Airbag Defense


I was shocked to see a recent post on our sister site, DoD Buzz, about a new defensive countermeasure to RPGs being developed by Textron. The system, called TRAPS uses an armored air bag to absorb the impact of an RPG, rendering it inert.

According to Greg Grant’s story, the TRAPS uses radar to detect the incoming RPG and deploy the airbag on the zone of the vehicle being targeted.

DT readers might remember my mad scientist friend David Woroner, head of Survival Consultants International, who developed a patent on a multi-layered IED protection system that uses airbags to absorb the blast wave and some of the shrapnel of an IED in an attempt to reduce the blunt force trauma of the bomb’s concussion.

Here’s a video rendering of Dave’s system…


The key to Dave’s airbag protection that differs from Textron’s is that it detects the IED blast light, which arrives at the vehicle well before the blast does and gives the system time to deploy the airbags before the blast reaches the vehicle. I know that Israeli and some US so-called “active protection” systems use radar to detect the object coming towards it, but with Dave’s system, the detection is projectile agnostic since it detects the light of detonation (or launch?) and deploys at the speed of light (with fiber optics).

At the end of the day, it’s great to see that folks are beginning to approach the armor protection dilemma with more than just layers of cold rolled steel. I hope the JLTV developers dial in on this type of protection since it would surely garner advantages in weight and deployability.

— Christian

43 Comments on "Airbag Defense"

  1. Not sure a system such as this qualifies as "shocking"….more like an incremental upgrade in active defense.

  2. I wonder if this will work with multiple hits or how a mixture of RPG and 7.62 rounds will affect it. Sounds interesting but I'm very curious how tough it can be made.

  3. So "Dave's" system would be useless against an RPG which hits before exploding?

  4. soooo.. they used soviet technology with airbags instead grenades.. not that RPGs are so cheap today that freedomfighters.. aehmm terorists are running with big pakage around.. double RPG head aside..

  5. Freedom fighters generaly arent supposed to fight for the right to rape 13 year olds and beat women into submissions fart.


    I just like that people are trying to deal with the blastwave effects from ied's. I like Daves system.

    As for RPG's it said it could detect flashes from launches. However the system didnt look like it took up much room so i believe slat armor will still work.

  6. I believe if you look at the comments on the article about Woroner's system, you'll see a comment from me about TRAPS. They're being installed on practically any vehicle possible including tanks by now. I assume they will be on the JLTV, whatever concept gets chosen, because the government is asking for it.

  7. I guess the radar system is the best out of the two, on the basis that there doesn’t always have to be a flash of light when an explosion underground occurs… whereas depending on the frequency of the radar system, even the moisture in the compressed air in a shockwave could technically sense the trigger of a device, or even a supersonic object.

    Obviously however, such high sensitivity is pointless… but still, it’s got one less flaw than the light sensing system.

    Will be interesting to see the final cost of the system. I guess it’s not silly to think that once this sort of system is deployed, it would not be possible to install the same system using other active protections (even a active armour that is triggered by the blast).

  8. For those not in the know, radio and light waves travel at the same speed (both are electromagnetic waves). Thus the assumption that the optical system is faster, purely because it works at a different part of the spectrum is moot.

  9. Actually… just one question… if possible to be answered… what is the point of the fibre optic system?

    Surely a hard-wired system is quicker in that it doesn't require reverting the signal to an optical signal and back to electrical?

    Anyways… an electrical signal travels as fast as light – well it's a fraction of a difference in the grand scheme of things.

    Seems like a bit of overkill! Or am I missing something?

  10. freefallingbomb | November 7, 2009 at 1:53 am | Reply

    Part I :

    What a bullshit.

    How is such a device going to function

    1) in ANY high-intensity conflict, where every TRAPS- or "mad-Dave’s-airbags"-protected vehicle and its sensor are likely to acknowledge "quite a few" flashes and flying projectiles all around them per day, or even per hour (per fire-fight) ?
    And is a nuclear fireball at the horizon not going to deploy absolutely all airbags of all vehicles within visible range, "at the speed of light" ?

    Or even

    2) in ambushes in low-intensity conflicts, where a single near miss – deliberate or not – and its projectile and launch flame etc. trigger ALL the vehicle's airbags simultaneously, rendering them useless for the second, well-aimed shot?

    Is this maybe just a one-off, disposable device…?


