TenCate ABDS™

Frequently Asked Questions about ABDS

  • What does ABDS stand for?What does ABDS stand for?
    ABDS stands for Active Blast Counter Measures System. The “Active” represents a characteristic distinction form traditional Passive Armor solutions. “Blast” refers to vehicle underbelly threats such as mines, roadside bombs and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). “Countermeasures” has been substituted for the word “Defeat” in the United States and the “S” stands for System. TenCate ABDS™ is a family of survivability technologies that can be configured to provide various protection scenarios. The first complete product that has been made available in the market is Active Underbody Threat Protection.
  • What is the problem that Active Underbody Threat Protection product is designed to address?What is the problem that Active Underbody Threat Protection product is designed to address?
    The IED has become a weapon of choice for insurgent forces worldwide. These deadly devices are comprised of commonly available and inexpensive materials, they are extremely effective yet difficult to detect, and easy to make, transport, hide and emplace. IED’s account for well over 50% of the US casualties during the last ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan and the United States responded by creating the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization (JIEDDO) in 2006.
  • Won't US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 put an end to this problem?Won't US withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2014 put an end to this problem?
    Unfortunately no. Since 2011, insurgents have orchestrated well over 10,000 IED attacks in over 110 countries. These types of weapons are particularly common in an overmatch type of conflict (one side significantly more mechanized or technologically advanced than the other) or in a low technology combatants scenario (non-state organizations).
  • Does a Pacific Rim scenario, where sea power is so important, make IEDs irrelevantDoes a Pacific Rim scenario, where sea power is so important, make IEDs irrelevant
    Again, unfortunately no. It is a widely accepted assumption that ground troops assume a role in almost all prolonged conflicts regardless of an initial strike or surge by sea or air. In modern times, troops on the ground means vehicles on the ground and vehicles on the ground are an excellent target for insurgent forces.
  • How serious are the injuries to soldiers in an IED blast?How serious are the injuries to soldiers in an IED blast?
    Very serious. Life threatening injuries are common in mine blast events. These include severe head and brain trauma, extreme spinal compressions and fractures, and severe pelvis and lower extremities damage. An IED blast impulse wave can apply enormous pressures on the human body and the sudden launch of a vehicle, the violent twisting flight and often equally deadly slam back down to earth can deliver compounding effects.
  • How has the US Department of Defense responded to the IED threat?How has the US Department of Defense responded to the IED threat?
    The Government expedited research and acquisition efforts to counter the growing IED problem. JIEDDO was organized in 2006 to identify threat protection solutions for the Warfighter. The Military authorized and purchased numerous add-on Passive armor packages on a fleet wide scale and the $64 Billion MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected) vehicle fleet, with “V” shaped hulls, was born.
  • Did these responses help make our troops safer?Did these responses help make our troops safer?
    In many cases yes. These urgently developed solutions have dramatically improved circumstances for mounted crews and reduced IED associated injuries and fatalities. In fact, it is estimated the deployment of the MRAP vehicle fleet may have saved as many as 40,000 American lives and Passive Armor solutions can be found on virtually every forward operating platform.
  • Then why do we still need additional protection solutions?Then why do we still need additional protection solutions?
    As is common in war time, the MRAP vehicles were quickly designed, built and rushed into service. Similarly, the add-on Passive Armor packages, which are essentially “bolt-on” kits, were also hurriedly conceived and deployed. As a consequence their scalability is limited but much more disconcerting, is that vehicle payloads and mobility are drastically impacted. In simple terms, the added weight of additional protection can reduce offroad mobility, forcing vehicles back onto the roads, which of course, is where the IEDs are planted.
  • What makes ABDS different from the existing solutions?What makes ABDS different from the existing solutions?
    TenCate’s ABDS™ system is a revolutionary technology that represents a dramatic improvement over existing Passive Armor underbody protection systems. ABDS is an “ACTIVE” system that evaluates a threat and responds accordingly. ABDS is a cost-effective solution that is highly adaptive and scalable to a range of platforms and ever increasing threats. ABDS is quickly integrated and retrofit onto existing vehicles and demands little power, weight or space on these already overburdened vehicles.
  • How does ABDS work?How does ABDS work?
    It’s a switch on the control panel. Once activated, ABDS is autonomous and remains on alert until mission operations are complete. If a blast is detected, within fractions of a second, the ABDS system components interact to evaluate, authenticate, and direct the on-board counter energy systems to protect the crew. The sequence is: Monitor, detect, analyze, validate, calculate, and respond.
  • Can you tell me more about the technology?Can you tell me more about the technology?
    ABDS technology is built around an objective which is to produce carefully timed recoil to offset the enormous impulse forces inherent in an IED blast. Basic Newtonian physics, yes, but it couldn’t be done practically until TenCate developed proprietary high-speed sensors, specialized computer algorithms and a safe, compact, lightweight, inexpensive but highly reliable, durable and powerful countermeasure system. Comprised of three elements; sensors, a computer and countermeasures, the goal is to keep the vehicle from launching into the air, falling back to earth and to limit the deadly blast energy transferred to the crew.
  • What is the status of ABDS?What is the status of ABDS?
    The ABDS Active Underbody Blast Mitigation product debuted in October of 2013 at the ARMY’s AUSA annual convention in Washington, DC. Concurrently, the US ARMY RDECOM research and development branch initiated a multi-year performance and capabilities evaluation (commonly known as a CRADA) to both evaluate the technology and its application on various Military platforms. Active collaborations are also underway with various Military vehicle manufacturers as well as numerous Allied Departments of Defense. In a nut-shell, ABDS is ready for full scale vehicle trials, integration protocols, production and deployment.
  • What is a CRADA?What is a CRADA?
    CRADA stands for Creative Research and Development Agreement. This is a legal mechanism that permits TenCate to interface with an ARMY agency. Because ABDS technology involves multiple disciplines, TenCate and RDECOM (US ARMY Research and Development, Engineering Command) enjoy a “Command-wide” CRADA that permits TenCate to interface with all DoD Agencies including JIEDDO, DARPA and the ONR. At present, our test program, which is outlined in a Joint Work Statement (JWS), is managed within the Government by TARDEC (US Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center) out of TACOM in Warren, Michigan
  • What has testing shown so far?What has testing shown so far?
    Third party tests have demonstrated that ABDS can significantly improve survivability for mounted crews during a mine blast event. The first phase of the US government testing essentially confirmed that ABDS is fast enough, can manage critical timing, is safe, reliable, repeatable, robust, autonomous and is capable of controlling vehicle launch. Additional US government test phases begin to look at individual platform applications.
  • When do you expect ABDS to be ready for use?When do you expect ABDS to be ready for use?
    TenCate’s ABDS is a product, not a concept, and is ready for immediate platform evaluations. Platform evaluation is critical to determine specific vehicle requirements, threats and system performance contributions in order to establish a value proposition. This process is well underway within the US Military, at certain US Military vehicle makers and various Allied Nations.
  • What is the approval process for the US Military?What is the approval process for the US Military?

