Jan. 24, 2018 —
Joint service military personnel from U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) had the opportunity to fire non-lethal weapons (NLW) at the MacDill Air force Base (AFB) firing range during a familiarization event (FAMFIRE), January 18, 2018.
The Department of Defense defines non-lethal weapons as weapons, devices and munitions that are explicitly designed and primarily employed to immediately suppress or disable targeted personnel or material, while minimizing fatalities, permanent injury to personnel, and undesired damage to property in the target area or environment.
“Units deploying to the USCENTCOM area of responsibility (AOR) are required to have sufficient numbers of personnel trained on NLW capabilities,” said Mr. Richard Bartis, USCENTCOM NLW program liaison.
During the FAMFIRE, participants had the opportunity to toss flashbang and stingball grenades, and fire non-lethal munitions from 12-gauge shotguns, 40mm grenade launchers and compressed air guns. The munitions are designed to suppress and warn.
Long-range (100 yard) warning rounds were fired over the range from a 12-gauge shotgun.
“This round provides a loud and bright capability that will gain the attention of approaching vehicles and vessels,” said Bartis.
A short-range (50 meter) warning round was fired from a 40mm grenade launcher. The munition provides a flash-bang, attention-getting effect when fired above approaching personnel.
A hand-held dazzling laser demonstration gave participants an opportunity to see, from inside a car, how the eye-safe beam creates a prominent glare.
“The system covers a vehicles entire windshield, limiting the operator’s ability to drive forward,” said Bartis. “These are also being used in maritime operations to gain the attention of approaching vessels, alerting them to stay away.”
“These hands-on demonstrations educate USCENTCOM and supporting command personnel on the NLW program,” said Bartis. “This enhances their understanding of NLW capabilities, and shows how NLW may be used in conjunction with lethal weapon systems to enhance effectiveness and efficiency in military operations.”