Chimneys on Humvees

August 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

The US Army is to fit military vehicles  in Afghanistan with armored chimneys to protect troops inside from  roadside bombs.

The circular chimneys, which run straight up through the vehicle from floor to roof, funnel the main force of the explosion away from the soldiers inside.

As the blast wave, travelling at speeds of up to 1,000mph, escapes from the top of the chimney, it also produces a downward thrust that helps to prevent the vehicle overturning.

George Tunis, founder of the American company Hardwire, which is developing the structural blast chimneys, said: “We’re using the [blast] against itself. Like in jujitsu or aikido, we’re using the energy of the attack itself to defeat the attack.”

Tests using dummies showed that the chimneys reduced the force felt inside the vehicle by 30%, a reduction that would allow the crew to survive.

Military officials believe the chimneys could enable the return of more agile but less well-protected vehicles, which had to be removed from the frontline because of the threat posed by improvised explosive devices.

Chris Yunker, who is in charge of testing new vehicles for the US marines, said: “When they do the blast testing on this rigid cabin, we’re seeing pretty good results. I tell people, ‘ I don’t care if it’s bubble gum on the window that makes the thing work. If it works, we’re interested in it’.”

Improvised devices have claimed the lives of 230 of the 379 British troops killed in Afghanistan. Forty of those deaths have been of soldiers travelling in Snatch vehicles.

When coalition forces strengthened the armour on their vehicles, the Taliban responded with bigger devices.

 

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