The non-lethal ballistic Boat Trap
December 13, 2006 The rapid progress of technology is a two-edged sword, offering an opportunity for all humans to live a life of dignity, with food and water, and free from disease. At the same time it offers a small, disgruntled community the force-multiplication to strike telling blows against much bigger foes as we found on September 11, 2001. There are daily examples in Iraq of technology’s ability to aid a deadly strike against a larger opponent with IEDs and human-driven suicide truck bombs taking a massive toll. Perhaps the best example of a few men being able to strike at a larger enemy was the attack on USS COLE, in Yemen in October 2000, which amply demonstrated the destructive potential of a surface attack and the vulnerability of ships in port. To ensure the safety of military ships, Foster-Miller is developing an advanced Boat Trap system for the United States Department of Defense Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, working closely with the US Coast Guard. Designed to bolster US harbour security and protect coastal military bases abroad, Boat Trap is a non lethal, ballistic net that is deployed from a helicopter into the path of a threatening speedboat travelling at high speed. It is designed to entangle the propeller, causing the craft to immediately stop. The Boat Trap system has undergone extensive testing, and not once has it failed to stop a target.
Port security and ship protection has become a central issue in the war on terror and recent assessments of US port security has highlighted the risk from terrorists' using speed boats as a mode of attack. T
“Our non-lethal Boat Trap system is an effective solution against suspect surface vessels,” explained Dr William Ribich, Foster-Miller’s president and CEO. “We are pleased to be working with the US Coast Guard to develop better, safer tools that help defend our coastline against perceived and actual dangers in our crowded harbours, where attack or stray bullets pose a real risk to bystanders and infrastructure. As a company located near a major port in a densely-populated city, we are acutely aware of the importance for protecting these waterways.”
The Boat Trap system was extensively tested in 2005, stopping 100 percent of its targets. The tests were conducted at the US Coast Guard Special Mission Training Center (SMTC) at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, South Padre Island, Texas, and at CAPEX demonstrations in Honolulu, Hawaii. Moscow-Mills Manufacturing of Moscow, Vermont, is also now working with Foster Miller in the continued development, testing and manufacturing of the Boat Trap system.