Shaking up the shock-mitigation industry
Dr. Tim Rees, SHOXS Seats
Abstract: High-speed watercraft play a critical role in both civilian and military applications. The ability to dispatch assets in minimal time provides a strategic advantage, but it does not come without health risks. Wave impacts at high speed are especially hazardous to the lower-back and extremities, and fractures, sprains, and strains can pose a serious challenge to mission objectives. Risks can be reduced with shock-mitigating seat technology, but until recently there were no clear methods for comparing the performance of rival products. To address this problem, there is a new ISO standard under development for the laboratory evaluation of marine seats. The new standard will facilitate direct comparisons of products by standardizing the methods used to measure their shock-mitigating performance. Contributing members to the standard include scientists from the US Navy, UK's Ministry of Defence (MOD), and Canada's DND; international academics; and industry engineers. In this talk we will discuss these developments, and we will describe how a preliminary version of the standard has already been used by the MOD to select seats for their next-generation PAC 24 Mk IV fleet. In that ground-breaking selection process, the MOD exhaustively tested seventeen seats from twelve manufacturers, and we will describe the process that led to the SHOXS 5005/5050 seats winning the contract. We anticipate more fleet operators will apply scientific selection procedures as knowledge of the impending ISO standard grows, with the end result being enhanced protection for boat crews.