News | Mar 29, 2018

Army invents vehicle barrier, portable but powerful

Patented technology is available to businesses for commercialization

News Article Image of Army invents vehicle barrier, portable but powerful

A barrier is tested for its ability to limit the access of aggressor vehicles at entry-control points of expeditionary and small installations.

Dawn Arden/Army

VICKSBURG, Miss. – U.S. forces are often tasked with constructing expeditionary firebases from which to conduct operations.

These relatively small compounds usually have one or two vehicle exits where soldiers are stationed on guard, some manning the gate, opening and closing it for vehicles, while others maintain overwatch from a guard tower or bunker.

Car bombs are a persistent threat to these facilities, and if possible, troops will position earthen or concrete barriers accordingly, otherwise resorting to concertina wire (if available).

These techniques are time-consuming and problematic, leading a team of researchers at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) to invent a field expedient non-lethal vehicle barrier system that is lightweight and rapidly deployed.

“It’s very basic, said co-inventor Christopher Price, chief of ERDC’s Geotechnical and Structures Laboratory Geotechnical Engineering and Geosciences Branch.

“It had to be basic. It had to be something either they could receive in the field and put together quickly, or a design drawing that shows up, and they can go to a shop locally to assemble it with maybe only a drill press and a welder.”

News Article Image of Army invents vehicle barrier, portable but powerful

Soldiers from the 509th Clearance Company, 5th Engineer Battalion, test a field expedient, non-lethal vehicle arresting barrier on Nov. 10, 2015.

Dawn Arden/Army

During the testing, personnel were provided with a prototype and asked to assemble and emplace it according to mission requirements. The assembly process is possible by two to four people in 15 to 30 minutes.

Price, along with co-inventors Justin Roberts and William McCleave, received a patent on the rapid deployment assembly in January, and two related patents filed in 2017 are pending.

TechLink, the Department of Defense’s national partnership intermediary, is ready to help the Army Corps of Engineers license the patents to a business for commercialization.

“Force protection is a big market, with both civilian and military agencies looking for the best solutions,” said Marti Elder, TechLink’s senior technology manager working with ERDC. “We’re working to find ERDC a solid partner, a business committed to making the invention become a successful product.”

Headshot Image of Marti Elder, CLP

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