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Medium-Weight Combat Vehicles Mine Protection Development Methodology



In modern warfare, ballistic armor and especially underbelly protection is one of the critical considerations in the design of an armored personnel vehicle. The development of underbelly protection is complex, expensive, time consuming and therefore needs to rely mostly on numerical simulations. This kind of critical and life-saving capability must eventually be validated through blast tests. The practice of developing an underbelly protection is even more challenging when developed for a medium-weight vehicle - where the weight of the vehicle is limited. When the development is under strict time and budget constraints, one had to come up with a unique approach of developing an underbelly protection using numerical analysis combined with small-scaled experiments. This approach has already been used and proven effective during the development of previous heavy platform, and needed even more when the vehicle is limited by its weight. This paper describes the methodology used by the Israeli Ministry Of Defense for the development of a new medium-weight, wheeled vehicle underbelly protection. This unique approach can be described by the following iterative steps: (1) Initial concepts Design, (2) Numerical analysis, (3) Small scale tests, (4) Design improvements, (5) Small scale blast test of vehicle's structure and finally (5) Full scale vehicle mine blast experiment. The first step of initial design includes various geometric solutions, all of the same weight. Step 2 (Numerical analysis) narrows down the number of concepts to a maximum of three options to be validated in small scale experiments. This paper presents the methodology of the series of simulations performed with LSDYNA as well as the set-up and preparations of the small scaled tests. When keeping the scaling principles, the results of the small scale experiments showed good structural behavior correlation between the experiments and the numeric analysis. Moreover, it also emphasized the same advantage to the chosen solution. The conclusion from the study so far is that the method of using small scale experiments, combined with finite elements numerical analysis, is beneficial. It saves time and costs of the medium-weight vehicles development process – as a step towards the final approval of the full scale prototype.


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