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News | May 15, 2009

Airburst Non-Lethal Munition Reaches Milestone B

By Nancy Koreen Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate

PICATINNY ARSENAL, N.J. – On March 30, the U.S. Army Program Executive Officer for Soldier Weapons approved the Milestone B decision for the Airburst Non-Lethal Munition (ANLM). This decision moves the ANLM into the engineering and manufacturing development phase of the acquisition process. The ANLM is a developmental counter-personnel 40mm projectile designed to move, deny or suppress individuals or groups with a warning or incapacitating flash-bang. Possible applications include checkpoint security, crowd dispersal and room clearing scenarios.

Fired from an M203 or M320 grenade launcher, the ANLM is designed to release its flash-bang payload at a pre-designated distance from its target. To do this, it incorporates an advanced proximity fuse that senses the distance from the target and detonates the payload before it reaches the target.

The ANLM also includes a mode selector that allows the user to select either the proximity mode or the delay mode. In the delay mode, the ANLM detonates at a specified distance after it reaches its target. For example, if the target is a door or window, the ANLM will detonate at a specified distance once inside the room or building. According to Vic DiLuzio, acquisition analyst at the Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Directorate, the delay mode can be useful in scenarios such as room clearing to temporarily distract adversaries while minimizing collateral damage.

Since the ANLM is effective beyond small-arms range, it can provide warfighters with additional non-lethal capabilities over hand-thrown flash-bang grenades. At the same time, the ANLM’s advanced fusing technology incorporated into the round itself keeps it safe to users and non-combatants at closer ranges.

“The ANLM significantly increases the stand-off distance for non-lethal engagements while maintaining a consistent non-lethal effect at all engagement distances,” said Percy Mistry, the Army’s product director for the ANLM. “The ability to increase the stand-off distance protects the service members from a variety of weapons that could possibly be used against them, as well as providing additional time to diffuse a situation.”

The Joint Non-Lethal Weapons Program funds the ANLM program, with the U.S. Army as the lead service. Program Manager Soldier Weapons, based at the Army’s Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, heads the ANLM program.

The program is now in the process of finalizing the ANLM design. After additional tests and any necessary modifications, the ANLM will enter developmental testing to determine whether it meets its intended purpose. The program estimates that the ANLM will reach the procurement phase of the acquisition process, a Milestone C decision, in late 2011.