UAH project catches eye of Special Operations Forces - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

UAH project catches eye of Special Operations Forces

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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

It started as a senior project for engineering students at UAH, but it could end up as a counter-terrorism tool.

Ten UAH engineering students spent their senior year designing the device. It looks a lot like a torpedo, but the device was designed to take down a sailboat without destroying it.

"That was the original, our customer, the Special Forces brought to us that they wanted to stop sailboats because of the piracy without using any kind of lethal force," said project manager Dustin Coffman.

The concept behind the design is quite simple to understand. Team member Arthur Wang explained, "What we were able to come up with was a net deployment system where the net would pull out 100 yards and would entangle in the sailboat's prop."

If you watch the video above, the design works. Coffman described testing out the device and said, "Once the propeller started grabbing the net, it just pulled a lot of it and stopped it almost instantaneously."

The project caught the eye of their customer, the U.S. Special Operations Forces. While the team only had about a year from concept to design, the future of this project could eventually come full circle.

Coffman said, "I think in the future, it may be used for further designs and for further groups to improve on, or even finish the project."

Team members said with more time and money, they could envision a design that would allow the device to be dropped over a vessel and guided with some sort of GPS system to a target.

Whatever is in the future for the device, the future of the UAH design team is bright, especially with this resume boosting project.

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