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FUTEK Load Cells Protect Our Troops
Release Date: 5/8/2007

Our soldiers are now a little bit safer thanks to a protection system installed on the Army’s Humvee vehicles.  Previously, the Army’s Humvee vehicles were susceptible to a tactic used to disable vehicles and injure our troops.  Insurgents would string steel wire or cable between buildings or trees that Humvees would run into, damaging the vehicle and causing serious or fatal injuries to the occupants.  This tactic was often used at night when the steel wire or cable was harder to see.

To deal with this threat, the Army Research & Development Command at Watervliet Arsenal in New York improved on a concept that was successful in protecting Humvees in Haiti during the ‘90s and tested it using a 3,000 lb LCB400 Rod-end Tension Load Cell designed by Futek.  The cable cutter consists of a long piece of channel iron with a sharp blade at the top. The cutter is mounted on the front of the Humvee to catch any wire in the path of the vehicle.  The wire rides up the channel iron and is cut by the blade.  Of course, not every Humvee needs the cable cutter since only the lead vehicle in a convoy is at risk.  The cutter was designed to be easily installed or removed, as needed.

The devices were produced by the U.S. Army Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command (TACOM), tested at the Army’s Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland, and then deployed to units in Iraq that face this kind of threat.  The Army reports that no units equipped with this new cable cutter have sustained damage from this type of insurgent attack.

Futek supported this test and evaluation program by providing the load cell that that was installed in-line with the cable to measure the cutting force on the cable.  Initial tests were conducted in the drop-test facility at the Army’s Research & Development Command at Watervliet Arsenal. You can see it pictured below looking down into the drop test chamber.  A large weighted mass with the cable cutting device attached was dropped across the stretched cable to simulate the Humvee running into the cable.  The wide dynamic range of FUTEK’s rod-end load cell (LCB400) enabled the lab to test various impact velocities and cable diameters.  

FUTEK’s skilled engineering team uses sophisticated design and development tools to respond to the special requirements of our customers.  Whether your application requires sensors in high temperature or cryogenic environments, submersible or outer space applications, or any other special load cell, force, torque or pressure transducer needs, FUTEK is your sensor solution source.

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