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Injury Reduction in our LAV's

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sm1lodon

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Not having been there, I saw a segment on the Fifth Estate about some injuries and casualties we are receiving in Afghanistan.

The doctor explained that the IEDs are exploding outside our LAV's, and the force is causing blunt trauma to soldiers through their butts into their spine, and through their feet into their legs.

She even drew a diagram on a whiteboard demonstrating why they were having these injuries.

I don't know who in the Department of Defense would even bother to read anything I suggested, but being an inventor, I want to put forth some suggestions to mitigate the effects of blast wave propagation through the hulls of our sturdy vehicles:

It seems that the vehicles themselves, being rigid, are not being torn to bits by the IEDs as often as they are causing the soldiers inside to be rattled around by the force of the suddenly-jerking vehicle being accelerated by the force of the IED.

On fighter jets, there is no padding between a pilot and his parachute-pack seat because with the 39 g forces of the rocket ejection seat, the short distance between his butt and the seat separated by a cushion would result in a fairly large impact force on his pelvis and spine when the seat was activated and suddenly traveled the inch or so (at 39 g this is like 39 inches of free-fall, yes?) and impacted him.

By measuring the g-forces involved in various sized IED blasts in a controlled environment, it could be ascertained just what method of insulating the crew from the jolt of the blast wave might be most effective.

I know that one segment on the Fifth Estate doesn't tell all there is to know about all that happens everywhere in every field of combat anywhere since the dawn of time, so, please, those who live to criticize others, quell your bitter impulses to lash out with your tongues and keyboards. Go scream at your children instead.

Armed with a knowledge of the duration, intensity, and direction of the IED blasts encountered in theater, interior modifications could be enacted such as we have in cars to cushion the impact of soft bodies being hit by rigid structures.

Since the impulse is very brief, milliseconds or less, not a second or so like the acceleration of an ejection seat, perhaps just thicker padding, that does not bounce back immediately (so it doesn't compress then toss the soldier head first into the ceiling) would work. The "memory foam" that is used for all those mattresses I see on TV might have properties that would be useful.

I imagine that the IED blast has two effects:
1) The initial shock wave that impacts that body of the LAV, and is transferred into it through the armored skin
2) The acceleration of the LAV as a result, moving it in the average direction of the blast wave with the mitigating factors of vehicle shape, mass, where the center of gravity is in relation to the center of pressure, etc.

If the harm coming to our troops is mainly from the initial shock wave, like having your butt on a steel plate that someone hits from beneath with a sledgehammer, perhaps just thicker padding or padding of a different material would suffice.

If the harm comes from the sudden acceleration of the vehicle, which first acts against the soldier to accelerate him, then results in him being tossed into the next closest object, be it ceiling, fellow soldier, eyepiece on the 25mm, (like one injury I saw on the Fifth Estate) or whatever, then not only thicker padding, but perhaps restraints to keep people from being tossed about the cabin would be in order. Restraints that are actually long enough to reach around equipped soldiers, and very fast to intentionally release.

Any sane, rational, non-emotionally-charged, non-abusive comment that actually contributes something is welcome. Similarly, comments along the line of "Well, dadgum, if man were meant to fly, God woulda given him wings" and any of its descendants need not apply. Yes, I know, there are teams of engineers designing these things, but, it does not mean there is absolutely not one area, not one at all, that can possibly be improved in any way whatsoever, ever.

Cars these days are being designed with crush zones to make it so the forces experienced by the occupants during impacts are not as severe as in the old days where the car would be fairly rigid and the occupants would be also, after the accident.

I know the outsides are not likely to be made deformable to absorb blast, but the insides can be more soldier friendly, perhaps.
 

ammocat

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This is not the place to discuss the effect of IEDs on our vehicles in detail. I have worked with numerous vehicles after the fact and attended some briefing and such as part of my QL-6A course. We were shown some videos of the tests being conducted on how IEDs effect vehicles and the crew within the vehicles. There have been several suggestions on modifications that can be done to the crew compartment including changes to the crew seat(benches), restraint systems, change in equipment stowage, etc.

I think one of the problems is the IED itself. There is no set standard IED (explosive quantity, method of initiation, type of munition, etc) so how do you establish what level of protection is required or what effect will occur when an IED is encountered. What provides adequate protection for an IED with 10kg of explosive may not provide protection when 25kg is used. If you design the protection to withstand 25kg it may be too bulky and cumbersome to make it feasible within the vehicle. Restraint systems may help, but will pers wear them. If pers believe it will hinder their ability to dismount then they probably won't use a restraint system.

Designing protection for standard weapons systems where the method of deployment, explosive weight, warhead design, does not change is an easier prospect because you have defined parameters to work with. With IEDs nothing is defined although there may be trends.

