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Award-Winning 'Blast-on-the-Move' Study Expands Vehicle Safety Analysis

This TARDEC M&S team won the AMC Meritorious Achievement in Systems Analysis Award for its 'Blast-on-the-Move' study. Pictured are (from left): Jaisankar Ramalingam, Ravi Thyagarajan, Madanmohan Vunnam, and Sanjay Kankanalapalli. (U.S. Army TARDEC photo.) This TARDEC M&S team won the AMC Meritorious Achievement in Systems Analysis Award for its "Blast-on-the-Move" study. Pictured are (from left): Jaisankar Ramalingam, Ravi Thyagarajan, Madanmohan Vunnam, and Sanjay Kankanalapalli. (U.S. Army TARDEC photo.)

In the past few years, modeling and simulation (M&S) researchers have made impressive strides in their ability to improve ground vehicle reliability and Soldier safety. A TARDEC team's physics-based, computational study called "Blast-on-the-Move" epitomizes the steady progress in M&S capabilities applicable to defense acquisition.

The engineering team recently won the Army Materiel Command (AMC) Award for Meritorious Achievement in Systems Analysis, Small Group Category, for 2012. The study is called Multi-temporal Analysis of Underbody Improvised Explosive Device (IED) Theater Events on Ground Vehicles Moving in a Convoy Using Modeling and Simulation (M&S).

The award winners from the Analytics team in the Ground Systems Evaluation, Assessment and Assurance (GSEAA) department are: Ravi Thyagarajan, Sanjay Kankanalapalli, Madanmohan Vunnam and Jaisankar Ramalingam.

"Typically, live-fire testing and evaluation (LFT&E) focuses on the effects of underbody blasts on a stationary vehicle. This research looks at the effects of a blast on moving vehicles," explained Thyagarajan. "This is significant because most of the underbody blast events happen in theater with vehicles moving in a convoy."

Thyagarajan added that the M&S study also analyzed two distinct stages of IED events — the blast itself and its effect on the vehicle and Soldiers inside, plus the impact of the vehicle's return-to-ground and possible rollover or flip-over following the explosion.

"Since occupant injuries can happen in both stages of the event, it is imperative to analyze both in a multi-temporal fashion," the team's summary stated. "The deleterious effects of IEDs are seemingly accentuated by the vehicle's forward velocity, especially as it pertains to vehicle flip-overs and rollovers … The team was able to do an operational evaluation of vehicles moving at different velocities when subjected to the underbody blast."

The team's M&S methodologies assess the dynamics for both the blast on a moving vehicle and the return-to-ground effects. The team's M&S methodologies assess the dynamics for both the blast on a moving vehicle and the return-to-ground effects.

The study found that a vehicle in motion is more likely to flip or roll in a blast event, while a stationary vehicle with the same center of gravity encountering the same IED charge size may stay upright.

The team's analysis can be applied in several ways:

  • The method aids in theater reconstruction studies. For instance, these M&S tools helped determine net explosive weight and vehicle speed in a recent IED blast involving a Stryker vehicle.
  • In collaboration with TARDEC/Ground Systems Survivability, it provides valuable input to the development of design standards in the Occupant Centric Protection Technology Enabled Demonstrator project.
  • The methodology informs engineers and program managers in product lifecycle management, especially during the design phase.

Because of its contribution to Soldier safety, this capability will supplement physical testing at a new Dynamic Mine/Rollover Test Range being currently stood up at Aberdeen Proving Ground, MD, to support Army Test and Evaluation Command's vehicle vulnerability test mission, Vunnam added.

The study was also nominated for a 2012 Department of the Army Dr. Wilbur B. Payne Memorial Award for Excellence in Analysis.

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