Study aims to mitigate risk of lower leg injuries for service personnel

A study is taking place to model of the effect of undercarriage blast impact on service personnel travelling in armoured vehicles.

Whilst it’s feasible for an armoured vehicle to survive an attack on its undercarriage, the dynamics of the vehicle’s response can lead to occupant injury including debilitating ankle fractures, explained a spokesperson from Frazer-Nash Consultancy.

The company is conducting a six-month research study on behalf of the Defence Science & Technology Laboratory (Dstl) looking at the blast environment inside a vehicle.

This will involve looking into various loading conditions to support development of more accurate methods for using the Hybrid III leg – which simulates human biomechanical responses – to assess the risk of lower leg injuries.

To develop a model specific injury risk function for the Hybrid III leg, Frazer-Nash will collate and analyse available injury risk data to develop the most representative injury risk curve for the lower leg in a high strain loading environment, typical of the effects of blast on a vehicle structure. 

This analysis will consider the influence of factors including age, loading rate; posture and loading direction; footwear; the choice of parameter to use as the injury ordinate and the statistical method used to create the injury risk function.

The research forms part of the enduring MOD research programme to ensure that best possible protection is provided to UK military personnel, given the operational constraints of armoured vehicles, including factors such as volume and weight.

Frazer-Nash added that the project would be shaped and influenced by lessons learnt in recent operations but has not been prompted recent experiences in-theatre. They further added that that the generic study is not based around any particular vehicle designs or even classes of vehicles.