Something is in the works. Hopefully the answers come sooner than later and the modifications start happening.
 

helpup

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We also have vehicles specifically designed to survive mine strikes and protect the occupants to a higher level then what a LAV does, and yet even with those protections in place we are still having injuries ( and death) in those vehicles.  Unlike a ejection seat where the force deployed is constant a IED and for that matter mines offer many differant variables.  The LAV by its nature and design does offer significant protection due to its nature vice say a Track vehicle.  This was noted earlier on in the tour where they survived explosions that would of maimed a tracked vehicle.  Yet the Talib's are using bigger stuff and more non standard types over there now and the Cas are increasing. I am not saying there is not some instant protections your able to add but the following must be remembered.
-The layout of a LAV is constrained by its current interior dimensions and it is not as simple as added padding, the room in the Turret for example is tight enough as it is.  A eye piece cover or ensuring that the ones that come with it are emplaced is a a good start and will have some impact but as you pointed out your accelerated force during a explosion be it stopped by a metal object or added padding would still be significant.
-there use to be a time in our doctrine that when you got into the vehicle you took off your helmet and gear if you could for comfort.  Now though that is not the case.  Helmets even during peace time keep your grape protected.  Extremities facial area less so and then there is the weight on your body supported or not.  Compression of the spine due to the weight of Tac Vest, Ballistic vest and helmet.
-In a perfect world we would be strapped down in seats to prevent that but in the LAV this is not possible with its configuration.

Is there a design solution out of this for future vehicles.  I am sure there is.  Just as I am sure once a protection level is established the opposing side will come up with a type of explosion to defeat it.  And it doesn't always have to be by a bigger explosion.
 

dapaterson

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There is ongoing work on all vehicle fleets to improve survivability.  Indeed, the late Col Karen Ritchie liked to brag that she had destroyed more LAVs than anyone else (in the name of research, of course).  There is no open source data on this, simply because it could provide enemies with ideas.

 
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sm1lodon

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Thanks for the answers. Preventable injuries really bug me. Especially seeing others suffer combat-related preventable injuries.
 

GDawg

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I imagine there are ways to enhance survivability inside the LAV, but the best way to prevent IED casualties comes from outside the LAV. More and enhanced ISR coverage, ANSF/ISAF patrols, dismantling IED cells, pavement, and creating conditions where the locals call in the threats.
 

Dirt Digger

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sm1lodon said:
On fighter jets, there is no padding between a pilot and his parachute-pack seat because with the 39 g forces of the rocket ejection seat, the short distance between his butt and the seat separated by a cushion would result in a fairly large impact force on his pelvis and spine when the seat was activated and suddenly traveled the inch or so (at 39 g this is like 39 inches of free-fall, yes?) and impacted him.

Actually, pilots do sit on a high-density foam cushion on the seat pan, however your mileage may vary on the age and condition.  The g-force achieved during the firing of the seat may be high, but it's not a sustained over a long period of time.  The body has different abilities to tolerate acceleration in the x,y or z planes; suffice it to say, the chance of blacking out (GLOC) during the ejection is highly likely due to the rapid onset.  

An ejection is a fairly traumatic event, which requires a degree of body positioning to ensure the pilot makes it out of the aircraft without breaking bones or ending up a few inches shorter.  For example, incorrect positioning of the legs can result in seat-slap, which will break the femurs.  However, the g's associated with an ejection are very different from what would occur during an IDE strike:  apples & oranges.  Different planes of motion, different degree of expectation of the event, etc, etc.  This IDE stuff is out of my lane (former Aeromed Trn O at CFSSAT), plus as other have mentioned, no need to give the enemy a lesson on physiology & blast effects.
 

helpup

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sm1lodon said:
Thanks for the answers. Preventable injuries really bug me. Especially seeing others suffer combat-related preventable injuries.

I know what your looking for and the reasons for it.  However Combat related and preventable do not always fit in the same sentence.  That is in my opinion a nature of combat.  Yes someone could of prevented a injury if they wore BEW's much like due to wearing BEW's there was an decrease in perception due to fogging/dust that prevent clear view of something that injured someone.  Wearing Ballistic Vests prevented allot of injury. yet due to mobility issues injury were caused due to lack of mobility. Hearing protection should of been worn to prevent hearing loss yet wearing hearing protection caused overpressure damage to ears. 

The list goes on.  And before I get jumped on I fully believe in wearing the PPE we have and using our experience to prevent some injuries, or at least limiting them.  However Combat is where you and the other guy are actively out to kill each other. Death and injury are going to be a part of it.  I am not sure if I am explaining this correctly and I am not trying to jump on you but much like preventable injuries bug you. Your Statement strikes me the wrong way. Not that I am taking it personally and I commend your thoughts on making that environment safer, But my own experience is you will never make it safe enough.

P.S that doesn't mean you cant try but as I said something about the way your comment came strikes me as "off" ( best term I can describe it right now as busy at work)
 

geo

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If you are interested in inventing & developing, you should look up "Defence Research & development" at the following

http://www.drdc-rddc.gc.ca/
 

1feral1

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Nothing OPSEC in this post.