  11. freefallingbomb | November 7, 2009 at 1:53 am | Reply

    Part II :

    Will the humble infantryman lying under such a TRAPS-rigged vehicle and firing his assault rifle, his heavy machine-gun or his rocket, not be crushed or catapulted into the open by the unfolding airbags, after the sensors detected his muzzle flashes or his rocket only a few centimeters away?
    (He better seek distance from all kinds of other, “actively protected” vehicles as well, to avoid becoming their collateral damage…)


  12. freefallingbomb | November 7, 2009 at 1:54 am | Reply

    Part III :

    Will all U.S. American vehicles immediately stop invading and shooting in the middle of a plain, if their anti-ballistic air-bags got deflated by the first nearby explosions, and wait for replacements? No advances without softly cushioned tanks, the general says, like padded cells in nuthouses?
    How about stuffing U.S. infantrymen into piles of airbags to protect them from I.E.D.s too, until they look like Michelin men (made all of tyres) ? If necessary, fix their mobility problem with a 15-foot exoskeleton!

    What an utterly U.S. American invention: “No life outside / no survival without the protective bubble” !


  13. freefallingbomb | November 7, 2009 at 1:54 am | Reply

    Part IV :

    How is a bag of air supposed to protect against a salvo of E.F.P.s anyway? Needles just LOVE to puncture balloons!

    Or against a stream of equally lethal, small-calibre anti-matériel rounds (or even single tank grenades), fired from too far away for their sensors to detect any relatively weak, distant muzzle flashes?
    Will shrapnel ( = a shocking effect associated with the latest I.E.D.s, and evidence of on-going Iranian support) not pop the whole balloon bundle at once – and the delicate vehicle skins beneath them too?

    Dumb, dumber and dumbest…

  14. Oh wow, what is with the questions here? The camera's/light sensors analyze the light and determine if its the right pattern to deploy the airbags. It will most likely not deploy to the flash of an RPG, but rather to the light signature of the typical IED. The designers aren't morons. If it does go off at the wrong times, I'm sure that will come up in testing and the military would cancel orders.

    I imagine that the bags can be turned off with a switch if the driver is in a firefight that doesn't require them (or if a soldier is near the vehicle with an AT weapon).

    I don't get all the uneducated guesses on how the system WON'T work when all it takes is a few moments of thinking to come up with uneducated guesses to render them moot. You guys are smarter than this.

  15. On shrapnel popping the airbags….I don't think that will be a huge issue unless the fire from a close explosion has time to damage the bags first. NASA and Bigelow Space have developed inflatable space habitat modules (and in the latter have deployed them in space) that allow large volume in a small package. The inflatable skin is multi-layered kevlar and other exotic materials that is built to withstand micro-meteoroids that fly through space at extreme speeds. These airbags are made similarly, so the shrapnel won't damage the bags much.

  16. Hey jack ass (fart) at any time durring that triade did you watch the video? It isnt just one bag its layerd so that when one takes a hit that bag deflects or disrups the incoming.

    This is ment to stop the concusive force most of all.

    But this is on par with your usual post. Stuck up, irritating, irrational, childish drivel.

    If i remember correctly your a euro so i expect childsihness out of you.

    BTW to all euros who arent represented by fart or his ilk no offense but he's just a troll and sorry to say most euros who i speak to to often are well opinionated aholes.

    PLease prove me wrong.

  17. freefallingbomb | November 8, 2009 at 12:59 am | Reply

    Part II :

    You wrote: "(N.A.S.A.'s Space bungalow's) inflatable skin is multi-layered kevlar and other exotic materials that is built to withstand micro-meteoroids that fly through space at extreme speeds."

    But how "micro" is a steel shard or E.F.P. ?


  18. freefallingbomb | November 8, 2009 at 1:01 am | Reply

    Part III :

    You wrote: "These airbags are made similarly, so the shrapnel won't damage the bags much."

    What if I.E.D.'s "only" blow Abram turrets off the hulls: Are we finally safe then?

    Or if an I.E.D. simply throws the entire, 60 tons heavy Abrams off the road, like a toy?

    Enjoy those pictures:

    I did.

  19. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 12:18 am | Reply

    Part I :

    Yesterday, I answered to the poster "Noah Mayer" with a tripartite post. I'm not talking about my first post here, about the airbags themselves.
    The last two thirds of my answer to "Noah Mayer", which contained lots of links to Internet images of E.F.P.-made holes and even destroyed Abrams tanks in Iraq, to illustrate the futility of dressing up U.S. military vehicles (of ANY size and weight!) in fluffy pink balloons ("airbags"), simply… "disappeared".

