NATO Tests Electromagnetic Beam To Stop Suicide Bombers

The non-lethal weapon stops vehicles by turning off their engines.

NATO is developing a device that stops suicide bombers’ vehicles before they can reach their targets. In a video released today, NATO researchers in Norway demonstrate the effectiveness of the weapon against cars, a jet ski, and a drone.

The high-intensity electromagnetic beam stops a vehicle by interfering with its controls and turning off its engine. In the video above, you can see the beam halt an approaching car in a simulation of a military checkpoint. In another test, the beam-emitting device is mounted inside the back of a vehicle, and stops another car approaching from behind.

The electromagnetic beam also works against remotely detonated bombs, by jamming radio signals.

Testing is set to conclude in 2014, so much of the information about this technology remains unknown. Still, at least one challenge for the final weapon is apparent. Every demonstration in the video involves a clear target. Turning off the wrong car engine could cause problems like traffic accidents, endangering civilians.

Still, a misfired engine-stopping beam is a lot better than past approaches to cars speeding through checkpoints, which required soldiers to make split-second judgments about whether or not to fire on a potentially explosive car speeding towards them.