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The X-Net® Vehicle Arrest System: A non-lethal, man portable system to fully arrest vehicles with minimal harm


QinetiQ, the sole provider of X-Net®, develops innovative technology in support of security services globally. This article outlines the capability, as well as the outcomes of the X-Net’s use around the globe. It also illustrates QinetiQ’s role, as a commercial organisation with a strong research heritage and affinity, in improving safety and security outcomes for our clients and partners.

Conventional vehicle stopping systems, such as spike strip devices, rely on puncturing tyres; a result that can lead to out of control vehicles that can continue movement for a considerable time and distance. The inherent dangers that these devices carry have been addressed by QinetiQ’s Scientists and Engineers. The result of their work is X-Net®, offering distinct advantages over other systems.

Portable, quick, effective, safe

The X-Net® system was developed in the UK to meet the needs of a specific British Army requirement for a lightweight, heavy-duty-construction vehicle arrest system. In trials, as opposed to conventional systems, X-Net® reduced the risk of the target vehicle continuing for some time and distance before stopping. X-Net® was developed for this purpose and met all of the British Army’s requirements. Now in use by law enforcement and security customers around the world, X-Net® allows for the swift and safe capture of vehicles and decreases the risk of injury or death to occupants of the vehicle and surrounding personnel by being portable, quick, effective and safe.

  • X-Net® can arrest a vehicle within a similar distance to an emergency stop
  • The retardation force is less than 1g – providing a low risk to occupants
  • Larger vehicles can be stopped with X-Net®[3t] stopping power effective up to 3 tonnes and X-Net®[10t] effective up to 10 tonnes.

"The product is designed to determine intent and it has saved lives… It provides a non-lethal solution to stop vehicles at checkpoints that have failed to stop voluntarily… X-Net features deployment lanyards allowing the system to be initiated remotely, keeping operators out of harm’s way while the vehicle comes to a complete stop and can then be approached safely."

X-Net® Business Manager, QinetiQ Group

Global clients with varied applications

Since its introduction in the UK, a global market for X-Net® has emerged. X-Net® is a life saver from every point of view. Used to arrest a car that had accelerated through a checkpoint in volatile Port-au-Prince, Haiti, not only was the vehicle brought to a halt within 50 feet, but without injury to the driver or the Marines on duty. In situations like this, where not a shot was fired, it’s no wonder the Marine Commander was quoted as saying that X-Net® had worked precisely as intended: “There’s one Haitian that’s glad it did…X-Net is a keeper.” X-Net® features a unique spiked net design with the barbed spikes in the leading edge of the net piercing the front tyres of the moving vehicle. The net envelops the front tyres and stops the wheel rotation, bringing the vehicle to a rapid controlled stop.

X-Net® is manufactured from a material called Dyneema, an extremely strong but lightweight Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) with excellent resistance to water, moisture, most chemicals, UV light and micro-organisms and is 15 times stronger than steel. It is listed in the current Counter-Materiel Non-Lethal Weapons list for the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program (JNLWP) for the US Department of Defence and is in use with the US Marine Corps, US Special Operations Command, US Border Control and the US Army. In the United Kingdom, it was used in a road denial mode by the British Police tasked to secure the area around the 2018 wedding of Prince Harry and Ms Meghan Markel.

X-Net® can also be applied in further Police Operations to bring a vehicle pursuit to a rapid and safe closure, reducing risk to the public, the vehicle occupants and the police. It reduces the costs to police by reducing the time police vehicles and aircraft are involved in a pursuit. The X-Net® non-lethal, man portable system, with its unique spiked net design, can fully arrest a wide range of vehicles quickly and easily with the minimum of harm.