    I've seen this happen before, elsewhere, and I tell you something:



  20. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 12:20 am | Reply

    Part II :

    Ironically, it may even be our own "fault" = that of us readers and posters. "Defense Tech" was getting dangerously popular and successful exclusively thanks of us: A "tiny, amuck running wheel" in the otherwise flawlessly functioning, rigidly controlled, single-minded Military Machine.
    "We should never have happened".

    Quoting The Matrix's "Architect" :
    " (We) are the eventuality of an anomaly, which, despite my sincerest efforts I've been unable to eliminate from what is otherwise a harmony of mathematical precision."


  21. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 12:21 am | Reply

    Part III :

    First of all, the amount of OUR COMMENTS was / is such, both in quantity and quality, that it became by far the most substantial and informative part of "Defense Tech". Now it was only a short matter of time until true professional commentators were lured to this slowly growing hotspot (journalists, defense experts, top brass, minor politicians, arms companies' spokesmen who digladiate other arms companies' spokesmen, finally some System dobermans on sales) or, "even worse" : The first curious mainstream readers, to discuss and expose the whole rottenness of the U.S. American military-industrial complex to the World.
    But self-criticism and ambition are a no-no in the 1 % fascist and 99 % sheepish U.S.A., that's why the perfidious Jewish / Zionistic editors of "Defense Tech" categorically erased SIX YEARS worth of our comments = A LEGACY !!! under the guise of a "new", TOTALLY KACKY layout!


  22. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 12:24 am | Reply

    Part IV :

    After the Wanat debacle I also sensed, with great surprise and delight, that an increasing number of U.S. American readers (even dyed-in-the-wool patriot Byron Skinner!) "dared" to think more critically and outspoken, even bitter, about their own Military (their own superiors?) and their wars, their striking incompetence and their Third-Worldish levels of corruption, when appropriate. Criticizing armed public clerks is as normal as breathing to all non-U.S. Americans, but I'm vaguely aware of what it takes for any U.S. American to publicly take off his blinkers!
    "Dangerous dissent was breeding", "the civilian Insurrection is organizing itself", "the sheeples are getting a conscience", etc., in "" 's paranoid minds, and they know how impulsive the U.S. American mentality is, so they gave the order to box this free-thinking Web-site into conformity again.


  23. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 12:32 am | Reply

    Part V :

    Ugg: "Defense Tech" 's editors even admit that they censor all SELF-DEFINED "spam" now!
    That's how these cowards always start to steal our peoples' freedoms: By attacking the lowest common denominator, to pretend that they're acting in the public's best interest!
    Next they will block the trolls from posting ( = ME . So sad), then the haters (hi there!), then all comments with war-morale lowering contents ( = ME again, read my second phrase above), then all politically uncorrect thinkers (because of Obama the Peace Angel…), then all French readers (still me), then all the other foreign posters ( = "suspects", "hostiles", "probably Axis of Evil agents"), then all Muslims living in the U.S.A. ("born terrorists"), then the most subtle critics of "Defense Tech" articles & of "Israel" and finally the last surviving anti-invasions, anti-Military, anti-Nazi, pacifistic "Fatherland traitors", etc., until "Defense Tech" is finally the voice of its master again.


  24. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 12:33 am | Reply

    Part VI :

    In the future, "Defense Tech" 's other "deontological promise", that of "no more political discussions", will also be expanded to ALL discussions of broad strategies, individual military leaders and armament companies (because of "civil liability"…), wanna bet?


  25. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 12:34 am | Reply

    Part VII :

    Basically, "Defense Tech" is going down the same drain like the glorious former discussion forums under each news article from the U.S. American Internet portal "Yahoo!" (from where I erred here, after being banned from all other Web-sites on the Internet) : In 2004, shortly before the "re-election" of W by rigged Diebold voting machines, some of "Yahoo!" 's daily discussion boards had more than 3.000.000 posts (word of honour!), QUITE a representative sample of the entire U.S. American population, and MOST OF THEM bursting with revolt. That's when the System (speak: The Neocons) became aware of the Internet's real power and pulled the plug on "Yahoo!", afraid of its own public's opinion:


  26. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 12:37 am | Reply

    Part VIII :

    First, they made it easy for Reptards and Jews to time out and then to delete all critics' accounts (with E-Mails and Instant Messengers and everything!), then, as soon as we created new ones, they associated all our accounts / nick-names with our computers' I.P.'s, then they reduced the maximum length of all comments to thwart the flux of constructive, intelligent information (just like "Defense Tech" does now, allowing only brainless, telex-style answers = BURPS ! ), then they removed all Bush- and Jew-bashing comments far too quickly for anyone to possibly have flagged them, ESPECIALLY if they contained links (just like the two last parts of my answer to "Noah Mayer"), etc. etc., and at last, when every other lowly trick also failed to hold the anti-Führer dam, they simply eliminated all discussion boards from their news articles: "As they were set up, the Yahoo! News message boards allowed a small number of vocal users to dominate the discussion. Neil Bundy" (Neil Bundy, you spine-less poop!).


