I was shocked to see a recent post on our sister site, DoD Buzz, about a new defensive countermeasure to RPGs being developed by Textron. The system, called TRAPS uses an armored air bag to absorb the impact of an RPG, rendering it inert.
According to Greg Grant's story, the TRAPS uses radar to detect the incoming RPG and deploy the airbag on the zone of the vehicle being targeted.
DT readers might remember my mad scientist friend David Woroner, head of Survival Consultants International, who developed a patent on a multi-layered IED protection system that uses airbags to absorb the blast wave and some of the shrapnel of an IED in an attempt to reduce the blunt force trauma of the bomb's concussion.
Here's a video rendering of Dave's system...
The key to Dave's airbag protection that differs from Textron's is that it detects the IED blast light, which arrives at the vehicle well before the blast does and gives the system time to deploy the airbags before the blast reaches the vehicle. I know that Israeli and some US so-called "active protection" systems use radar to detect the object coming towards it, but with Dave's system, the detection is projectile agnostic since it detects the light of detonation (or launch?) and deploys at the speed of light (with fiber optics).
At the end of the day, it's great to see that folks are beginning to approach the armor protection dilemma with more than just layers of cold rolled steel. I hope the JLTV developers dial in on this type of protection since it would surely garner advantages in weight and deployability.