The US Marines’ (USMC) II and III Marine Expeditionary Forces, Reserve Units and Marine Corps Forces Central Command are being equipped with a new flashbang launcher, which would boost their non-lethal capability.

The new 40mm vehicle-mounted non-lethal / tube-launched munition system (NL/TLMS) features a digital fire control and is capable of shooting between one and 30 non-lethal rounds, as per the requirements.

Marine Corps Systems Command Infantry Weapons Systems NL/TLMS non-lethal team lead Anita Tate said: "Marines require something to be able to hail and warn from a distance.

"What we have is a very safe, very easy-to-use system that will allow Marines guarding military checkpoints to better determine the intent of an approaching vehicle."

"There’s a lot of pressure. This system allows you to make that decision quickly and with a clear conscience."

The rounds integrate four flashbang submunitions and fire from three banks of ten launchers set for distances about 100m; they are visible out to 600m and its ammunition is an ‘all-up round,’ signifying no further requirement of assembly or disassembly.

"These decisions are so quick," Tate added.

"In the past, that’s where uncertainty has made a difference: you have to protect yourself and your fellow Marines, but you don’t want to open fire on an unarmed vehicle.

"There’s a lot of pressure. This system allows you to make that decision quickly and with a clear conscience."

Designed to be mounted onto the turrets of Marine vehicles, including mine-resistant ambush protected vehicles and Humvees as well as on ground tripods, the system can also be mounted to the left of the turret’s main weapon to enable rapid shift between systems.

US Department of Defense non-lethal weapons programme spokesperson Kelley Hughes said: "Non-lethal weapons are designed and employed to achieve military objectives while minimising human casualties or damage to property and equipment.

"Non-lethal weapons can also help clarify intent of an adversary."

Image: New flash-bang launcher expands marines’ non-lethal capability. Photo: courtesy of US Marine Corps.

Defence Technology