HALO Develops Next Generation in Sea Defense

In the age of terrorism, attacks can come from anywhere, and seaside targets are particularly vulnerable to boats or divers. That’s why a Newton-based company is adapting technology originally intended to prevent beach erosion into a sea barrier defense system to thwart such attacks.

After five and half years in development, HALO Maritime Defense Systems is testing its HALO Maritime Sea Barrier Defense System for the U.S. Navy and expects to go into production soon. The floating walls are made of a composite material able to withstand rough seas, saltwater and erosion. When struck, they displace the impact so they not only remain intact, but can withstand another impact. They can also be designed to incorporate technology to enhance security, including mounted cameras that transmit images to a remote location, netting that can be dropped to the sea floor to prevent attacks from divers, sonar, lighting and other sensors.

The panels are linked by cable and are anchored by mooring systems. They work to reduce the size of waves as they pass through. “Mechanisms in the barrier actually capture the boat,” says CEO Paul Jensen, thereby transferring the kinetic energy of the boat into the water.

The technology was originally developed in 2000 by a father-son team—Robert and Justin Bishop—to prevent wave damage to shorelines. Jensen’s team bought the technology in 2008 to develop it for maritime defense. HALO Maritime Defense Systems has worked extensively with the marine engineering program at the University of NH in Durham to develop the technology and has hired several students from the program, Jensen says. HALO has 13 employees and eight contractors.

“Our pipeline is $3 billion in opportunities that we’ve identified,” Jensen says. The company generated $5 million in revenue in 2013 and Jensen expects it will generate $10 million in 2014. For more information, visit