Agent-based modelling of fragment damage for platform combat utility prediction

  • Stanislas Gabrovsek

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


The majority of allied casualties from recent conflicts were caused by blast wave and fragment perforation damage from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). Survivability to this type of threat is a critical factor to consider for land platform design. IEDs are formed of explosive material (typically discarded artillery ammunition) connected to a triggering system. The explosion of such a weapon generates primary effect (blast wave) but also secondary effects as fragments that can interact with critical components or crew to incapacitate a platform. Behind Armour Debris (BADs) generated by fragments impacting on the target itself can cause severe damage to the system and must be carefully considered. Add-on solutions that offer increased protection from IED effects such as slat armour and antiBAD liners exist, but further benefit can be achieved through optimisation of the platform architecture itself. Simulation tools are ideal for modelling and testing architecture topology improvements as part of the platform architecture design process. A wide range of vulnerability modelling and simulation tools are available, with approaches that each provide a specific level of insight. For example, war-gaming techniques provide exploitable insights regarding platform usage doctrine while numerical methods provides detailed analysis of individual component resistance to perforation. However, none of these tools is able to quickly provide preliminary insights about system combat utility at any level considered, for a first initial analysis of the system survivability. This thesis proposes an original approach to platform damage assessment analysis that can be applied from the fleet down to the component level, with benefits in terms of scalability, modularity and reusability of the developed models. A combination of Agent-Based approach and semi-empirical equations is used to determine the components damaged while the remaining capabilities are assessed through a fault-tree analysis. One major benefit of the approach is the speed of simulation that allows the designer to test different platform configurations in a very short time. Among other IED effects, this research focuses on the fragment impact on structures whilst the application of the approach to blast damage and shockwave transmission is discussed. Platform crew is not particularly considered, however the methods could be easily extended to human occupants, by considering appropriate incapacity and fatality energy levels. As a demonstration of the benefits of this approach, a comparison of different future platform architectures from their survivability to IED fragments point of view is presented. Possible extensions and applications of the research are blast and shock wave modelling, crew survivability prediction and optimisation of active protection system architecture.
Date of AwardAug 2017
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Brighton

Cite this