U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno talks with Boeing Army Systems Vice President Jamey Moran and other executives in their booth during the Association of the United States Army annual meeting and exposition at the Washington Convention Center / Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Technology would keep the explosions’ shockwaves from damaging vehicles

Military and aircraft manufacturer Boeing has been granted patents for a force field that would keep its vehicles from being damaged by shockwaves from explosions.

The design, referred to in the patent as a “Method and system for shockwave attenuation via electromagnetic arc”, details a way of generating force fields to keep vehicles safe while in the vicinity of explosions.

Vehicles would be outfitted with sensors to detect nearby explosions. The sensors sense an explosion and then work out where it happened, according to the light generated in the blast.

Boeing’s patent details two possible ways of deflecting explosions when the car senses that one happens.

The first “intercepts the shockwave and attenuates its energy density before it reaches a protected asset”, slowing down and rendering useless the energy produced from the explosion.

The other details a method for deflecting the explosion away from the car.

When the car senses an explosion, it sends out high-intensity laser pulses towards it. Those ionise the air, forming a “plasma channel”, that is different from the air around it.

The patent says that: “The arc generator may create the second medium by creating an electric arc that travels along an electrically conductive path utilizing at least one of high intensity laser pulses, pellets forming a conductive ion trail, sacrificial conductors, projectiles trailing electrical wires, and magnetic induction”.

The “plasma channel” would be able to deflect the airwaves from the explosion, and in so doing keep those in the car safe from the force of the explosion and the shrapnel that can be thrown out from them.


The same system could be used on static objects, like buildings. It can also be used on vehicles that are in the sea.

Boeing has been granted patents for the tools that sense the explosion, and the ones that create the arc to keep  things from harming the vehicle.

Boeing’s patent notes that “Explosive devices are being used increasingly in asymmetric warfare to cause damage and destruction to equipment and loss of life”. The new technology would presumably be outfitted on the vehicles and planes that Boeing creates, allowing them to be kept safe from such attacks while they were used in warzones.