Non-Lethal Capabilities

U.S. forces increasingly operate in challenging environments, known as military operations other than war. These operations include humanitarian assistance, military support to civil authorities, peacekeeping/peacemaking operations and non-combatant evacuations.

Non-Lethal PVAB Non-lethal capabilities expand the number of options available to commanders confronting situations in which the use of deadly force is not the preferred response. Non-lethal capabilities provide flexibility by allowing forces to apply measured force with reduced risk of serious non-combatant casualties in a manner that provides force protection and effects compliance thus ensuring the success of the military mission.

Picatinny's cadre of non-lethal warfare specialists work diligently to ensure the development, production, fielding and sustainment of the Army's non-lethal capabilities. This mission encompasses weapons, munitions, individual protective equipment and enhancement devices.

Since 1995, Picatinny has responded to numerous urgent operational requests for non- lethal munitions. These requests were rapidly fielded to provide U.S. forces with capabilities that filled the gap between "show of force" and lethal fire in peacekeeping missions. Picatinny has been able to respond to these urgent real-world requirements because of its proactive investment of Army Science and Technology funds. This has enabled Picatinny to prepare for new capabilities associated with the post-Cold War era's increased incidence of stability and support operations. Because of the foresight in anticipating the need for these types of weapon systems, a contingency stockpile of NL munitions was already available on an emergency basis.

Picatinny's continuing anticipation of user need led to it being selected to support the Non-Lethal Capability Set for the U.S. Army. Our success also led to a major role within NATO in complying with a Defense Capability Initiative to provide non-lethal capability to NATO by 2005.

Examples of Non-Lethal Technologies Being Developed and/or Fielded by Picatinny

The Non-Lethal Capabilities Set (NLCS) provides an Army unit commander with a variety of options to tailor a response to the degree of threat while protecting the forces at all times. The components are packed in plywood containers, clip locked and palletized for easy storage and handling, making it possible to rapidly deploy the NLCS via military transport, or commercial carrier. This strategy, implemented at Picatinny, is consistent with the Army Transformation vision - to become more responsive, deployable, agile and versatile. The NLCS includes:

  • Mission Enhancement Devices - These items are designed to enhance the unit's mission in the area of crowd control, and limit mobility of mounted and dismounted threats. Examples are the vehicle stopped, vehicle mounted grenade discharger and bullhorns.
  • Munitions - Elements include the stun grenade, M203 non-lethal ammunitions, 12- gauge shotgun non-lethal ammunition, M16 launched non-lethal ammunition. Individual Protective Equipment - Items in this set are designed to protect the individual from blunt trauma injuries inflicted by thrown objects and clubs. Items also provide ballistic protection. Examples include the riot face shield, shin guards and full-length shield.
  • Individual Enhancement Components - These items provide an enhancement to the soldier in the area of antipersonnel, antimaterial and load-bearing capabilities. Some examples are the riot baton, voice amplification system and pouches. Training Components - These components are designed to provide the organization with equipment that will assist in training for operations involving the use of non- lethal weapons.

The Portable Vehicle Arresting Barrier (PVAB) is used by small units patrolling vehicle checkpoints, or roadblocks, to prevent unauthorized access of vehicles into, or out of protected areas. Using a high-tensile net, PVAB can stop a light vehicle (up to 7,500 pounds) with internal braking mechanisms and impede the opening of front doors, trapping passengers inside a vehicle. The PVAB spans 12 to 24 feet and can be quickly disassembled, moved, stored, transported, uploaded and reassembled. It can be set up in less than one hour by two or three individuals, stop vehicles traveling at up to 45 mph, operate within 1.5 seconds after being armed and protect target areas as well as the individuals committing the violation.

The Modular Crowd Control Munition (MCCM) is a non-lethal variant of the Claymore munition. It provides control and force protection by temporarily incapacitating a large, hostile group without causing life-threatening consequences to the targeted individuals. This gives the field commander the option to apply non-lethal force as a first line of defense where appropriate.

Two new systems are being developed and evaluated by Picatinny, a non-lethal mortar munition and the Aversive Audible Acoustic Device (A3D). The non-lethal mortar munition is a long-range delivery system for non-lethal payloads. It is intended to enhance the military's capability in peacekeeping and other unconventional operations by enabling the user to provide a selective response with minimal collateral damage. Various payloads are being evaluated for use. The A3D is a highly directional device that can be hand-held or vehicle mounted. It directs an acoustic beam, which has tailorable intensity, and is used as a public address system, to focus on a specific individual or to deliver aversive sounds to alter a combatant's behavior.