  27. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 12:38 am | Reply

    Part IX :

    Trust me entirely on this prognosis for "Defense Tech" : We trolls are Society's most reliable instruments to explore the outer confines of Freedom of Speech!

  28. Im a bit of a newbie here so pardon my relative ignorance here. Im going to steer clear of all the madness in these comments – i just want to say that i think that this airbag impact system is a superb innovation that should be deployed en masse before any more men are lost unnesesarily. Hopefully the UK Ministry of Defence have something similar up their sleeve.

  29. A blast wave is a pressure wave traveling through a gas. When it hits the airbag, it will loose a small amount of energy as the wave imparts a force upon the air bag material. Given that the air bag had to be wrapped up compactly, and inflate quickly, I would imagine its mass per square surface area will be quite low. On the other side of the air bag is a gas, which is what the pressure wave was traveling through to begin with. I can't see how this system will do anything to dampen the pressure wave or reduce the affects of the blast wave. It is kind of like taping balloons to your head instead of using earplugs. It has the potential to stop shrapnel, but the current armor can easily do that.

  30. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 4:27 pm | Reply

    Part II :

    The ONE AND ONLY (partially) conclusive phrase in the DuD article says: "Textron says the tests have so far been successful and the airbags defeated numerous live RPGs fired at different angles from both short and long ranges."
    But rockets (and anti-tank grenades) aren't I.E.D.'s. (unlike mines, booby-traps and I.E.D.s they even require the presence of someone to fire them), and whole Abrams tanks ( = not just their tracks and turrets!) have been violently tossed around by I.E.D.'s, as I tried to show to the poster "Noah Mayer". R.P.G.-7's don't have that effect.

    That's why even the most advanced main battle tanks remind me constantly of giant dinosaurs being helplessly exterminated by the first small mammals hiding in earth holes…


  31. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Reply

    Part III :

    Why did nobody yet bother to place a single fucking 15,5 cm artillery grenade 5 metres besides a H.M.M.W.V. or M.R.A.P. all draped in airbags, balloons, pillows, inflatable mattresses and soap bubbles etc. and detonate it, to see how high and far the engine block had flown away? (I call that "heterosexual weapons research")

    But is spending money on such a test really necessary…? Hint: A decent Muslim truck bomb leaves a crater up to 4 meters deep.

    Would Hitler have wanted to hear about such a miracle weapon, even as the curtain fell over his Reich?

  32. freefallingbomb | November 9, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Reply

    Nuclear war-fighting doctrine holds that nuke warheads are to be fired in pairs against hardened structures, arriving successively, so that the second nuke can exploit the structural weaknesses created by the first explosion.

    That's also my suggestion for the Taliraqis in regard to M.A.D. (mad airbag Dave) : If U.S. American military vehicles start featuring those airbags, produce a sequence of TWO I.E.D. explosions along the driving lane, spaced only a few meters + milli-seconds away from each other (depending on the vehicles' average speed: Convert their estimated km/h into m/s and multiply this number with the distance in meters between your two I.E.D.'s) :

    1) To deplete the entire protective system with the first explosion


    2) to destroy the can of Nazis with the second explosion.

    Happy hunting! (I want videos!!!)

  33. freefallingbomb | November 10, 2009 at 3:33 am | Reply

    Wait a minute: This whole thing can't possibly work, NOT EVEN ONCE = NOT EVEN AGAINST THE VERY FIRST I.E.D. !!!

    Part I :

    Let's say that the airbag fully open(s) after 10 milli-seconds (and I'm already being over-optimistic: I deliberately skipped the system's detection and reaction time, and I also ignored the fact that the much smaller and softer civilian car airbags take a full 20 – 30 milli-seconds to inflate, NOT 10 milli-seconds!).

    10 milli-seconds of (super-fast) deployment time is 1 / 100 of a second.

    How far does a shock wave travel in 10 milli-seconds (or: In 1 / 100 of a second) ?
    Can an I.E.D. exploding 10 meters away from a Nazi vehicle (10 meters = more unrealistic attenuating circumstances!) reach the vehicle's skin faster than the airbags deploy?

    Let's do the maths… or is anybody afraid of that?!


