TenCate ABDS™ active blast mitigation system

TenCate ABDS™ 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.

The TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system can effectively mitigate the devastating effects of large IED blasts by defeating the acceleration of the vehicle and the vehicle structure. The transfer of blast energy to the occupants is managed to effectively reduce or eliminate destructive physical injuries. The TenCate active countermeasure system can be retrofitted to a wide range of vehicle platforms to address the ever changing and constantly evolving theater wide IED blast threat.    

Recent testing, completed on fully instrumented vehicles, successfully incorporated the Trigger and Activation System (TAS) that has been designed exclusively for the TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system. Reacting to an authentic blast event, TAS provides a stable, secure, high speed, automated fire command to actuate the proprietary countermeasures and yield a precise programmed structural and biomechanical response mode.    

TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system acknowledges both STANAG 4569 AEP-55 Vol. 2 and specifications for larger country specific threats as well as the new STANAG 4569 at classified threat levels. Contemporary data demonstrates a significantly improved threat protection capability and technological maturity for integrated applications on wheeled and tracked, combat and tactical, military ground vehicles.    

TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system is an efficient and effective underbody blast threat protection system that can be installed on light, medium and heavy platforms. Test results illustrate mounted occupant survivability improvements that surpass those of other currently available blast protection systems.

18 Jul 2017

TenCate Advanced Armor Receives Endorsement from US ARMY

Press release: TenCate Advanced Armor Receives Endorsement from US ARMY Maneuver Center of Excellence for TenCate ABDS Sentinel X Active Blast Mitigation System to Combat IEDs

What is TenCate ABDS?

The TenCate ABDS™ active blast countermeasure system can effectively mitigate the devastating effects of large IED blasts by defeating the acceleration of the vehicle and the vehicle structure. The transfer of blast energy to the occupants is managed to effectively reduce or eliminate destructive physical injuries. The TenCate active countermeasure system can be retrofitted to a wide range of vehicle platforms to address the ever changing and constantly evolving theater wide IED blast threat.

Frequently asked questions about TenCate ABDS

The US National Ground Intelligence Center (NGIC) reports that 88% of injuries and casualties incurred by US soldiers during recent conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan are attributed to Improvised Explosive Devices (IED's). So prevalent was this threat that the US Government committed well over $64 Billion (USD) to build a fleet of the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) family of vehicles to combat the threat. In parallel, The ARMY created JIEDDO (The Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization) to holistically investigate the nature of the threat and attempt to identify various means to circumvent warfighter contact and/or address the threat before the explosion (commonly referred to as "left of boom"). As a result, where the US and Allied fleets were devoid of blast resistant vehicles just a few short years ago, they now have a growing percentage of ground vehicle platforms that can effectively resist the initial deadly fragmentation and overpressure associated with a blast event.

This is a great start but unfortunately, the traditional methods to net this added protection comes with significant penalties such as increased weight and corresponding compromises in payload and mobility which ironically force these up-armored platforms into the very choke points that insurgents prefer to bury IEDs. In addition, while adding armor certainly provides some protection, it does very little to combat deadly launch acceleration, violent flight, brutal slam down and post blast event hazards that are also common in an underbelly mine blast.

A different approach is absolutely necessary to combat these effects and TenCate ABDS Sentinel X is uniquely adept in this role.

ABDS Sentinel X for Active Blast Mitigation effectively neutralizes the injurious and deadly effects of launch acceleration, violent flight, brutal slam down and post event ambush exposure by utilizing "recoil" to counter the forces generated by the blast. The injuries associated with launch, flight and slam-down happen because ABDS prevents the launch from happening. ABDS accomplishes this feat via the employ of a basic law of physics known as "conservation of momentum". Central to the success of the TenCate system are the ultra-fast proprietary ABDS sensors that detect blast impulse forces and relay large volumes of high quality data at speeds fast enough to confirm the authenticity of a threat, calculate a solution and command and control trigger a counter-response before destructive blast impulse energy can reach the mounted crew.

Three things make ABDS a practical value proposition for today's Allied Military fleets. First, TenCate' s invention and development of a state-of-the-art sensor. Second, TenCate' s invention and development of practical and user friendly recoil generating countermeasures. Third, the rapidly growing population of blast resistant tactical and combat platforms.

ABDS is a bolt-on, universal, additive, modular, autonomous, active blast mitigation system comprised of a family of components that together can detect a blast event, authenticate the threat, calculate a response, and activate critically timed countermeasures that yield momentary but massive synthetic mass that effectively make a platform perform as though it is much heavier than it actually is. Or, in other words, ABDS essentially, arrests the upward movement of the vehicle before that movement can harm the occupants.

The ABDS Sentinel X system has the demonstrated ability to enhance survivability on all blast resistant vehicle platforms by reducing the transfer of blast impulse energy to the occupants.

