Radio-beam device can disable car and boat engines from 50m

E2V has developed a non-lethal weapon that can

disable the engines of motor vehicles and small boats

at a distance of up to 50m in under three seconds.

16 October 2013 ... By Jason Ford



Dubbed RF Safe-Stop, the unit, which weighs

approximately 350kg, has so far been integrated into

Nissan Nevara and Toyota Land Cruisers and is

designed to temporarily disable a vehicle’s

electronic systems and bring it to a halt. Such non-

lethal systems are said to be particularly suited to

stopping vehicles suspected as being used as car


Andy Wood, product manager at e2v, told The Engineer

that RF Safe-Stop can be fitted also into ground,

fixed base installations, rib-type boats and that

there are ‘blueprint’ ideas to integrate it into a

helicopter and even mobility scooters ...

Such non-lethal systems generate intense RF (radio

frequency) pulses and Wood euphemistically said these

pulses ‘confuse’ a vehicle’s electronics, rendering

them temporarily inoperable.

RF Safe-Stop works differently on different vehicles

although the principle of coupling electromagnetic

waves into the target’s wiring looms remain the same.

‘At the weight of frequencies we’re taking about - L

and S-Band - the wiring loom of, say a metre…is

almost the perfect aerial,’ said Wood.

The electromagnetic blast travels through the wiring

loom as a series of pulses, arriving at the vehicle’s

engine management system or immobiliser to halt it.

‘Basically the ECU (engine control unit) or

immobiliser…once affected, will try and reset. As

long as you keep it ‘confused’ the engine won’t


The RF generator is driven by a solid state modulator

designed and built at Chelmsford-based e2v and Wood

explained that a UPS unit has been added to systems

designed for use on vehicles.

‘What we’re assuming at the moment is if, for

instance, you had a fully charged set of batteries

you’d get about two hours of operation, use about a

10 per cent RF energy burst from it …So [with] two

hours stand-by, you get 12 minutes of RF operation,’

he said.

‘If you’ve got it on a vehicle, or a boat…you could

be trickle charging that all the time. Unless you

exceed the 10 per cent duty cycle with something like

a 100A (amp) alternator at 24V you should…not run out

of power.’

Operators of RF Safe-Stop won’t need specialist

training as e2v is aiming for a system that that

allows the user to do nothing more complicated than

push a red button when the target is in range.

‘So long as he’s got a green light on his display he

knows he can push the red button and typically, in

one operation, get a five second burst,’ said Wood.

‘Normally, the effect happens in three seconds. You

should be pretty certain that with one shot you’re

going stop whatever engine it is you’re trying to

stop. Then you repeat as and when - if you see the

person in the vehicle is trying to restart it you

just give it another shot and demobilise the vehicle


The company recently demonstrated RF Safe-Stop at

DSEi and Wood said the technology has stimulated

interest from 17 nations and five UK government


Wood believes orders for the system will be taken in

the coming weeks, adding that e2v’s dedicated

applications team can tailor RF Safe-Stop according

to requirements...

... more products ey E2V ... video is worth a watch