Robert Taylor and Bill Seelig, NFESC – Code 51
The USS Cole incident and other terrorist actions highlighted the vulnerability of Navy Fleet Assets to attack from readily available small boats laden with explosives. As recently as March 2003, Iran captured a speedboat loaded with explosives, presumably intent on suicide attack against US Navy assets (three other Iraqi boats escaped). Navigation channels are less than 1,000 feet from US Navy ships berthed at many naval locations around the world. A slow-moving, explosives-laden boat at only 5-knots could transit from the navigation channel to a Navy ship in less than two minutes. To counter the threat of small boat attack, the Office of Naval Research funded the Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center in April 2001 to develop a high-capability water barrier system, identified as the Port Security Barrier (PSB). This paper describes the PSB analysis, design, and testing and details the various system installations. The development process culminated with the fabrication and installation of a 1,300 feet long prototype system by December 2001. Subsequently over 15,000 feet of PSB have been installed at various Navy sites to protect high priority Navy assets. PSB modules 50 feet long and 9.4 feet high are connected together and moored to form a barrier capable. A nylon net capture system provides the primary means for stopping the boat.