Beefing Up LAV Belly Armour: Bidder Worries about Test Targets?

One of the potential bidders to beef up Canada’s LAV belly armour has questions about how proposed solutions will be tested.

Remember this from MERX last November?

This requirement is for the Department of National Defence (DND) to procure Belly Armour Kits (BAK) which will provide enhanced armour protection to the LAV II fleet of vehicles, including the Coyote and Bison armoured vehicle. The kit will be installed on the LAV II armoured vehicles deployed in operational theatres where the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and mine threats are considered high.

According to a bid update document obtained by (PDF downloadable here), a potential bidder appears to worry that the proposed test targets (things that’ll be blown up while using the proposed system as a way to test how well the solution will protect from the blast) are weaker than the real LAV, which could eliminate solutions that may work on the real thing.

The CF’s response to the concern, in its own words:

A: To ensure fairness of the evaluation process, all Hull Targets were manufactured using the same process and specifications.
1. Production of all Hull Targets was completed in accordance with the vehicle CFTO.  Welding of all Hull Targets was completed by qualified welders.
2. The integrity of all welds has been validated by Non-Destructive Testing (NDT) confirming that there are no cracks, porosity, inclusions or lack of fusion.
3. Grinding of welds is permitted as per the specification used in the production of all Hull Targets.
4. All Hull Targets have the center weld of the 1/4″ armour plate ground flush as per our specifications. This is a deviation from the drawing provided in the RFP, but is within the CFTO specification, which is more representative of the vehicle.
5. The welds along the top 1/2″ mild steel plate will not be evaluated for failure during testing.
6. All Hull Targets will be inspected prior to testing to ensure the fairness of the bid evaluation process.

You read it here first.

Canadian Military Research Just Out

I wanted to share some new papers released by Defence Research and Development Canada with you.  While interesting, you have to wade through the scientific-ese a bit.

1)  Plain English Summary for “Counter-IED Initiative PPE Horizon 0 – Phase 1 Protection versus Performance:  Preliminary Tradeoff Analysis:  Behavioural Task Analysis” (159 pg. PDF):

Research shows folks in tanks, other armoured vehicles and trucks need to be able to move from the waist up to do their jobs, so we’ll have to consider that when designing body armour and other personal protection against IEDs. Still, there were some worries about protecting the troops’ sides, necks, throats and pelvises.

Abstract for same:

DRDC Valcartier has taken the lead on a Counter-IED (C-IED) Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Horizon 0, which is a sub-project of a larger C-IED Technical Demonstration Project (TDP). DRDC Toronto is the providing Human Factors expertise to support this project. In order to develop PPE recommendations to overcome any change or increase in vulnerability a comprehensive understanding of physiological, biomechanical, task performance and operational impact of increasing coverage and/or level of protection of soldiers needs to be obtained. The objective of this study was to develop a number of operational scenarios that encompassed the majority of tasks performed by mounted crewmen. These scenarios were then used to conduct a behavioral task analysis (BTA) of vehicle crews with emphasis given to reach and viewing activities, physical motions and crew station operations, vehicle and equipment compatibility, and access/egress in normal and emergency situations. The operational scenarios were developed from a focus group held at CFB Edmonton from 1 – 2 February 2007. The four operational scenarios that were developed at the focus group were a quick reaction force in a close country, a broken down vehicle within a city, an engage targets scenario, and a vehicle-borne IED scenario. These scenarios were then used to lead the BTA that was conducted from 19 – 21 March 2007. A total of 28 soldiers participated in the BTA covering 8 vehicles (G-Wagon, MLVW, HLVW, TLAV, Bison, Leopard C2 Tank, Coyote, and the LAV III). Once the BTA was concluded each participant completed a questionnaire evaluating their current in-service personal protective equipment.  The BTA found that in most vehicle crew positions a full range of motion from the waist up is required, a critical design criteria for any additional PPE developed for vehicle crews. In general, existing PPE was acceptable but concerns were raised about the level of coverage on the sides, neck, throat and pelvis. There were also concerns about the in-service shoulder cap.

2)   Plain English Summary for “A State-of-the-art Review of Enhanced Personal Protection Equipment Options,” (93 pg. PDF), which appears to be a bit of a follow-up to (1):

After checking out what’s out there in body armour (both military and commercial rigs) and other protective gear (sports and industrial included), here’s some combinations of add-ons (7 pg. PDF) we should explore further to see if they can protect while letting the soldier get on with his or her job.

Abstract for same:

The purpose of this study was to conduct a state-of-the-art review of commercial and military off-the-shelf (COTS/MOTS) options for enhancing protection of the soldier’s torso, neck, nape and extremities, including any design options from industrial and sports applications. This review was then used to recommend which add-on torso and extremity components should be modeled in Digital Biomechanics software. Finally, detailed requirements for the commencement of a future biomechanical modeling analysis were provided.

3)  Plain English Summary for “A review on pharmacokinetic modeling and the effects of environmental stressors on pharmacokinetics for operational medicine” (127 pg PDF):

What’s the scientific literature say about how stress, fatigue, confusion and other things a soldier goes through in battle affects how the body responds to drugs and medicine?  There’s still gaps in the research, so we’re going to figure out a model to predict how drugs work in the body while it’s under military-linked physical and psychological stress.

Abstract from same:

In this report, we conducted a comprehensive literature review on the effects of a range of physiological and psychological stressors on drug absorption, distribution and elimination (pharmacokinetics), and current pharmacokinetic models (including computerized modeling tools and algorithms) used to predict pharmacokinetic changes. Although sophisticated computerized mathematical models have been widely used to quantitatively describe the pharmacokinetics of drugs in the human body, limited experimental data for both descriptive and predictive purposes were available. The effects of isolated physical activities on pharmacokinetics have been documented. However, some inconsistencies need to be addressed, such as the intensity and duration of each physical activity, and timing of drug administration. Other physiologicalstressors, such as temperature, hypoxic, hyperbaric and hyperoxic conditions have been studied to a lesser extent. There are only a few reports describing the psychological effects on drug pharmacokinetics. After carefully reviewing the literature, our goal is to develop a physiologically-based pharmacokinetic model to predict the absorption, distribution and elimination of drugs employed under various military physiological and psychological stressors.


DND Beefing Up LAV II’s Belly Armour

As the Taliban work at finding ways to make IEDs deadlier (more on that from Afghanistan Conflict Monitor here, CanWest News Service here, and the BBC here), this pops out at me from Canada’s public tendering web page MERX:

This requirement is for the Department of National Defence (DND) to procure Belly Armour Kits (BAK) which will provide enhanced armour protection to the LAV II fleet of vehicles, including the Coyote and Bison armoured vehicle. The kit will be installed on the LAV II armoured vehicles deployed in operational theatres where the Improvised Explosive Device (IED) and mine threats are considered high.

A PDF of the public posting is available here – with nothing of intrigue to help the bad guys, by the way.

Good to see.