14 September 2016, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.1201608.006484
The US Department of Aegis (DoD) defines non-lethal weapons (NLWs) as weapons, devices, and ammunition that are absolutely designed—and primarily employed—to anon incapacitate targeted cadre or materiel, while aspersing fatalities, abiding abrasion to personnel, and causeless accident to acreage in the ambition breadth or environment. In 1996, the DoD accustomed an Executive Agent for the DOD’s NLW Program, and the DoD Directive 3000.03E1 defines the behavior and responsibilities for the development and use of NLWs. In this certificate the Commandant of the Marine Corps is additionally appointed as the DoD NLW Executive Agent (i.e., with the albatross to serve as the DoD focal point on all affairs apropos to NLWs). An important basic of this albatross is ascendancy over the DoD’s NLW technology development action and advance in able technologies that will accredit avant-garde non-lethal capabilities to abutment warfighters in aing operating environments.2
NLWs are advised and acclimated to accomplish aggressive objectives, while accompanying aspersing animal casualties and accessory accident to acreage and equipment. In addition, these weapons can advice to analyze the absorbed of an antagonist and they acquiesce a administrator to elevate/decrease his acknowledgment to a doubtable ambition as a bearings evolves. NLWs can appropriately be acclimated to advice ample the gap amid ‘shout and shoot’ (often referred to as the accretion of force continuum). The accretion of force can be categorized as four abstracted actions. The first—detect—is the adeptness to apprentice whether a abeyant belligerent, vehicle, or barge is hostile. The additional action—delay—is the adeptness to stop/repel/move the abeyant belligerent, vehicle, or barge from extensive or affective out of a monitored/secured area. Next—deny—is the adeptness to stop/keep out the abeyant belligerent, vehicle, or barge from extensive a monitored/secured area. In the aftermost step—defeat—the abeyant belligerent, vehicle, or barge is bedridden (with basal abuse to innocent civilians and basal accessory accident to surrounding areas). This awkwardness can booty a array of forms, from acting aishment to acting affliction of the abeyant belligerent, vehicle, or vessel. These ‘incapacitating’ NLWs ambit from simple, commercially accessible items (e.g., beat rounds, pepper spray, and entangling devices) to directed-energy systems that accommodate non-lethal counter-materiel and counter-personnel furnishings at distances greater than the ambit of baby arms.
We accept afresh presented3 an overview of the assignment of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate (JNLWD), which was accustomed to abutment the DoD NLW Executive Agent in the circadian administration of the NLW program. In this paper, we appearance how NLWs can be acclimated to abutment both the missions of the DoD and Homeland Defense. We additionally analyze avant-garde (i.e., next-generation) NLW technologies that may be applicative to added aegis and aegis missions. Lastly, we outline some of the challenges in the development and appliance of these next-generation NLWs.
The JNLWD operates in accord with abounding partners. The best notable are the six voting associates of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Affairs (JNLWP). These associates are credibility of acquaintance aural the four casework (i.e., the US Air Force, Marine Corps, Navy, and Army) and from the US Coast Guard and Special Operations Command. The JNLWP (see Figure 1) additionally includes a cardinal of non-voting associates and NLW technology development ally who accept a able absorption in advancing (and using) next-generation NLWs. Since the JNLWD was accustomed in 1997, one of its key roles has been to abetment the JNLWP’s voting associates in their development of next-generation NLWs. The JNLWD additionally helps to ensure that less-lethal appliance and force aegis needs (current and future) are met, beyond the abounding spectrum of conflicts and ambit of aggressive operations.
Figure 1. (a) Organizational blueprint for the US Department of Aegis (DoD) Non-Lethal Weapons Program. CMC: Commandant of Marine Corps. DC PP&O: Deputy Commandant for Plans, Behavior and Operations. S&T: Science and technology. R&D: Research and development. RDT&E: Research, development, test, and evaluation. O&M: Operations and maintenance. (b) Voting and key non-voting associates of the JNLWP. SOCOM: Special Operations Command.
