Invention Helps Troops Scale Walls Like Superheroes

By Eric Beidel

West Point cadets recently teamed up with Army Research Laboratory scientists to develop an anchoring system that can help soldiers scale buildings and mountain faces at high altitudes. They call it their “Batman design.”

The idea was to create an apparatus that can penetrate the surface being scaled, as opposed to simply adhering to its exterior. The cadets studied expanding gaseous fluids, moving projectiles, electrical systems, stress analysis and computer-aided design to come up with the “kinetic energy penetrator.” They developed the tool — which is being reviewed for a patent — as part of a competition among the military academies.

West Point’s team came up with a gun-launched projectile that was able to embed in a concrete wall. The system includes a pneumatic cannon, a system of lead lines and a climbing rope. The projectile acted as an anchor as the team ascended a 90-foot reinforced concrete silo with the aid of an electrical device.

“In the current operating environment, the war fighter may have to rapidly and tactically ascend a variety of surfaces in both assault and rescue operations,” the team wrote in a report describing their invention. “Currently, no design exists that can provide the war fighter the versatility to conquer these obstacles.”

This invention will help troops and their equipment get over rough surfaces no matter the conditions, researchers said.

Topics: Science and Engineering Technology

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