The Explosive Testing of Structural Components (ETSC) trial series, a platform for large-scale testing of the SAF’s research and technology development programmes, was planned, managed and executed by DSTA. ETSC has provided the Weapon Effects, Protection and Operational Analysis communities with a platform to gather valuable weapon effects data. By conducting the explosive tests locally at Pulau Senang, DSTA has been able to develop protective solutions that are tailored to Singapore’s unique needs.
ETSC 2017 was carried out by a multi-disciplinary team from DSTA, where protective defence infrastructure design concepts developed by the Defence Technology Community were validated. These would be employed in the construction of airbases and mission-critical facilities, allowing DSTA to protect MINDEF and the SAF’s assets better.
REINFORCING INTERNAL PROTECTION
One concept tested was the use of Fibre Reinforced Polymer (FRP) composites. When laminated onto an internal wall, the FRP composites were hypothesised to have helped reduce spalling and prevented the ejection of flying debris, which could harm personnel and damage equipment. The test concluded that spalling resulting from an explosion could be captured behind the FRP composites, thus enhancing internal protection.
Another test in support of national security initiatives explored the impact of an internal explosion, simulating an explosive attack within a building. The test captured key blast effects, such as the propagation of the blast wave through successive walls.
Extensive tests were also conducted on scaled models of composite arch ammunition storage magazines. In contrast to the thin structural elements used in conventional ammunition magazines, the tested articles featured a more robust structural system supporting a thick earth cover. In case of an accidental explosion, the new design would reduce the explosion’s effects, while large access doors would vent the explosion forces in predictable directions.
GAINING COMPREHENSIVE VISUALISATION
Laser-based scanning techniques such as Light Detection and Ranging were used extensively in ETSC 2017. DSTA’s surveyors used GPS to triangulate each test article’s position and identify its precise location. The 3D point cloud data obtained from pre- and post-test measurements could then be compared to provide a comprehensive visualisation of all deformations and changes. This gave an accuracy of up to millimetres in assessing structural changes and ground shifts caused by the explosives. The team also deployed shock-proof data acquisition systems, thereby allowing it to get closer to the test articles and with less cables laid and equipment deployed, reducing manpower and material costs. In addition, the team adopted pre-fabrication construction methods to reduce the cost and time required for construction of test articles.