Air Bag Armor in the Works


You're driving down a rutted out wahdi in Helmand province. Your eyes are tired from the monotony, but you know you have to keep on your scan for those tell-tale spots of disturbed earth.

Rounding a small bend, you drive down a slight embankment and veer back to the right and BOOM! the IED goes off.

The proximity of your JLTV was close enough to the huge explosion (double stack 155 rounds) that your crew -- if they had not been killed outright -- would be left severely wounded, with possible brain injury from the cuncussive blast.

That is except for the innovative armor their high tech vehicle carried...

For more than a year, a good friend of mine has been developing with some key industry leaders in sensors, explosives and armor technology a new system designed to take the boom out of a bomb. I can't get into the specific numbers for security and patent reasons, but the long and the short of it is that David Woroner of Survival Consultants International has designed a system that uses high-tech air bags to absorb the blast of a roadside bomb. The layers of ballistic material also help mitigate shrapnel, but the primary mission of the armor is to negate the overpressure that causes so many TBI casualties.

This project is still in the "paper" stages and has not been field tested yet, but a bevy of scientists and industry engineers are on the case running the numbers.

I have included here a video animation of the system to give you a better idea of how it works. While a lot has to be refined, the system offers the promise of a lightweight solution to a problem that the JLTV will likely face in the future.

And if the technology doesn't work on the testing field, at least Dave's idea could prompt some discussion of ballistic protection systems that don't rely on heavy plates of armor or composits, but instead attack the problem from a very different angle.

-- Christian

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