It is a fair argument that donning an EOD Suit and walking down range to deal with an IED in an unforgiving part of the world is the most dangerous job in the world. The possibility of something going wrong even with the latest Electronic Counter Measures in place is still very high.
In the event of the worst happening the operator inside the suit is instantly exposed to several powerful and determined forces either one of these has the ability to be fatal. The three main factors are Acceleration, Overpressure and Fragmentation.
This does not even take into account the inevitable fireball that engulfs the operator for a few milliseconds during the initiation. Secondary injuries that can easily occur when the body is hurled aside, is another thing.
If the worst occurs, then why bother with the suit if it only makes a near impossible job only more difficult. The suit just adds a great big cumbersome weight, it’s uncomfortably hot and immobile to boot. The answer is simple. Yes your chances are slim but they improve exponentially by a few simple factors, the main one being distance.
Even half a metre can be the distance between survivability and death if you are protected. But the main factor is that nowadays a lot of creative ingenuity and material developments have made the suits a much more viable and essential piece of equipment.
Our basic philosophy at Holdfast Systems: Test it see if it works, then test it again. Five years ago when we decided to do our own in-house blast testing development and evaluation program. Not surprisingly no one wanted to “lend” us a test mannequin to “blow up” so we resigned ourselves to building our own test dummy according to the specs and design data available on a highly respected THOR NTHSA Hybrid Test Mannequin. We then mounted and fitted the necessary tri-axle accelerometers and pressure sensors to the head and chest assemblies.
Now five years later we have conducted over 30 blast tests on with our own equipment and have learnt a significant amount of vital information along the way. The engineering improvements made to our products as a result of this program are easily some of the most critical to be made since the initial inception of the EOD Suit.
It is now that our latest Testing shows what can considered to be the highest form of protection that a person can put on and walk around in.
Xhead = The test criteria
10kg of Pentolite Explosives (equivalent of 11.6kg TNT).
Charge suspended 1m off the ground.
Distance of mannequins from charge 3m.
Dummy positions –one standing and one kneeling.
Xhead = Our results
No significant damage to the suit.
All protective panels in place and secure.
Helmet still correctly fitted with visor locked down.
Acceleration in both head and chest reduced by over 85%.
Over pressure effect reduced by 90%.
Injury as a direct result of blast calculated to be minor.
Xhead = Conclusion
We offer no guarantee; the nature of this threat dictates that there are none. But our performance results indicate that the protection technology available today from Holdfast Systems is significant enough to offer the best chance possible.