  34. freefallingbomb | November 10, 2009 at 3:35 am | Reply

    Part II :

    The detonation wave of good old T.N.T. travels at 6.900 meters / second. (World-War-Two's explosives already burned at rates of 9.000 meters / second and faster, but let's forget even that!)

    6.900 meters per second equals 6,9 meters per 1 / 1.000 second,


    But we assumed that the I.E.D. exploded from "only" 10 ( T-E-N ) meters away, not from 69 meters away! 10 meters is only 1 / 6,9 of 69 meters, meaning: The shock wave hits the vehicle's skin 6,9 times faster than the airbags deploy!!!

    And since any amounts (big or small) of T.N.T. burn always with the same speed, my friends, the heroic Muslim Nazi-killers, can even use the SMALLEST POSSIBLE I.E.D.'s to defeat those airbags!

    Are we being fed shitty fairy tales again by the great "Defense Tech" editors? (Hoo hoo, is anybody in the house?)

  35. Hi There, This is that crazy guy. After ranting like a lunatic, you actually started to think. I was wondering if that would happen. Im glad it has. There are several facts that should be at least addressed, as some people have asked. Let me try to do so without handing out the "worx." (more)

  36. JustAGuy begins to approach the fluid dynamics of the problem at hand. Freefallingbomb begins to consider time (there's more there…keep going.) Someone commented on electricity moving @ "near" light speed, why "optics?" good question also. These things have all been approached, and to a "certain point" mathematically, theoretically been proven out. (more.)

  37. As Christian *an odd name for a "jewish controlled media monger, lmao! jokingly calls me "mad." Its actually from an even funnier story, that I garnered the name "rocketman." Now THAT was funny…(more)

  38. Mr Bomb, youre onto "something" when you finally stopped going whacko, you started to question "time to deploy?" < good start. The other things I saw, like planar surfacing strength and light speed electricity are also good questions. Rest assured, though not 100% perfect, has "proofs" that are done by a person that is…how shall I put this? Way beyond anyone in here, including myself. Keep thinking folks. Best, "Rocket"

  39. suggestion, keep working the math of each component that would have "to be addressed." Consider that a fair starting point, rest assured, there are answers that work out throughout….. it took a loong time. (I wish I could say whom was helping the troops "behind the scenes," suffice it to say he's much smarter than anybody whom is currently even considering any of this. So far, I have his attention. I will also give this, its "more than just bags." Best, Rocket

  40. freefallingbomb | November 11, 2009 at 3:25 pm | Reply

    Part I :

    To the poster "Pocketman" :

    1) A THOUSAND THANKS for humbling us with your PRIMITIVE (SELF-)MYSTIFICATIONS !

    2) I didn't "stop ranting" or "start thinking" or anything, I just proposed the solution of disabling the airbags with TWO OR MORE SUCCESSIVE I.E.D.'s first, BEFORE realizing that the airbags couldn't even work against ONE SINGLE I.E.D., so: No need to waste more than one I.E.D. on any Nazi panzer.
    Can't you really distinguish between "one" and "two", or between "one" and "many", without constant corrections?


  41. freefallingbomb | November 11, 2009 at 3:26 pm | Reply

    Part II :

    3) How about answering me what happens if an I.E.D. goes off not an unrealistic 10 meters away, but only from a proper distance of 2 meters? Then the airbags would have to fully deploy not in 10 milli-seconds, but only in 2 milli-seconds!

    But NOT EVEN A BULLET leaves a rifle barrel that fast, from hammer drop to muzzle exit! (Adieux, "active defense" ! That's why you'll also ALWAYS be able to knock over an entire Abrams simply with a powerful blast from a nearby bomb or I.E.D.! If only "Defense Tech" allowed me to share these sexy pictures with you…)

    4) Say 'Hello!' to your "genial, super-secret airbag inventors behind the scenes" for me, will ya? They're LATE for two wars, while plumbing around their improbable product!

  42. Just curious cause I don't quite get why you bring up ole kraut armor? Is that in relation to the comment "two wars late," hehe…. You know what general? From detection to fully deploy (and keep in mind, I did say theres "more that you aren't going to see.") is less than 2 ms, Im work in uS, *microsecond is an SI unit of time equal to one millionth (10-6) of a second. Its symbol is µs. Believe it or not, thats the TRUTH, and it delineates your "multi detonation" ploy, gosh, gimme a "smallll amount of credit?" I haven't been rude to anyone. Best, Dave

  43. Lol, your funny…… Anyways, thanks for the help.
    How about a simplified question for you?

    Whats faster? Radar or Optical Recognition?
    Answer that, or you can take my meds today, hehe… : )

    Have a Good Day Bro! Dave

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