TenCate has been awarded an TRL6 from TARDEC (United States Army Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center) for its revolutionary ABDSTM system. With the acquisition of the TRL6, TenCate ABDSTM has crossed a major threshold into becoming the first active underbody protection system operationalized for armored vehicle fleets.
Technology Readiness Levels (TRLs) are used to estimate the maturity of the Critical Technology Elements (CTE) of a program during the acquisition process. They are determined during a Technology Readiness Assessment (TRA) that examines program concepts, technology requirements, and demonstrated technology capabilities. TRL is represented on a scale from 1 to 9 levels, with 9 being the most mature. The TRL scale enables consistent, uniform, discussions of technical maturity across different types of technologies. Military users look for technologies at TRL6 or higher.
TARDEC and TenCate Advanced Armor have negotiated an extensive set of nearly 200 requirements that are standard for similar technologies employed by the Military for radios, ground vehicles, and packaging amongst other things.
Given that TenCate ABDSTM is the very first complete Active Underbody Blast Protection system that the Government has ever tested, let alone procured, it is conceivable that all of these requirements and potentially more will be levied against the product in order to permit the use of TenCate ABDSTM on ground vehicles. In addition, each platform Program Manager owner has the liberty and power to impose additional requirements as they see fit in order to suit their unique issues, concerns, platforms and mission profiles.
TARDEC has designated the TenCate ABDSTM Sentinel X active blast mitigation system technology to be TRL6. In addition, they are actively encouraging platform Program Managers to consider the ABDSTM technology application on their respective vehicles. The “ABDSTM on Platform Evaluations” are an essential step toward commercialization as the process provides program managers with the three principle data sets necessary to make a well-informed, low-risk and high-confidence procurement decision. These are; Enhanced Survivability Metrics, Trades in terms of Space, Weight, Power & Cost, and Kit-composition (complete package of materials necessary to integrate, operate and maintain the ABDSTM system on their Family of Vehicles. Completing the “evaluation” process and employing the technology on these vehicles will advance the TenCate ABDSTM system through TRL level 7, 8 & 9.
While TenCate ABDSTM can mitigate and drastically decrease the damage caused by roadside bombs and IEDs, the passive protection solutions must be in place to provide for the ballistic integrity of the overall vehicle. Passive armour solutions provide the vehicle with a ballistic barrier between fragments and blast and the crew and occupants. Active protection solutions mitigate the forces unleashed by explosives and limit vehicle flight and roll-over.
The transition into active armour solutions increase the demand for lightweight, rugged, and reliable passive armour solutions against mine threats. The demanding environment in which military vehicles are used requires customised solutions designed for the specific vehicle to accommodate the functionality and reliability of integral parts such as suspension, drivetrain, and steering control.
Active protection solutions thus push passive protection solutions into a new era. Complete protection is accomplished through developing a mix between the active and passive solutions that retains the tactical mobility of the vehicle while providing protection against theater-wide IED threats.
Reaching the right mix between active and passive protection while supporting the operational capabilities of vehicles requires experienced engineers with knowledge of armour solutions and vehicle dynamics. Different vehicle types benefit from different passive protection solutions and the structural composition of some vehicles may even require development of new innovative solutions.
The type-specific needs in relation to survivability solutions changes the role of armour suppliers. Instead of supplying materials for OEMs that can integrate passive armour, the solution is to transfer the competencies held by armour companies to OEMs by integrating the development processes. Survivability partners assist in the design of the vehicle and customise and fine-tune the survivability package to ensure the capabilities of the vehicle is not impacted negatively. This necessitates more cooperation on the manufacturing end, but ultimately increase the capabilitites of the survivability solutions provided to end-users.
The transistion into the new vehicle survivability era will require engaged and trusting relationships between OEMs and survivability providers that accommodates innovation and facilitates experiments.
TenCate Advanced Armour is the global strategic partner for survivability solutions. We are ready for the new era.
Hard armour inserts for ballistic vests or plate carriers have conventionally competed on the parameters of price, protection level and weight. However, the strenuous life of hard armour inserts, in the typically very harsh combat and law enforcement environments, expose them to a number of risks that can significantly decrease their ballistic integrity. Such damage can be very difficult to detect requiring the user to remove his or her personal protection from use and return the hard armour insert to a testing facility for non-destructive testing such as x-ray to validate whether the hard body armour insert is still approved for use. Such testing is typically not readily available, and it is expensive as well as time consuming.
Furthermore, the inability to easily and positively assess the ballistic integrity of hard armour inserts can result in damaged hard armour inserts being used in operations where a ballistic protection is needed. This is problematic, as hard armour inserts provide soldiers and law enforcement officers with the very last line of defense against ballistic threats.
In order to combat this issue and provide soldiers and law enforcement officers with full confidence in their equipment, TenCate has employed the TenCate Smart Body Armor® Technology.
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The technology allows the soldier or law enforcement officer to inspect their hard armour inserts routinely, especially when they suspect it may have been damaged and get the inspection results instantantly.
The Smart sensor relies on electronics that, thanks to the progression of modern technology, are no longer prohibitively expensive. The technology does not increase the weight or decrease the functionality of the plate. Users simply insert an electronic key into the insert and receives information about its state. Users can even share the keys on group levels as the information of the state of the body armour is retained in the insert.
TenCate Smart Body Armor® technology is not only fast and convenient to use, it is also more effective than all other methods used to detect damage to hard body armor inserts. TenCate Smart Body Armor® was found to be durable in the most extreme environments. The quick and reliable TenCate Smart Body Armor® provides soldiers and law enforcement officers with an easy to use, anywhere, anytime ability to inspect their body armor. This significantly increases the survivability of soldiers and law enforcement officers and provide them with the protection they need.
Meet us at stand F2002
TenCate Advanced Armour and TenCate Protective Fabrics will be present at DSA 2016 with latest survivability solutions for the Asian markets. At the show, we will show an extensive overview of state-of-the-art protection solutions for ground vehicles, naval vessels, and aircraft along with a wide portfolio of hard armour inserts for ballistic vests and ballistic shields.
DSA will take place in Kuala Lumpur from the 18 – 21 April 2016 and is the biggest defense exhibition in Asia this year. DSA plays a crucial role as the Asia-Pacific defence and security hub for the world defence and security industries for business sourcing activities, it continues as a key platform which brings together various key players in the defence industry and government agencies for strategic alliances, business collaborations and successful networking.
In an effort to improve the performance of TenCate Advanced Armour, please help us by participating in this market survey. We very much value your opinion and input, and we therefore hope you will take the time to help us.
The survey takes approximately 5 minutes to fill in and it will be open until April 18th.
The link to the survey is: https://da.surveymonkey.com/r/28MFVGQ
Thank you in advance for your participation.