M1 Portable Vehicle-Arresting Barrier

M1 Portable Vehicle-Arresting Barrier

Linda Chico

Since 28 May 2002, the Department of Defense’s (DOD’s) first nonlethal (NL) vehicle-stopping system, the M1 Portable Vehicle-Arresting Barrier (PVAB), is available for fielding as part of the Army’s Nonlethal Capability Set (NLCS). The Army’s Program Manager for Close Combat Systems (PM CCS) manages this joint-service-developed item with life-cycle engineering support provided by the U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command-Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (TACOM-ARDEC).

System Description

The M1 PVAB has numerous advantages. It is lightweight, weighing less than 900 pounds in its unpackaged configuration. It is deployable and operational in all climates and terrains–arctic, desert, rural, and urban. Three service members can emplace it rapidly across a single- or double-lane road (in less than two hours). When command-activated, it can go from the standby to capture mode in less than two seconds and safely and reliably capture a 7,500-pound vehicle traveling at 45 miles per hour without causing injury to vehicle occupants or damaging the vehicle.

System Operation

Operator-controlled tethered pendant activation initiates a low-pressure air system, causing the rapid extension of two metal telescoping masts. The capture net attached to the masts is raised out of the bump modules that are used for storage/protection in the standby position. The net is attached to the brake box’s payout reels. Upon vehicle engagement, the caliper engages the rotor and provides a controlled braking force. Tension is applied to the capture lines as the vehicle proceeds forward. The rear capture line entangles the vehicle’s rear axle and maintains tension on the net, preventing both passenger and vehicle escape. Four anchor points secure the system.

System Applications

The M1 PVAB, like other NL capabilities, was developed as part of the DOD Joint Nonlethal Weapons Program initiative to equip the joint services with NL capabilities. This will provide users with alternatives to lethal force when engaged in military operations other than war, such as peacekeeping and stability and support operations or layered defense for force protection. The first twenty systems are currently available for use in the Army’s NLCS. On 24 May 2000, the M1 PVAB was demonstrated to former Secretary of Defense William Cohen as part of his visit to TACOM-ARDEC. The Secretary was impressed with the system’s ability to stop a vehicle and went so far as to endorse the system by stating, “We need to get more of these in[to] the field.”


The M1 PVAB provides the joint services with an instant checkpoint/perimeter countervehicle capability that can be fully operational soon after entering an area of operations. The hostile intent of a vehicle’s occupants may not always be known, but the vehicle must be stopped nevertheless. It is a versatile force protection system that effectively denies intruder entry to an area while minimizing casualties and damage to vehicles.

Questions can be directed to Mr. Kevin Wong, 973-724-6118, or e-mail kwong@pica.army.mil; or Ms. Linda Chico, 973-724-6933, or e-mail lchico@pica.army.mil.

Ms. Chico is the lead project engineer for the M1 PVAB at TACOM-ARDEC. She led the integrated product team to the materiel release of the system. She has an associate in engineering technology and is acquisition-certified in system engineering.

COPYRIGHT 2003 U.S. Army Maneuver Support Center

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group