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By Julian Nettlefold, Editor, BATTLESPACE

27 Oct 07. Reports that the MoD and the DoD are investigating the effects of blast on their troops was first exposed by BATTLESPACE in June of this year when we discussed the findings of a U.S. General in Iraq who found that more of his troops were facing the effects of blast rather than ballistics following IED and other explosions.

Companies such as Hobson Industries, Paxcon, Ricardo and Aigis have been researching techniques to prevent damage from blast injuries in association with the Mod and DSTL.

The BBC reported that the full assessment will be rolled out in the New Year
Troops exposed to explosions in Iraq and Afghanistan are to be checked for brain injury, the Ministry of Defence has confirmed. The MoD said questionnaires had been sent to troops to see if they had signs of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI).

“The effect of blast on soldiers has been recognised for years but current technology has concentrated on defeating ballistics not blast. The U.S. Army in Iraq recognised the effects of blast on soldiers from IEDs in particular earlier this year, which is why we, at Hobson Industries, have been concentrating our efforts, with our partners, to deliver to the MoD technology which combines existing ballistic-defeating technologies with additional blast technologies, thus saving precious lives.”

“The deployment of IEDs which started during the Northern Ireland conflict in the 70s is so widespread that many armies simply do not have the protection required for their troops. A Duty of Care is owed by all Governments to provide protection against these threats and, as we have seen in Iraq, many existing systems are simply not man enough to defeat this very serious threat that is causing potential loss of life. The understanding of blast technology and the effects of an explosion are hugely complex given the different effects experienced during an explosion. To put the matter into context a blast exhibited by the detonation of a 1.5 – 3kg anti-vehicle mine will give a resonant shock wave of 7 kilometres a second,” said Peter Hobson Managing Director of Hobson Industries.

Over the last 6 years Hobson Industries Limited has been upgrading and re-armouring Land Rover and other vehicles for the various International military customers. Over the last few years Hobsons has been developing new advanced vehicle protection solutions suitable to meet the current threat.

Weight constraints of the Land Rover chassis have focused Hobson’s attentions on lightweight protective armour for ballistic and mine blast situations. Hobsons has recently formed a joint venture with Paxcon Inc. of the USA, the manufacturers of LINE-X.

LINE-X® is a polyurethane coating that has added the benefit of a lightweight spall lining that can be applied directly to metal and non metal surfaces. Indeed, the latest version of the WMIK (Weapons Mounted Installation Kit) Land Rover vehicles, being assembled for operations in theatre, are equipped with LINE-X® anti spall lining on the inner surface of the rear protective floor pan.

LINE-X has developed a Blast Mitigation material known as PAXCON® for use on buildings and other permanent structures. PAXCON® has been subject to testing by the US Military where it proved to be the most effective of a batch of some 27 different products. Since those tests in the late 1990’s LINE-X has further developed their products to include a range of products for spall protection, LINE-X has also developed products with fire retardant properties and are currently carrying out tests with the US Department of Justice to ascertain the improved capabilities of their products. Additionally the scientific branch of the UK MoD is currently carrying out tests on LINE-X® to determine defensive properties suitable for many other applications.

LINE-X continues to develop and test new formulat

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