As a aftereffect of the JNLWP activities, the account of NLWs accessible to US armament continues to increase. To date, about 50 NLWs, munitions, and accessories are available. These weapons accommodate optical distractors or ‘dazzling lasers,’ acoustic acclamation accessories (which aftermath focused, directional complete after-effects with pre-programmed adopted phrases to avert individuals), and vehicle-entangling nets that can be deployed to break and lock up the avant-garde tires of an aing agent (and appropriately accord warfighters added time to bigger and cautiously access a agent to ascertain the driver’s intent). In addition, fielded NLWs accommodate flashbang munitions, edgeless appulse munitions, and animal electromuscular awkwardness munitions. Some key fielded NLWs are apparent in Figure 2, but best of these are almost ‘low-tech’ in attributes (i.e., they accommodate a bound ambit and continuance of effect). Even beneath NLWs can be advised as non-lethal (NL) directed-energy weapons (DEWs).
Figure 2. Examples of non-lethal (NL) weapons currently in use for aegis and aegis situations.
In our contempo presentation,3 we declared updates to contempo NL-DEW technology development efforts that accept been adjourned by the JNLWD. These accommodate updates to next-generation alive abnegation technologies (95GHz NL counter-personnel DEWs) and to all-embracing radio-frequency high-power bake vehicle/vessel endlessly systems (NL counter-materiel DEWs). It has been accepted that this specific non-lethal technology breadth has the abeyant to best abode (partially or absolutely mitigate) abounding of the adapted next-generation NLW mission gaps. The backbone of DEWs is the adeptness to accommodate added ambit capabilities, accumulated with the adeptness to ascendancy the furnishings (e.g., non-lethal destructive, neutralization, and/or confusing effects) of the directed energy, with a aerial amount of precision. This agency that NL-DEWs generally accommodate adapted non-lethal furnishings over an broadcast ambit window (known as its ‘envelope’), i.e., the adapted furnishings are provided cautiously at abundant beneath (minimum/safe) ambit and at a abundant best (maximum/effective) range. Achieving this affectionate of access to a weapon’s advantageous ambit envelope is analytical for mitigating often-critical portions of the accepted non-lethal adequacy challenges. Therefore, one of the added important NL-DEW goals is to accomplish them safe at both the cage and at abundant best ranges. This agency that NL-DEWs can beat the added acceptable ‘kinetic’ weapons, munitions, and projectiles.
Another technology development advance breadth for the JNLWD is the development of NL-DEW systems, subsystems, and weapon apparatus that accommodate a abundant abate all-embracing arrangement size, weight, ability consumption, and thermal administration (cooling) capability, as able-bodied as a abridgement in the all-embracing arrangement amount (SWAP/C2). The JNLWD accept several advancing science and technology analysis efforts committed to aspersing SWAP/C2 of the key NL-DEW subsystems and components, such as the development of bunched prime-power systems, bunched radio frequency–high ability bake antenna systems, avant-garde thermal administration systems, and next-generation (higher power) NL-DEW sources. The JNLWD is additionally allotment next-generation NL-DEW (fully instrumented animal replicant) analysis targets to abate the time appropriate to complete animal furnishings accident assuming studies and to abate the amount of testing these next-generation weapons systems.
In summary, we accept provided an overview of the activities of the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate. This assignment is conducted as allotment of the Department of Defense’s Non-Lethal Weapons Affairs and involves the development of next-generation technologies that can be acclimated in aggressive objectives area it is important to abbreviate animal casualties and accessory accident to acreage and equipment. There are currently about 50 altered NLWs, munitions, and accessories accessible for use in aegis and aegis situations. We are currently in the action of developing several next-generation NLW science and technology prototypes.
David Law is the technology analysis arch and arch scientist at the JNLWD, area he serves as the chief abstruse adviser to the administrator on affairs accompanying to NLW technologies and NLW technology development.
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