in the workplace

Blast, Ballistics & Laser Testing Prepares Forces for the Future

2 October 2018 • 3 min reading time

The new Weapon Effects & Protection Center (WEPC) is the most advanced weapons, blast and ballistics testing facility in Europe. There, TNO combines 70 years of Defence knowledge with state-of-the-art facilities. Defence organisations, first responders and industry players can test their innovations in a secure, private and fully equipped environment.

Working closely with the Dutch Ministry of Defence and NATO forces, TNO recognised the need for a facility to test the latest materials and weapons used in defence operations. From new advancements in vehicle armour to the effects of laser weaponry on targets, the WEPC offers a cutting-edge facility in which to test and measure performance. Project teams gain independent advice to improve the materials and systems that protect those who protect us.

Equipment and expertise

From high-speed and 3D cameras that track every nanosecond, to innovative technology that calculates results, the WEPC is equipped with everything needed to diagnose, measure and track the performance of weapons, ballistics and defence materials. 

But the true power of the WEPC comes from our experts. At any phase of testing, a team of highly skilled, experienced scientists and technicians are on hand to analyse the results and offer concrete advice. Working closely with project teams, we help assess and elevate products and prototypes to optimal solutions.

“The WEPC is the most advanced weapons, blast and ballistics testing facility in Europe”

“The WEPC is an engine for innovation in ballistics, blast and laser system protection,” says Henk Geveke, Managing Director of Defence and Safety at TNO. “No matter what phase of development a project is in, we can help support the most optimal development outcomes. We are all committed to ensuring the highest level of protection for those charged with keeping us all safe.”

Comprehensive testing facility

In this independent, indoor facility, industry and military partners can explore the potential of all new materials and constructions aimed at protection during armed conflict.

Within the walls of the one-of-a-kind Vehicle Test Hall, complete, full-sized vehicles can be tested against a wide range of ballistic and blast attacks. Vehicle, airplane and ship components can be tested against blasts from up to 25 kilograms of explosives. The bunkers are equipped to simulate attacks from different angles in a variety of weather conditions. The latest diagnostic technology can then measure and report the results, offering insight into further improvement possibilities. TNO can also qualify innovations according to regulatory standards.

“The Vehicle Test Hall is much more than a blast and ballistics facility,” says Bastiaan Geluk, Senior Project Manager of the Vehicle Test Hall. “It’s a place where TNO offers its guidance and expertise to ensure that every test we perform provides valuable insight that improves products and saves lives.”

“Vehicle, airplane and ship components can be tested against blasts from up to 25 kilograms of explosives”

In the High-Energy Laser Lab, industry and military partners can test the power of laser weaponry, and determine the best ways to defend against it. From laser-target interaction testing to material analysis to the effect of weather or range, teams can explore all the power of this weapon system and experiment with its critical components. The latest diagnostic equipment measures and tracks every result, for comprehensive insight.

“It’s not a question of whether laser weaponry will be used in military operations. It’s a question of when,” says Federica Valente, Product Manager of the High-Energy Laser Lab. “By augmenting our extensive modelling and simulation capabilities with this facility, we can provide 360º consultancy on high-energy laser weapons. From insights into the underlying physics, to advice on how to tune technology to optimise lasers’ effect on targets, to developing with partners the best protection against them.” 

A look inside

Military and industry partners interested in taking advantage of the state-of-the-art WEPC are encouraged to get in touch. With knowledge, insight, expertise and technology, we will help ensure that our militaries, police forces and first responders not only return home, but return home safely. “The WEPC isn’t just about saving lives,” Henk says. “It’s about preparing for every development. Including those that have not yet been conceived, but are sure to become part of our future Defence landscape.”

More information?

For more information, contact the WEPC on wepc@tno.nl or visit the website.

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