    While Government has a responsibility to provide, as quickly as possible, the very best protection for its warfighters, it is also important that new, emerging and evolving technologies are fully vetted for safety, durability, systems compatibility and training, etc. The DoD has rigorous formal programs to qualify and validate a technology or product for military use and TARDEC has designated the TenCate ABDS technology to be Technology Readiness Level 6 (TRL6) which permits and encourages individual US Military platform Program Managers to request an “ABDS on Platform Integration and Applications Assessment” for each of respective Family Of Vehicles (FOV).

  • Tell me more about the ABDS "Family of Technologies"Tell me more about the ABDS "Family of Technologies"
    ABDS is a system of survivability systems. The Active Underbody Blast Mitigation product is just one application but ABDS is capable of much more and has the power and speed to perform numerous additional tasks simultaneously. ABDS can detect a blast but it can also measure impulse energy, record, report, calculate and take action accordingly. The system can trigger air-bags, seat belt pre-tensioners, fire suppression and emergency lighting. It can radio a situation report, a base or convoy alert, and provide geographic position. It can be employed sans countermeasures to provide accurate real time event data or with countermeasures to combat rollover and swerve or to protect sensitive or high value cargo. The system is extremely flexible and designed to easily interface with other on-board and remote systems.
  • What does ABDS cost?What does ABDS cost?
    Because the range of US and International, combat and tactical, wheeled and tracked, new and retrofit vehicles and associated threats and combatants vary widely, it is impossible to provide one simple answer. However, ABDS was specifically designed to be extremely cost effective with a value proposition that includes restoration of mobility, fuel savings, high durability, long shelf life, ease of installation, low maintenance, simple training, universal interface and unlimited scalability. In other words, ABDS was designed to be competitive and affordable.
  • How will the Military find funds to pay for ABDS?How will the Military find funds to pay for ABDS?
    Soldier safety is clearly a priority for Congress and the American people. The $64 billion dollars allocated to provide MRAP vehicles during recent conflicts is certainly proof. At TenCate, it is our job to envision and develop lifesaving technology and make it available to the warfighter community. We look to the Military to evaluate these important technologies and to Capitol Hill to make implementation possible.
  • How many US Military vehicles could benefit from ABDS and what would be the total cost?How many US Military vehicles could benefit from ABDS and what would be the total cost?
    Any blast resistant vehicle, Military or otherwise, that is subject to an underbody IED threat is a suitable candidate for the TenCate ABDS system. There are approximately 300,000 vehicles globally dispersed in the US DoD fleet today and every one of them could benefit from one or more of the various capabilities inherent in the ABS system. The cost per platform would be on par with the cost for blast resistant tires or ballistic glass for these vehicles but the savings in human injuries and casualties is immeasurable.
  • Are you briefing members of Congress or their staffs about ABDS?Are you briefing members of Congress or their staffs about ABDS?
    Absolutely. TenCate has delivered the lifesaving ABDS message to Capitol Hill with some frequency. Many sitting members and their associated staff have served in the military and witnessed firsthand the effects of an IED blast. Support for ABDS is unanimous in Washington, DC.

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