws out some high tech shit you cant pronounce let alone explain to intercept it. That stuff is moving at about the same speed as the spud. It hits the potato and slows it down, possibly deflecting it some so that while it still hits your fender, it only hits with the impact of a nerf dart.

Potato-gun launched spud to nerf dart. Makes sense to me. Id rather get clocked in the head with an orange foam bullet than an Idaho baker any day.

Translate that to the Big Sandbox. Hajji detonates an IED next to a humvee with Woroners system mounted on it. Woroners system senses the wave of the incoming projectile and puts a radically different defensive measure into play. This measure deflects the oncoming shear waves and ameliorates the remaining overpressure and underpressure events by shear redirection and deflection. Whatevers left of the incoming projectile and its blast hits the humvee. The crew inside are better off if its up-armored, and better off still if its armored in next-gen armor and best of all if they weren't in it to begin with (but that's not really practical now, is it?).

[EDITOR: Essentially Dave's idea is to deploy a sort of air bag around the vehicle to absorb the shock waves and also help deflect any projectiles by creating space between the vehicle and the offending spawl. Kind of like FRAG Kit 6, right...what's the big difference there? Gaps between the cold-rolled steel armor plating.]

So thats the deal with his 'armoring' system. I cant tell you any more about it cuz me no speaka da geek and I only understand about half of what he says. If you want to know more, you need to ask Woroner himself, or maybe that fat bearded guy that does the TV advertisements and infomercials. I dunno. I dont know if you flip a switch, click an icon or piss on the damned dilithium crystals to turn it on, and I couldnt tell you whether its powered by lithium batteries, sparkplugs or a pseudo-Riemannian manifold. What I do know is that if theres the slightest chance the thing works, and itll help our guys come home whole, then somebody somewhere with some mojo needs to check it out and get it some attention. Its a sad truth that without the lobbyists and pitchmen and assorted high dollar schmoozers the big corporations have, it may not even matter whether it works or not because no one will hear about it.

Thats why I ran the damned article in the first place, and I honestly dont much give a hoot if you agree with him or disagree with him, think hes a genius or a complete assclown. If we get a debate started about it, generate some dialogue, then maybe something positive will come out of it.

Oh, and about the MRAPs and all that other business those of you that are bitching about his statements regarding the MRAP are missing the point. He agrees, I agree, Slim agrees, everybody agrees theyre saving lives. Thats not the issue. The issue is were going to have to come up with something else to address other missions and other terrains, because it gets stuck and it rolls over and you cant turn the damn thing around in a narrow street. Unless our next war is waged in the worlds biggest parking lot, then thats going to cause some problems.

So, hope this clears things up a little bit. If not, then I hope it at least piqued your interest.

Thats it for now, more to follow.

-- Breach-Bang-Clear

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