It has been a while since I discussed an actual physical security device here on the blog, but I received one of the periodic emails that DHS S&T sends out describing one of their new whiz bang developments. This one looks pretty interesting, a new way of stopping speeding vehicles.
The Front Gate Problem
One of the problems that facilities have at active perimeter gates is stopping the determined intruder. Most facilities do not want to unnecessarily impede traffic while still maintaining reasonable control of who enters the facility. So they employ a stop sign or simple pole barrier at the gate and that suffices to stop 99% of the facility visitors.
Of course you can get more sophisticated with retractable bollards, or S-Barriers or any number of other complicated and costly devices to catch the 1% of the remaining 1% who wish to do the facility harm. But it is hard to justify the cost and traffic delays when there is no active intelligence that indicates a specific threat to the facility.
The S&T communication describes three devices but the one most interesting for front gate applications is the Pit-BUL. S&T describes it this way:
“[T]he Pit-Ballistic Undercarriage Lanyard (Pit-BUL™) essentially is a tricked out speed bump. Hidden inside is a set of spikes attached to a net. When deployed, the spikes puncture the tires and the net tangles in the car’s axles. Made of easy to combine panels, Pit-BUL™ can be set up for single or double lane coverage.”
S&T says that this is effective against cars up “to a full-size SUV”, so this isn’t going to stop a truck borne IED or a bus load of attackers.
The S&T partner company that developed the product, Pacific Scientific Energetic Materials Company, has a brochure available and a video available on their web site. Now I haven’t seen any independent evaluations of the product, so I don’t know how well the concept works in actual practice, but it seems to be a novel approach to a very common security problem.