CSIR researchers recently conducted what they termed “a historic test” when they tested the first fully instrumented landmine protection and blast improvised explosive device (IED) test on a Casspir.
The latest CSIR newsletter notes previous tests were executed using empirical measurement devices such as the Waterman and Bikini gauges.
Researcher David Reinecke, a senior engineer and project leader, revealed that his group tested this vehicle for the first time in accordance with the current local and international landmine protection test standards.
The test resulted in the highest number of measurement sensors ever in a local vehicle landmine test. The total number of sensors exceeded 100, excluding internal and external high speed video, with the total cost of equipment used for the test, excluding the Casspir, being in the region of R5 million.
The test had dual objectives of obtaining a scientifically-measured level of protection offered by the Casspir as well as to further develop and refine the validation testing methods, techniques and equipment. These techniques will become the new test standard applied to all locally-tested vehicles.
According to Reinecke, two tests were executed. An 8 kg surrogate mine was placed under the rear right wheel while a 50 kg surrogate blast IED explosive was positioned five metres from the vehicle.
The reason for this, he says, is that in most cases a blast comes from the sides in an IED attack. “We are trying to research and develop counter measures for this to guarantee the safety of the crew, as our own forces could encounter this threat sometime in the future during peace-keeping operations,” he says, adding that “the vehicle performed well in the tests.”
The Casspir, an internationally recognised combat-proven, landmine-protected personnel carrier, has been in use in southern Africa for over 25 years and is the basis on which all landmine protected vehicles are judged. It is a four-wheeled armoured vehicle used for the transportation of troops. It can hold a crew of two, plus 12 additional soldiers and associated gear.
The Casspir was designed by the CSIR, industry and the then South African Police Service (SAPS). The word ‘Casspir’ is an anagram of CSIR and SAP.
Reinecke says that additional follow-up tests will be conducted after April.