Non-lethal weapons, technologies put to the test by Filipino and American service members
By U.S. Army Spc. Matthew Sissel
| U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific | May 09, 2014
CROW VALLEY, Philippines --
Philippine and U.S. Marines were introduced to several non-lethal weapons technologies May 7 at Crow Valley, Philippines, as part of exercise Balikatan 2014.
Various non-lethal weapons were demonstrated for use with checkpoint security, crowd control and personal safety. Marines from both nations were familiarized with oleoresin capsicum (OC), a type of pepper spray, and proper stun gun procedures as part of the hands-on training.
Philippine Marine 1st Lt. Jesum B. Calape, company commander of 111th Marine Company , said the training was a great learning opportunity.
“I think this training is the perfect thing to do so we can learn how to endure difficult situations,” said Calape.
U.S. Marine Lance Cpl. Ashley Barton, a heavy equipment operator from Corona, Calif., assigned to Engineer Maintenance Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 35, stationed in Okinawa, Japan, said conducting the training alongside her Philippine counterparts increased camaraderie between the two militaries.
“Seeing they are willing to go through this training with us shows that we are in this together,” Barton said. “We are all on the same team.”
Brian Long, a program director for the Department of Defense Joint Non-lethal Weapons Technologies, said a primary goal of non-lethal weapons is to reduce casualties.
Long's goals at Crow Valley were to demonstrate the benefit and utility of non-lethal weapons, and to get feedback from service members to better understand their operational needs.
Among the technologies was a pre-emplaced electric vehicle stopper (PEVS). It uses electrical impulses to disable a vehicle's engine without harming the passengers. When a vehicle drives over a modular speed bump and makes contact with an electrode, an intense, short duration, electronic impulse shuts down the engine. This deters a threat without the use of lethal force.
A laser intended for use at checkpoints was also demonstrated. It is effective for hundreds of meters and projects a meter-wide beam. Unlike a light, a person who encounters the laser is more likely to understand they are being targeted, and their ability to continue operating a vehicle would be severely hampered by the beam.
For crowd control, Long's group had the two countries' Marines shoot a 40-millimeter munitions round, replaced with a flash bang incendiary device, designed to be used in a M203 grenade launcher. When the round is fired above and in front of a crowd, the extremely loud noise and resulting shock wave deters the people from moving any closer. Long said firing two to three rounds achieves the best result.
“We are working hard to develop systems that protect civilian lives and help the military better perform their mission,” Long said.
Balikatan is an annual training exercise that strengthens the interoperability between the Armed Forces of the Philippines and U.S. military in their commitment to regional security and stability, humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.