ABDS is applied physics and as such does not care what its mounted on. Light, medium, heavy, wheeled, tracked, combat, tactical even amphibious platforms can enjoy the benefit of a significant reduction in the amount of destructive energy entering the crew, cargo and vehicle systems. Full scale live-fire blast testing with instrumented Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs) repeatedly confirms significantly improved (30-80%) threat protection in common human injury areas such as the lower extremities, lumbar, spine, neck and head.

ABDS Sentinel X also enhances the performance of existing blast protection equipment such as energy absorbing flooring, seats and harnesses and features an ability to activate up to eight autonomous and distinctly timed, command and control activation events (i.e. automotive air-bag deployment, Fire suppression, active seat or emergency egress lighting, etc.) in response to blast, crash and rollover events. In addition, ABDS Sentinel X enjoys a 10-18X mass-efficiency when compared to traditional blast protection solutions as well as a flattering value proposition in terms of Size, Weight, Power and Cost (aka SWAP-C).

The ABDS hardware represents a family of universal, modular, MILSPEC, components that can be combined and applied to address a variety of survivability enhancement issues. Active Blast Mitigation, in the form of ABDS Sentinel X, can greatly enhance the inherent survivability of blast resistant military ground vehicles that are prone to deadly flight and flip during a mine blast. This performance is consistent on light, medium and heavy, wheeled and tracked, combat and tactical and even amphibious platforms.

Minimizing deadly launch acceleration and brutal slam-down are the primary objectives but ABDS can improve soldier survivability throughout the blast event and well into recovery. While such survivability benefits are usually prescribed for mounted crew members, it is also safe to assume that sensitive and valuable cargo and on-board electrical systems can be much better protected as well. The effective, efficient and economical countermeasures are critical to Active Blast Protection but whether configured with or without the countermeasures, ABDS can detect Blast, Crash or Rollover and respond quickly enough to perform other life-saving and injury reducing tasks.

ABDS for Active Safety Command & Control is called Sentinel D. In this role, the ruggedized ABDS components remain on autonomous alert during a mission to detect, measure, confirm, record, respond and report, blast, crash and rollover events. Blast detection, validation, solution calculation and command response is by far the fastest of these three event conditions yet even in blast configuration, the contemporary ABDS hardware is capable of managing as many as eight unique and distinctly timed active safety systems such as moving feet away from flooring, adjusting seat stroke, pre-tensioning seatbelts and harnesses, shielding the Gunner, deploying fire suppression, illuminating egress lighting and sending distress signals.

The speed, timing, reliability and accuracy of the ABDS components and stacked systems has been validated by the US ARMY. 

TenCate embarked on the development of ABDS in 2010 and by the close of 2015 had achieved a US Government designation of TRL6 (Technology Readiness Level 6 -  which declares that a technology is mature enough for a Program Manager to consider the technology for their platform). System capability and performance is so impressive that in the United States, Congress included language in the Presidents Defense Budget to support Active Blast Mitigation technology.

The Sentinel X Active Blast Mitigation System consists of five component elements that are cleverly combined and carefully positioned to service any size platform. The proprietary ABDS Sensors, the eyes and ears of the system, are utilized to detect impulse and to rapidly stream large volumes of high quality data to the processor. The Processor is the brains of the system which collects, evaluates, authenticates, calculates, records, reports and command & control activates other systems via guidelines set forth in highly specialized custom algorithms.

The CDA (Control Display Assembly) is the user interface that provides the crew with easy yet definitive control and a self-diagnostic health performance display. The Countermeasures are the muscles of the system, which safely generate and deliver a powerful, yet carefully timed, counter-force, in the form of recoil, that arrests the movement of the capsule before the crew is injured. Specialized protected hard-line cables are the vital arteries that tie all of the components together.

Collaborative projects have engaged DARPA, ARL, TARDEC, MRD and a number of  Military vehicle manufacturers and Allied Defense Agencies. ABDS has completed three classified test series in conjunction with the US ARMY and various relevant Platform Program Managers have entered the queueing process for systems performance evaluations.  

The next steps in the technology transition to the Warfighter process include four main themes. The first consists of individual platform evaluations that yield the potential performance and trades metrics that a Military Platform Manager needs to make low-risk, high-confidence procurement decisions. The second involves the development of the Production Kit for a given vehicle derivative. The third addresses a myriad of compliance issues that all vehicle Bourne systems must satisfy and the fourth advances the benefits of the technology to active safety sub-systems that can further enhance survivability with or without the active blast mitigation countermeasures in play. All four of these themes are being serviced to some degree presently in the US and overseas.

In addition to active contracting under the well-funded advanced future CVP (Combat Vehicle Prototype) program, TenCate enjoys an active US RDECOM command-wide CRADA (Creative Research and Development Agreement) that permits the rapid exchange of information and data with the US Government. All branches of the US Military utilize blast resistant variants and the combined fleet that could benefit from the TenCate ABDS technologies approaches 300,000 vehicles.