DAHLGREN, Va. –
What would you do to protect your home from threats? Determining external threat vulnerabilities and effective and affordable security measures come to mind, with the objective being to prevent or neutralize the threat while minimizing harm or damage.
Along the same lines, personnel tasked with protecting government areas and military bases deploy various security enforcements, which aid in deterring and neutralizing threats to personnel and facilities. Although highly effective, some of these security enforcements have resulted in injury or fatality.
The Pre-emplaced Electric Vehicle Stopper (PEVS) system developed by Naval Surface Warfare Center Dahlgren Division (NSWCDD) engineers in 2017 focused on providing a way to safely disable unauthorized vehicles from obtaining access to a secure facility in a nonlethal manner.
When activated, the system delivers a high voltage electric pulse via two electrodes directly to the undercarriage of an unauthorized vehicle as it drives over the system – temporarily disabling the electrical system and stalling the engine.
The Joint Intermediate Force Capabilities Office (JIFCO) initiated the PEVS Pilot Program. It appointed the NSWCDD team – consisting of engineers from the High Power Microwave (HPM) Prototype Weapons Systems and Applications and the HPM Technology Development Branch – to support the program’s operational testing and evaluation. The NSWCDD team was also tasked with the training development while on-site.
Once the system became operational, the NSWCDD team traveled to Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma, Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota and Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada to conduct test trials. These test trials determined operational capabilities and deficiencies in varying environmental conditions.
According to PEVS Project Lead David Dvorak, the test evaluations conducted during the pilot program would “determine how the system operated in different operating environments while also seeing how the entry gate personnel would interact with the system.”
The first phase of the pilot program at Tinker Air Force Base took approximately six months for operational assessment and concluded in February 2019. The same timeline was allotted for the second phase, taking place at Ellsworth Air Force Base and concluded in March 2020.
When the pandemic hit, the NSWCDD team reevaluated the allotted time frame and concluded the final installment at Nellis Air Force Base in only four months – ending in November 2020 – without compromising the test evaluation process.
Since the conclusion of the pilot program, the NSWCDD team collaborated with several other Department of Defense agencies to assess and analyze the training development, installment and operational capabilities of the PEVS system.
Moving forward, the NSWCDD team will apply lessons learned from the pilot program to the next generation of the PEVS system. According to Dvorak, the latest system will address deficiencies and improve the system’s operational capabilities.
“At the end of the pilot program, we gained a lot of great lessons learned for how to advance a system like this in the future,” said Dvorak. “We’re engaging the stakeholders now to determine needs and establish success metrics for the next generation of the system moving forward.”
Many government and military areas utilize entryway gates and perimeter fences, trained military personnel and final denial barriers – to name only a few – to protect and prevent unauthorized entry access.
As new technology emerges, developing advanced systems, such as the next generation of the PEVS system, will ensure safe, nonlethal preventative and reactive security enforcements for the Department of Defense.