My only LAV experience is ASLAV Types 1, 2 and 3. Although built by GM Canada, these differ from the current Cdn types used.

Padding? Seats are already padded. On the inside of our vehs' there is kevlar then a host of many things which bolt on and/or require access. IMHO, there is no room for additional padding of any type, its crowded beyond all ready. Also padding burns, creating toxic chemicals in the smoke. 

In Iraq we utilized kevlar blankets and sand bags. Hard shell kevlar liners are utilized on the inside. IED/EFP was a constant threat. IEDs were usually Chi-Com 107mm HE rockets and HE arty/mortars from big to small, AT/AP mines, hell, bloody anything that would do the job. Other IEDs were made of HME, with crude shrapnel added for effect, and were more suited for AP than AA/AT.

While in Iraq, I also had the opportunity to spend some time with Task Force Troy, a US Unit involved in IED education, identification and detection/clearing. A very interesting bunch of guys (and girls).

Another nasty is the EFP, best to google this for more info. In short a molten copper slug which travels about the same speed as detcord. In the south, we lost a LAV to one of these, and the Type 1 was totally destroyed by fire. AFES allowed all to escape, although some were injured from blast/burns. Iraq insurgent video can be found on the INet of the actual attack in Apr 07.

I don't think padding you suggest is going to amount to anything significant or cut it. PPE, such as approved goggles/eyewear, CVC kevlar helmets, and body armour, plus nomex gloves and face protection works well, and saves not only lives, but vision and skin from burns.

Anyways, good luck.

My two cents.

Cheers,

Wes
 
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aesop081

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sm1lodon said:
On fighter jets, there is no padding between a pilot and his parachute-pack seat

Could have fooled me......

sju17.gif


Or here http://img1.jurko.net/wide/wallpaper_354.jpg
 

helpup

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It was out of my lane so I made no comment but having any pilot sitting on no padding pulling G's or just a long straight flight didn't seem right.
 

a_majoor

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Some possible avenues of investigation:

Conformal seats for vehicle crew.
Five point harness for all
Neck collar/helmet strap for vehicle crew (limits head motion in event of accident, rollover or IED strike)
Interior padding of vehicle (modified Spall liner)
Modified seat mounting to limit transmission of shock through hulls.

Most of these issues have been investigated in different fields (conformal seats and head/neck harness are from auto racing, for example), but to my knowledge they havn't been rolled into a single program for military use.
 

geo

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Over the years, the ergonomics of our fighting vehicles have changed.  Two well documented modifications are:
- the driver of the Leo 2 sits in a sling VS in a traditional seat.
- RG31 seats are suspended from the cieling VS secured to the floor.

Let's face it, we learn from the various mine & IED strikes - we improve our vehicles.... and the bad guys do the exact same thing - based on his observation of how his IED did.  If one 155mm round does not work, try 2 or 3 & add AT mines to taste.
 

trencher

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So true to what GEO said, If one does not work they will stack them untill it does work. Then continue this act.
 
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MG34

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Thucydides said:
Some possible avenues of investigation:

Conformal seats for vehicle crew.
Five point harness for all
Neck collar/helmet strap for vehicle crew (limits head motion in event of accident, rollover or IED strike)
Interior padding of vehicle (modified Spall liner)
Modified seat mounting to limit transmission of shock through hulls.

Most of these issues have been investigated in different fields (conformal seats and head/neck harness are from auto racing, for example), but to my knowledge they havn't been rolled into a single program for military use.

Most would not work in a LAVIII, the soldier wears his kit while in the LAV, conformal seats and neck collars wouldn't work as the soldier is not actually fully seated in the seat as his gear pushes him out slightly. Harness' while a good idea are not widely accepted in combat vehicles as they impede the rapid exit from and confine the user so they cannot accomplish any tasks they may have to do when inside the veh.
As mentioned already padding burns, that is not a good thing.
 

1feral1

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Thats one sterile LAV!  Seems to be a lot of stuff missing, air-con vents, rifle racks, comms gear, cables etc, plusnd other shyte hanging from the roof, and no spal liners.

We had those funky seats with 4-point harnesses in our Valir up armoured UNIMOGs. Useless, as you are literally locked in, and with ECBA, helmet, and all the other stuff, one could not move, and had trouble even shifting gears. We never locked ourselves in, and just took the IED risk without too much concern.

Regards,

OWDU
 

a_majoor

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Most of the objections so far seem to be because these things are being placed as an afterthought in vehicle designs. Conformal seats would have to be designed to accomodate a person in full IPE (and be adjustable to different users), while the crew stations would have to be accessable to a soldier who is "locked in" to his seat.

WRT padding, if the spall liner is made of non flammable materials and made with a "waffle" pattern, then being slammed into the side of a vehicle during a strike or accident would not be quite as devastating as crunching into exposed armour plate. This also has implications with on board stowage; bouncing off a fire extinguisher, radio or rifle rack would also induce injuries, so some consideration has to be made for stowagethat is accessable but does not intrude into the crew space.
 
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