Spring 2016

The TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system is currently undergoing a technology applications evaluation programme. In both Europe and the United States military and other test institutes are evaluating the performance of this system for active occcupant protection to save the lives of the crews of military vehicles and to reduce the number of debilitating injuries. ‘The TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system is the new response to increasing threats in the future.’ 

The TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system is a system for the active protection of ground vehicle crews from the devastating effects of insurgent landmines, roadside bombs and  improvised explosive devices (IEDs). The system mitigates the launch accceleration of the vehicle, jump height and the ensuing fall back to earth, as well as the transfer of energy from the blast impulse on the crew. This helps to save lives and considerably reduce long-term, debilitating injuries. The system also contributes to savings in weight, space and costs of traditional passive armor solutions. It can be retrofitted onto vehicle platforms and adapted to meet changing threat levels. The TenCate ABDS® active blast countermeasure system is a part of a raft of measures that can increase crew survivability.

Stryker combat aircraft in action (photo US Army Sgt William Howard)
A Stryker combat aircraft in action (photo: US Army, Sgt. William Howard)

Research in the US was conducted for the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). This part of the US Department of Defense is responsible for the development of military technology. The tests on the active vehicle protection, which was fitted onto a heavy combat vehicle, took place at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds (Maryland). This is where the US Army tests weapons, ammunition and rolling stock. 

The devastating effects of an exploding IED (photo C-52 of 3/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team)
The devastating effects of an exploding IED (photo: C-52 of 3/2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team)

In the current phase of the development programme it is all about establishing that the protection solution helps to save the lives of military personnel and to reduce the number of debilitating injuries. If the entire programme goes according to plan, the commercial introduction of the system can in principle take place in 2017.  Major military vehicle programmes are planned for that year. These are possibly the most important platforms for the TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system. It is down to ministries to formulate the specifications for these military vehicle programmes. This involves a new protection solution and thus a new standard.

armour RS31269 01 Ten Cate armoured vehicle
'The TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system is the new response. You can combine active and passive protection.'

For Helle Specht and Peter Bertelsen, Managing Director of TenCate Advanced Armour Denmark and Managing Director of the TenCate Active Protection business unit of TenCate Advanced Armour respectively, one thing is clear. ‘We must demonstrate that the software is good and that the system works when required and not otherwise.’ They compare it to the airbag, which is now an indisputable part of every car, but was preceded by a long process of research and acceptance. 

‘Increasing threats in the future will stretch the capability of passive protection beyond its limits’, continues Helle Specht. ‘The TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system is the new response. You can combine active and passive protection; they go hand in hand. You protect the vehicle against impact with passive armour and have an active system to protect against the force of the blast.’

Blue fabric (Tecawork Blue 65287)